Mice eagerly go for the cheese and get their necks viciously snapped by mousetraps. That doesn’t mean, however, that every piece of cheese is on a mousetrap. How many of us eschew cheese just because we once had a bad experience with a mousetrap? Worse still, it happened to someone we know, so now every bit of cheese is shunned?

Forswearing cheese for the rest of a good mouse’s life can be costly. Imagine the character who buys a car and it turns out to be a lemon, so he uses public transport and a bicycle and bums rides from his longsuffering friends and family for the rest of his life. Or the type that eats in a restaurant and gets raging diarrhea, so he carefully evades anything that resembles a restaurant for the rest of his life?

Overreaction, throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face – no matter how many times one has been hit with the ugly stick – is silly, and costly. Mature people understand that not all cars and restaurants are the same, and that not every piece of cheese is securely attached to a giant mousetrap – or ponzi scheme or ripoff. We’ve all been taken advantage of, lost time and money, and bought things that didn’t work, but we move on.

Naturally, it’s not wise to throw one’s intellect and experience overboard and risk the family farm on every get rich quick scheme offered by a Nigerian “prince,” but logic should always govern our choices. Never risk more than you are prepared to lose, carefully consider whether or not you can survive the potential loss of your investment without stringing yourself up from a beam in your garage, and expect the best but always prepare for the worst.

Objectivity should always prevail. Sleep on big decisions. But don’t emulate that “once bitten, twice shy” fellow, or you may miss the one opportunity that can change your life.

Robin Elliott LeverageAdvantage.com