People always quote the platitude “the only thing you have control of is how hard you work.” But, ask most people what they thought were the big factors in the success of people they know, and you’ll get a combination of timing and hard work.

I argue that along with hard work, you need to know when to double down. You need to be able to recognize that moment in time when something just clicks. The lightbulb goes off. The stars align.

The problem is, many people who get confronted with this moment are at once excited and scared. There is a fear of not being able to accept the upcoming challenge and succeed. The fear of letting yourself down in the face of good opportunity. You then start to make excuses like “oh, I’ll just put it off for now, I’m sure I’ll get another opportunity like this when I’m more prepared.”

News flash: opportunities don’t just come knocking. When it appears, you need to seize it. When I feel myself having doubts, I always ask “what is the worse that could happen?” The answer 99% of the time is: not much.

The key to success (both in business and in life) is the ability to know when to double down. People often talk about trusting your gut to make judgements when situations are bad. However, too little is said about trusting your gut to sense when good opportunities arise.

When they do arise, you need to execute, and execute with as much effort as you can.

This is how great things are made.