“To live a life of excellence, you will have to take risks. You will have to step into new territory and climb new mountains. If you’re up to something that’s as big as you are, it’s going to be scary. If it feels perfectly safe, you are probably underachieving. To leave your mark in the world, you will have to stand someplace you’ve never been willing to stand before. And you will have to have the courage to aspire to excellence.”
~ Debbie Ford
Despite all the May/June high school and college graduation speeches that encourage those graduating to go for the brass ring, doing so rarely happens in a life time.
The problem with those types of speeches is that everything leading up to them often runs counter to living such a bold and daring life. Those speeches wouldn’t be needed, if we encouraged our young to take chances. The look and feel of young life would be totally different than it is now. Thus, the inspirational speech the adults give to the young as a reminder to themselves to take risks before it is too late. (Note to self.)
Most of our lives are way too scripted and safety oriented. I read a few months ago that colleges are now looking for students who are different! They want something more off beat than the well-rounded students getting all A’s they’ve wanted for several decades. Fascinating but welcomed. Students will be able to follow their own strengths, perhaps.
If you want to always be safe, physically, emotionally, financially, your life will be driven by a lot of fear, a fear of losing instead of gaining. Most folks who make it big in business at one point risked most of the money they had.
What if I lose my “fill-in-the-blank.”?
If we believed in ourselves, we’d just go onto the next thing without batting much of an eye. We’d know that something even better was on the horizon. Or we’d step up and create it. To have new businesses, someone has to take a chance and create one. If we don’t raise people to do that, there won’t be new small businesses that turn into larger businesses.
I remember when I got laid off in my thirties. Thought I’d never get another job. I got one a month later! And it was during a terrible economic downturn. All was well.
For the most part, I grew up in a different era. We were not told to be “safe” all the time. Other than my mother telling me a few times as a young girl to stay away from strange men driving cars offering me candy (which never happened,) I don’t think I started hearing that mantra until my late twenties. Suddenly, it was be safe 24/7/365.
We climbed trees, did back flips of the diving board, walked alone through the woods for miles, didn’t carry a water bottle with us when we left the house, biked everywhere, didn’t have cell phones and didn’t plan our entire lives by the age of 14. Could things have happened, sure. Are things really more dangerous? Not sure. They certainly are publicized more. But we have more laws that we didn’t have before.
And even if you are being “safe,” things will still happen. Sometimes even more because being safe takes us out of the moment, often even less aware of our surroundings.
The other problem with being overly safe is that you start to curl in on yourself. Sure you live a safe life, but is it the life you want to live? People can become terrified to take even tiny risks.
I go to karaoke nights and most singers sing the same 3-4 songs every night. It has been like this since I began karaoke 20 years ago. This week I did one song I’ve done twice before, one I’ve done once before and one new one called Rock Steady by Aretha Franklin. The new one had me improvising in places where I didn’t quite know the tune, but I didn’t feel like a failure. I felt brave for doing a new song.
Despite what I just wrote about the “dangers” of too much safety, I’ve got to keep myself from leading too safe a life as well. I feel that pull to “safety” all the time and often start to talk myself out of doing new things then catch myself wimping out and read myself the riot act.
I think the endless warning to be safe is a way to control the masses. If they are so busy trying to be or feel safe, they are not living their best, most adventurous lives.
Okay, your turn.
How safe is your life? Do you like it safe or do you yearn for a little more dangerous living? And you mayor may not.
If you do, what one new thing can you try this week? It can be very small, like trying a new art technique or it can be larger like hiking a 5,000 footer.
If you like, state your intention on the blog! Saying things in public helps make them become real.