Amid our pursuit for comfort and security, we often find solace in playing it safe, seeking the comfortable and predictable path.
However, as renowned philosopher Søren Kierkegaard once said, “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.”
These words resonate within the very fabric of popular culture, reminding us of the risks of staying inside our comfort zones.
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The lovable characters of the hit TV show “Parks and Recreation” felt the weight of stagnation in their fictional hometown.
Like them, it’s time for us to embrace the unknown, challenge the status quo, and discover the untapped potential that lies beyond our self-imposed limits.
Join us as we explore the perils of playing it safe and uncover the transformative power of embracing risk and embracing life.
The downsides of playing it safe
The inspiration to “go, go, go” seems everywhere.
But that’s not the subject of this post.
Instead, I want to look at what happens when you stay put and play it safe.
Unfortunately, I speak from experience.
Here are four side-effects when you play it safe, followed by the antidotes:
1. You feel less alive. You forget what you’re made of.
Can you think of a time when you acted courageously?
Do you remember how that felt?
Sometimes, summoning courage can mean having a conversation you would prefer to avoid.
Or maybe it was when you fought that bully who wouldn’t back down.
In either case, wisdom is required.
Regardless of how you exercise courage, the sensations are similar.
You feel adrenaline pumping and clarity heightened.
You might get feedback like, “I didn’t know you had it in you.”
It might also leave you feeling surprised.
2. You cease looking for opportunities
When they appear, you don’t recognize them.
You go through the motions and hope for the best.
Is there a better feeling than waking up ready to seize the day and make a difference?
How does it contrast with how you feel when you’re just going through the motions to play it safe?
I firmly believe that part of the reason we are put on Earth is to test the limits of our capabilities.
At some level, most, if not all of us, believe we were born for significance.
How much that statement resonates with you probably depends on how much you have settled for the notion that “it is what it is.”
What if the truth really is that you were not meant to play it safe but to thrive?
How would that change how you went about your daily activities?
3. You become disappointed and compare yourself to others.
I admit that I’ve done this more than I should.
There have been times when I’ve felt stuck, held back by a lack of progress in my own life.
Looking back, I’ve spent too much time complaining about what others have that I don’t.
What if they have what they have because they’ve done what I haven’t?
There, I said it.
The question is: What will you and I do about it?
4. Instead of looking forward, you’re constantly looking backward.
Maybe you don’t struggle with comparing your life to others.
Maybe your difficulty is comparing what’s happening – or not happening – in your life now to the “good ‘ole days.”
If this is you, I have a couple of thoughts.
First, the so-called good ‘ole days probably weren’t as good as you recall.
Second, think about a rear-view mirror.
The purpose of a rear-view mirror is to assess distance, not direction.
Constantly looking in the rear-view mirror will not keep you going in the right direction.
Go ahead and leave your comfort zone
Don’t play it safe all the time.
There is an entire world, path, and experience that you will miss.
Being cautious and making wise decisions is one thing.
No one is advocating for total recklessness.
However, if your fear of the unknown encourages you to play it safe, it might be time to let that go!
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.
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