We often think to ourselves that playing it safe is a smart bet. To play it safe, many of us take the job with the good benefits, drive the car with the good mileage, and purchase the home in the safe community.
However, while it is unnecessary to swing for the fences with every life decision, playing it safe as your standard decision-making practice is actually the most dangerous thing that you can do with your life. Here are three reason why.
1) Playing it safe often means that we are going along with herd
Who decided what was safe and what was dangerous? For example, when did we decide that it was safe to purchase a car, but dangerous to own a motorcycle? Of course, motorcycle accidents are more likely to be lethal, but most motorcyclists will still ride safely without incident. Beyond that though, motorcycles often cost less money, are more fun to ride, take up less valuable space, use less gas and are less of an environmental threat.
The point is, without questioning what we are told, we won’t realize that there are two sides to every coin. There are always benefits, and dangers, to both sides of an argument, if we are willing to look.
The reason why we assume that some actions are safe and others are dangerous is that, in many cases, we have accepted the viewpoint of the herd. Somewhere along the line it was decided that it was “safe” to go to college, get a specific type of job, pay your taxes, settle down in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship, and have two kids. Because of directives from the herd like these, many people have conformed to a very similar life structure, often hoping to play the “safe” bet in life.
Unfortunately, playing it safe by following the herd for all of our decision-making is dangerous because when we follow it, we aren’t even using our own free will to make our own choices! When there is a great opportunity available that will provide us with more fun, more fulfillment, and more security we might not even recognize it just because it doesn’t pass the herd “sniff test.”
2) Playing it safe often happens when operating from a place of fear
If you aren’t operating from a place of fear, you probably have no reason to play it safe. Playing it safe is usually a symptom of being afraid of making a mistake or taking a wrong turn.
The reason that operating from a place of fear is dangerous is because fear draws fearful things toward it. This is why people who take every precaution to avoid illnesses and accidents tend to be the ones who have the most of them. By focusing on what we don’t want, we actually draw these things closer to us! For this reason, playing it safe is indeed not at all a safe bet.
The reality is, that if you can find a way to drop the fear, you will literally have nothing to fear. When you are moving in the flow of the universe, and following your intuition with total faith, you are as safe as you can ever be.
Make it your goal to get in tune with your intuition and do what you feel called to do, regardless if others claim it isn’t “safe.” By dropping the fear, you will be enveloped in all of the safety you will ever need, and you will lead a happier, healthier and more prosperous life.
3) Playing it safe often means you are settling in life
Listen, we really don’t know what comes after this life with a great deal of certainty. All we know is that at some point, we are going to die. Do we really want to spend our lives playing it safe and doing everything the way that everyone else is doing it?
Sure, some of the things we have in common with the herd are probably exactly what we want (for example, I have the standard family with a husband and two kids, and I’m perfectly happy with that!). However, for others, if you aren’t content with the direction the herd is moving in, it’s best to branch off and do what you want to do to improve your quality of life.
As Nelson Mandela once said:
There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than one you are capable of living.
Imagine what you’ll be looking back on as you lie on your deathbed. Realize that playing it safe for every life decision means that we will definitely look back on life with at least a few regrets. This is the most dangerous thing of all about playing it safe because it means that we are squandering the only thing we really know we have, which is the here and now.
Make this life count! Take a risk now and again. As as has been famously said before: “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.”
Because playing it safe means that we are often moving with the herd, operating from a place of fear and settling in life, playing it safe is the most dangerous thing we can do, because it ultimately sabotages our ability to have a genuinely fulfilling life.
So how does one move away from a life of playing it safe? It’s fairly simple. Just start with the small decisions and move up as you become more confident in your ability to choose the actions that are right for you. Get in the habit of making more decisions as an individual, regardless of what the herd has to say about it.
So the next time you want to wear something different from your group of friends, wear it. The next time you want to take the longer or less conventional route, take it. Get in the habit of following your intuition on the smaller decisions in life and you will become more comfortable following your inner guidance when it comes to the big decisions.
Remember, when you’re willing to move away from the herd, drop the fear and go after what your intuition is pulling you towards, life will become happier, healthier and more prosperous. So let go of the need to play it safe, because in the end, “playing it safe” is far riskier than gambling on your dreams.