Playing It Safe, And Why It's Killing You Inside | Be F-ing Awesome Today google4228e52aa5dfebc8.html

Playing It Safe, And Why It’s Killing You Inside

Don't die with your music still inside you. Dr. Wayne Dyer quote.jpg

Playing it safe is about the worst thing you can do if you expect to make progress on anything. Living comfortably within the borders ensures that your greatest desires itching to get out remain confined. What to do? You need to step outside what feels comfortable or you’ll die with your gifts and talents inside. What a shame for you and us too.

What if instead of playing it safe — painting everything beige, staying between the lines, living the status quo — you reached out or stretched up and dared to say OUT LOUD that one thing you want to do that scares the crap out of you?

How do you think you’d feel if you lived your truth instead of what everybody else believes (or tries to convince you) is your truth?

It would be, in an overused word: Awesome.

But it’s easier said than done.


Because for some reason we fear what others think. Even though we intellectualize that it’s nonsense, we still live with the need to feel that it’s okay with others to take one step forward.

Stop it.

You don’t need another grown-up’s approval. You’re not six years old.

Oh, trust me on this one.

When you speak your desires, dreams and deepest wishes out loud, people will walk away.

At first they’ll be all smiles to your face; encouraging, supportive, excited for you. “That’s so awesome that you want to leave a secure job to become a what? Travel blogger?” Or some drivel.

Later they’ll laugh at you or think you’ve gone crazy.

This is when you say, “Yes, I’m bat shit crazy, deal with it.”

By the way, “those people” who think you’ve popped a brain vessel are JEALOUS. Because their own fears keep them from venturing past whatever chicken coop they’ve put themselves in. No reason for you to cluck along.

They’re jealous because you’re casting aside your deepest fears and swinging for the fences.  In spite of all the roadblocks, flashing lights and hazard signs that will surely trip you up, you’re charging forward.

Politely and with great love, they’ll try to protect you from yourself. They wave well-intended caution flags because they love you.

You don’t want to start that now at this stage of life, do you?

“You have children (or parents, or a boss, or a mortgage, or other grown-up responsibilities) to consider.”


“You don’t have the resources (talent, education, beauty, experience, connections) to do this (or that).”

The courage to explore and make yourself vulnerable to whatever taking that leap of faith might bring you should be celebrated. You’ve spent time enough in the trenches (most of it with “these” personalities) that you can’t imagine waiting another day to refresh and begin. You’re tired of your own excuses and sick of waiting for the stars to align.

So don’t okay?

Your family, friends and colleagues fear you may succeed, and leave them behind. You won’t.

Trust me, they don’t have your back.

Your desire spurns their fear. Don’t let it become yours.

They’d rather you curl up along with them, grow old and binge watch Game of Thrones (or The Bachelor or whatever the kids are wasting brain cells on these days).

It’s easier if you’d just be quiet. And stay put. Within the boundaries and borders. Where everyone retreats to feel safe.

You talking crazy about beginning some new adventure unnerves those who are content to coast.

Sure they talk about doing stuff — later, someday, when…You know this because this was you too.

Not now.

Now you’re ready to leap and let out what’s been tied up, patiently waiting, for you to unleash.

You know time is your frenemy so spend the most doing your thing and the least on people wanting to hold you back.

Let them watch you try.

Let them watch you be brave.

Let them watch you fail and fall and get back up. Again and again.

Let them watch you defy the odds and push past your limitations. And your own fears.

Because if you continue to play it safe, you will slowly die inside.

Let them bear witness to your transformation and the happiness it brings to your face.

Then be the inspiration for them to let out their own gifts and talents before time runs out on making choices.

End-of-life pioneer Ram Dass said “Dying is absolutely safe.”

So it’s the living part that’s difficult.

Are you playing it safe?

Playing it safe doesn’t just mean that you’re willing to play by the rules and within the law. You should do both. People who believe rules are for other people are zealots and egomaniacs. Don’t be that person. Lawbreakers should be punished under penalty of the law, or something like that.

Here playing it safe is defined as being consciously willing to not venture outside your four walls when you know that you know that you must.

How do you know?

Something gnaws at you day after day.

You dream about it night after night.

Signs and messages find you in the strangest places.

Are you a risk taker?

