Grinding It Out – by Ray Kroc – The Making of McDonald’s

Grinding It Out – The Making of McDonald’s – By Ray Kroc – Lessons in Risk Taking

Lessons in risk taking from Ray Kroc and the McDonald’s franchise coming up right after this.


Hi everyone, I’m Yoel Farkas so glad to have you on my YouTube channel. I am the author of Recover From Your Divorce In Four Steps: The No-Fluff Guide For Divorced Men By A Divorced Man, you can get that book right now on Amazon, you can also get the free PDF cheat sheet on That link may change. So, I’ll put a link below in my in my notes to this YouTube video, and you can catch that there wherever the link may be found.

Risk taking fundamental to McDonald’s

Without further ado, let’s get into the topic of this video, which, as I mentioned before, is about risk taking. There are tons of takeaways from this book, from written by Ray Kroc the –  I would like to call him the founder of McDonald’s really, he’s the builder of McDonald’s – the founders are actually the McDonald’s brothers. I’ve already done some video reviews with personal development takeaways. And I thought it was natural to get the book and do takeaways from the book because there are so many.

So, I’m going to start with risk taking. And we’ll jump right into it. First of all, it’s very obvious to those who have read the book and or have seen the movie that risk taking was a fundamental part of what Ray Kroc did in building McDonald’s. For those of you who may not be aware, and if you’re not, then I do suggest that you read the book, or at least watch the movie The Founder, starring Michael Keaton, right after this video or before this video just to make sure you’re up to up to speed or just do a Google search, just to learn a little bit more, and that will make this video that much more worthwhile.

But Ray Kroc,  was the founder, was the builder. There I go again, with the founder, he was the builder of the McDonald’s franchise in the sense that he was a 52-year-old, multi mixer salesman, when he chanced upon the hamburger operation in San Bernardino, California that the McDonald’s brothers were thriving with. And he, at such a ripe age, I won’t say old age, especially these days, but at the ripe age, he convinced the brothers to take him on as somebody who would turn to the McDonald’s restaurant into a worldwide franchise. And that’s exactly what he ended up doing. And obviously, a big part of what he did involves risk and involved risk to give up the current business that he had, and involve risk to get involved with the McDonald’s brothers, he actually didn’t even use a lawyer to sign the first contract. And it involves a lot of risks in terms of his expansion and ideas that he put into play.

Risk and Divorce

And no surprise then that in his book, a big theme of the book is called Grinding It Out, by the way, which I neglected to mention, in his book, Grinding It Out, Ray Kroc talks about the concept of risk. I think that’s very, very important, very crucial for us divorce men to understand that there is an element of risk that we must embrace, rather than being averse to it. I think a lot of us, I don’t pretend to speak for everyone, everyone’s different, but I speak from my own experience. Part of this the fear of divorce, is to, you know, is the fear of the unknown what’s going to be afterwards. I had that sort of security and safety with the marriage that I was in. I’m not suggesting marriage was bliss for everybody here. But the point is that there’s a certain security of the known, you know, your work, your job, or you’re doing whatever you do, you come home, you’ve got your family to go to. And then all of a sudden you find yourself on the outside, you’re alone, you’ve had, you have, you may have pending court issues coming up, you may have issues surrounding your children, if there’s children between you and your ex-wife, whatever the case is, there’s a very big adverse feeling towards risk. Nobody likes that sort of feeling of unbalanced. But the point that we learned from Ray Kroc is to embrace risk, and that that, that has to do with whether or not it’s our personal life, or in our business life. And in this video, I’m more focused in terms of business risks, because business is very much a big part of our, of our day of our lives. Career. It’s where we spend probably most of our time, at least for most of us. So, taking risks, and embracing risk is very important.

The Myth of Risk Avoidance

And what Ray Kroc says about risk is very interesting. So, I’m going to start it’s on page two, he says here and I’m just going to quote, “Risk takers will no longer be properly rewarded.” That’s the myth. That’s not how he feels, but that’s what he thought people were saying, and this is back in the 70s when he wrote this. However, McDonald’s Corporation reminds us that opportunity abounds that all one needs is the knack of seizing the chances that exist. Okay, so the point is that, taking risks a lot of times involves, you can look at it in two ways you can look at look at risk as a scary thing, fear of the unknown or you can look at it as an opportunity as an opportunity to do something you’ve always wanted to do especially after a divorce, where you may not have been living your dreams or aspirations. You may have put it on the back burner as you raised your family and life happened. Now is an opportunity to once again, see those opportunities out there, see what it is you want to do in life, and take action.

