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On romance and risk-taking

Scott and Fran were together throughout my high school career. They just “worked” as a couple, and everyone assumed they’d be a lifelong success.

After graduation they went to separate colleges but kept connecting and sparking. There was true love there, and everyone looked forward to them living happily ever after.

Over time, many of us lost touch, and for me the story’s thread disappeared … until nine years ago.

That was when I learned of Fran’s tragic death and discovered she and Scott had never married. Scott’s chronic inability to commit to their relationship had prevented it.

Like Scott, I met my high school sweetheart at age 15. I ignored parental instructions to date others before making a long-term commitment. In my youthful fantasies, she and I were perfect together.

We married at 22. We divorced at 25.

It actually took four more years for me to find the love of my life in a New York City subway car — another story altogether.

She and I are about to celebrate 34 years of wedded bliss. Life is wonderful beside my best friend and soulmate.

Romantic success is about opportunity, risk assessment, luck, timing and guts. Scott and I both had similar opportunities, but there the roads diverged.

Scott’s failure to screw up the courage to walk through life hand-in-hand with Fran led him to a lifetime of recriminations. He never recovered from the loss.

I wasn’t so smart either. I didn’t do enough research, misread the signals and fell flat on my face.

However, by combining the knowledge from this disaster with the experience of others, my new bride and I were able to create a lifelong success.

Your business faces similar questions: searching for the right partner, building a relationship, exchanging gifts, making promises and, with luck and hard work, staying together for a lifetime.

As the economy putters along, learn from these examples. Scott teaches that wishing for success doesn’t make it so unless you work for it and sometimes just shoot craps.

My youthful mistakes demonstrate how due diligence is key to long-term happiness and how sometimes our enthusiasm can be our own worst enemy.

And I’ll vouch that research, patience, finding (or creating) opportunities  and investing yourself can bring the perfect payoff to both your professional and personal life.

With that said, I wish you a year of perfect romance.