There are two kinds of risks: good ones and stupid ones. Let’s for a minute say that you’ve always wanted to skydive. You go to a reputable company, get safety instructions and tandem jump with a certified instructor. Safe.

Stupid is jumping out of the plane without a parachute.

In both cases you’ll get to the ground. One safely. One like the losing ending of a pumpkin’ chunkin’ contest.

 Julia Soul quote on taking chances.jpg

A calculated risk is one way to play it safe. Overthinking and over calculating are stall tactics. You can do that for years. Might as well jump without a parachute. Just saying…

Take a sensible risk but don’t be super safe to the point of inertia. If you want to swim the English Channel but you’re afraid of water no one would be remiss in warning you to start by learning to doggy paddle in the kiddie pool.

What Are You Willing To Give Up?

We fill our days with small tasks and minutiae that keeps us busy but we’re not exactly productive.

Those people, the ones who think you’re a bit nuts for trying, are the same ones who tell you that they’re too busy to do the next thing. Cleaning house, attending meetings, sitting in traffic, etc. will keep you extremely busy all day and waste a ton of time.

Learn to eliminate things, delegate, hire other people. Seriously how many meetings leave you wanting to rip your eyeballs out?

If your family is important to you, it’s likely you’ll wait until you’ve at least potty-trained everyone before venturing off on a three month safari. But keep that carrot at the end of the stick.

Would you give up television?

Weekend naps?

A good paying job?

A relationship?

Sometimes you must leave a comfortable existence and wade through uncertain waters. How deep you are willing to go is a tough and very personal decision.

The answer lies in whether you are merely interested in pursuing something or truly convicted in your quest. Big difference. Huge decision.

Break Away In Small Bites

Maybe buried inside you is this urge to write a book or earn your black belt or rappel El Capitan.

No one (especially moir) is advocating that you pack your toothbrush and empty your bank account and kiss your current life good-bye. Uhm, it might work for someone out there…but if it’s not you, and this feeling or desire won’t release it’s hold on you, consider taking things slow.

By slow I don’t mean do nothing.

Remember how to eat an elephant? Bite by bite.

Want to write that memoir or book of poetry or the next great American novel? Commit to writing one page each day no matter what. It will give you the momentum to go the distance. And in a year you’ll have a first draft. Write five pages a day and…do the math.

Want to run the Boston Marathon but haven’t never run longer (or faster) than to the bathroom? Train with a coach. Join a runner’s club. Get on a running schedule. That’s how you cross the finish line.

While you’re working on your black belt tie a piece of black cloth around your waist. Wear it under your clothes or while you’re at home. Keep it as a reminder that the karate classes are small steps to your black belt ceremony.

You’re not going to be a professional chef or earn your Master’s Degree in education in one day. But you’ll get further than the majority of people who just talk about doing something meaningful.

What’s at stake?

I don’t know…your life? Satisfaction. Growth. Control. Fulfillment. Peace. Joy. Happiness.

If last year you said next year, well, newsflash: it’s next year.

Playing it safe is like hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day. It’s familiar and comforting and sweet. But by do so you die a little bit inside each day because you realize another 24 hours has passed by.

Don’t let it.

It’s your life we’re talking about here, not tomatoes

Think about the first brave soul who took a bite of tomato when no one else dared.

Cut open a tomato and something looks rather raw and unfinished.  Still, despite teasing and taunting from the villagers, and warnings from his loved ones, he bit into the shiny thin flesh. The next day, still alive, he was probably heralded a local hero and made the official taster of scary looking vegetables that were once debated to be actually fruits*.

Norman Cousins quote on loss.jpg

Thank, and then forget, the people who’ll judge you for living your life while complaining about how much theirs sucks because they’re too busy to enjoy and explore it.

Take some calculated risks. Be willing to give up time wasters and start with small bites.

You have not much to lose and lots to gain.

Don’t die with your gifts and talents inside. Live your awesome truth. Be the tomato pioneer of your life.


Other posts you might like:

POST 1: Take A Leap

POST 2: Live A Life That Matters

Original graphics: Stephanie DelTorchio

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*Nix v. Hedden, 149 U.S. 304 (1893), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that, under U.S. customs regulations, the tomato should be classified as a vegetable rather than a fruit. (So there you have it.)

Photo credit: Ben White on Unsplash



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