Why you should read the fine print

May 17, 2023 00:00 · 416 words · 2 minute read leadership personal growth

I was driving a truck in Iraq when the first IED exploded. I remember seeing the vehicle in front of me burst into flames and feeling the heat come through the steering wheel. My world went quiet, and everything felt distant like I was seeing the world through a fishbowl.

The next thing I knew, someone was screaming at me to drive. I snapped out of my daze and hit the gas pedal. We drove as fast as we could to the nearest forward operating base.

That moment changed me. I had joined the Marines without fully reading the contract, and I had been assigned to be a truck driver without much say in the matter. See when I signed up in 2003 truck drivers were not reenlisting. The USMC found it cheaper to train computer technicians to drive trucks then to find more recruits. I loved serving my country, but that experience made me realize that I needed to be more aware of what I was signing up for.

From then on, I made a promise to myself never to sign anything without fully understanding it. I started to read contracts thoroughly, even the fine print. I wanted to be informed and aware of what I was getting into.

That moment in Iraq was a turning point in my life. It taught me the importance of being informed and making decisions with clarity and purpose. I realized that it’s not just about signing a piece of paper - it’s about understanding what you’re signing up for and taking responsibility for your choices. Whether it’s a job, a lease, or any other kind of agreement, it’s crucial to read the fine print and ask questions when you’re unsure.

By doing so, you’re taking control of your life and ensuring that you’re making informed decisions that align with your goals and values. You’re setting yourself up for success and empowering yourself to achieve great things. So, always take the time to read the fine print - it could be the difference between just going through the motions and truly living a purposeful life.

This applies to start-ups as well. If you are founding a company or are a leader you should understand the fine print. It’s important and can save you a lot of time and money. I’ve seen many start-ups fail because they didn’t read the fine print. They didn’t understand the legal or business implications of their decisions and ended up in a bad situations.

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