Take Action With Risk

Okay, this isn’t fluffy, sort of analyze your goals, ponder your life’s direction. I’m not saying that. I’m saying to take action, and really go after that which you’ve always wanted to pursue. And that will involve taking risks to may involve leaving a current job that you have. I know, for myself, I’ve got an existing business, what I do now as a mentor and coach to other divorced men, I’m writing a book on divorce, recovery, and whatnot. This is something that I’m pursuing, because it’s an aspiration. It’s a passion, it’s a dream of mine. But there is risk, one can argue that it takes away from my existing business. But I don’t look at it that way. I look at it as this is who I am. And this is what I’m about. And I’m going to take the risks, in order to do what I want to do. Another risk for me personally, is also doing these videos, I can’t say that I’m thrilled about the idea of going in front of the camera, I’ve gotten a lot more used to it, I’m growing more comfortable every time I do it. But in the beginning, whoa, I couldn’t even gather up the courage to do a 20 second video, let alone five seconds or even a one second video in front of the camera. I just froze up. Okay. And even often now, as I was preparing for this video, I was thinking in my mind, what am I going to say and how, and I said, Just do it. And once you get in front of the camera, it just starts happening. And the same thing is with risk. So, a lot of times, you have to jump with two feet in so to speak, and just take that plunge, a lot of these are cliche, but they’re true, you got to take that plunge and once you go in the universe is going to aid to help you achieve that what you want to achieve.

So, then Ray Kroc starts out his book from very early on page two to talk about the benefits of taking risks. And that’s a big lesson from the building and success of the McDonald’s Corporation.

Failing through risk leads to success

Later on in the book, I’m actually going to, there’s I mean, there’s all sorts of risks, like I said Ray Kroc his entire adventure, if you will, his entire life story of the building of McDonald’s involves risks. But I’m just going to jump to where he specifically uses the term risk, which is in page 191. So, it’s close to the end of the book. And it’s actually fitting, it’s kind of like a bookend for the book. He talks about risk, specifically or explicitly in the beginning of the book. And also, at the end of the book, to book-end the entire story. And he says here, that he tried different menu items for McDonald’s. So, one of them was roast beef, which was a complete flop. And he says here that if you are willing to take big risks, and I always have been, as he says about himself, you are bound to blow on once in a while. So, when you strike out, you should try to learn as much as you can from it. Okay, so that’s a big takeaway from the idea of risk. And that is that we’re not guaranteed to succeed on every risk we take. There are no guarantees in life. But the point is, is that we all know that we can learn so much from our failures, in fact, even more from our failures, and from our successes. So, one of the benefits and this may sound funny to you listening but or watching but one of the benefits of taking risks is actually the ability to fail on those risks. Because when you fail on those risks, you can learn from it, grow from it, improve upon it the next time and get that much better. So, taking risks is a huge benefit. And Ray Kroc points that out here very aptly, towards the end of this book.

Achievement and happiness only through risk

And now onto page two or four, he again mentions risk explicitly, when he says here, “Much of this country, social and political philosophy seems aimed at removing the risks from life, one by one.” Okay, then he talks about the freedom to pursue happiness. And what he says here is that, and this is the last page of the book, actually, page 205. Well, before the afterward anyways, page 205, “Achievement must be made against the possibility of failure against the risk of defeat.” Okay, so we just talked about the idea of how risk can lead to failure, but failure can and does lead to success if we learn from it. Okay. So, without that sort of risk of achieving without that sort of risk-taking risks, one cannot achieve, he says, or even further uses a nice analogy. “It is no achievement to walk a tightrope laid flat on the floor.” So, if you think about a tightrope walker, obviously, you know, some of the daredevils out there would put a tightrope across Niagara Falls, for example, that wasn’t on the floor. So, we’re talking about tight ropes, to walk a tightrope, that achievement of doing it is when there’s a risk involved a risk of falling. I’m not saying somebody should put himself in a dangerous situation, I’m not suggesting that anybody should become a daredevil, or anything like that. But the point of that analogy is that without any sort of risk of falling, there isn’t going to be any achievement. And so you can liken it to the idea of riding a bike. So, in the beginning, when we’re learning to ride a bike, there is that risk that we’re going to fall and maybe hurt ourselves. But you know what, that’s what makes us more adept at learning how to ride that bicycle more so much more quickly. In fact, that sort of ambition to avoid those pitfalls, allows us to grow from and eventually become very good at riding a bike to the point where as the expression goes, “It’s like riding a bike”. Once you learn you never forget. So, once you learn how to take risks and achieve success with it, it’s almost like riding a bike you get used to the idea have success. And that’s what Ray Kroc talks about over here, he says, when there is no risk, there can be no pride in achievement, and consequently no happiness. Okay? So without achievement in life, there’s no happiness.

“There is no other way.”

So, it’s really a formula. Risk equals achievement equals happiness. So, you take away the risk, you take away the ability to achieve, and you take away the happiness, and Kroc ends off the book, speaking of the idea of risk and how he was able to build McDonald’s, and he says, “There is no other way”. It’s a very bold and specific statement. That’s how clear Kroc is on the idea of taking risks. And that’s why I thought it would be a very, very important lesson to start out with from the book Grinding It Out by Ray Kroc on the story of, of the building of McDonald’s.

So, for those of you who find themselves sort of being averse to risk and scared of the idea of risk following divorce, and what’s life going to look like, and what can I do now I’ve got to take the security and all that of knowing and obviously you have to look after your family, you have to make prudent decisions. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be an element of risk because without risk, there’s no achievement, and without achievement, ultimately, as Ray Kroc teaches us, there isn’t any happiness.


That concludes this idea on risk. And we will see you at the next personal development takeaway from the book, Grinding It Out the story of McDonald’s.

End Card

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