Why Playing It Safe Is Riskier than You Think

Before you delve into the heart of this post, for the next few minutes, I’d like you to reflect on your life and the many times you avoided risks and opted for the path of least resistanceβ€”the path that was comfortable and predictable.

Looking back, what did you see?

Here’s what you likely saw. The things that seemed so scary and risky at the time now seem like missed opportunitiesβ€”many of which you can never regain. But that’s the past, which has been etched in history. Let’s look at the present through the lenses of the next question.

How high are you willing to fly?

For many of you, your natural instinct is to think deeply and weigh every factor very carefully before arriving at a definitive conclusion. Although the question is a fairly simple one, you are hesitant to offer a direct response because at the subconscious level, you have been programmed to make certain associations. In other words, it is at the subconscious level that risks and rewards are assigned a value. And when risks, as processed and interpreted through one’s environment, beliefs, emotions and habits, outweigh potential and perceived rewards, those risks never reach one’s consciousness.

But this is not to say that being risk averse is an inherently bad thing. The fact is, many of the associations we make, as it relates to risks, have their basis in human evolutionary adaptation and survival. For example, going hunting at night in the Serengeti is a risky proposition for humans due to our inability to see in low light conditions and defend ourselves against the threat of predators.

Nothing great can be achieved without risk.

Thus, in many cases, it does make sense to heed our internal warning systems as many things can go wrong at it pertains to risk-taking. The reality is, more people have failed taking risks than they have succeeded. Risk-taking can expose you to emotional, physical or economic loss. A person could potentially lose his or her reputation and status as well.

Conversely, risk-taking can expose you to unforeseen rewards and opportunities. You will never reach your true potential if you do not develop an appetite for intelligent risks. What do I mean by intelligent risk? An intelligent risk is the act of stretching beyond your level of comfortβ€”it means swimming upstream and exposing yourself to uncertainty and change, and learning and growing.

Think about how much more manageable and enjoyable our lives have become in the last fifteen years due to the advances in technology. What do you imagine our lives would have been like without risk takers pushing the boundaries of innovation? Think Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Uber, Airbnb. Ultimately, nothing great can be achieved without risk.

So, how high are you willing to fly?


67 thoughts on “Why Playing It Safe Is Riskier than You Think

  1. To fly the bird must let go of the branch.

    We have to push ourselves out of comfort zone . At the same time we must be wise we certain risks where there is danager involved.

    However, we need to know true danager and danager created in my mind out of fear.

    Love your post and you blog.. thanks for visiting mine and following.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. What you said was totally right!
    If it wouldnt be for risks, one can’t know if something was meant to be or not meant to be but would be in perpetual darkness of wonder and the unknown…
    This post is so true… But, I’d like to know about the “intelligent risks” you mentioned about.

    Because sometimes just coming out of the comfort zone is not enough, one has to put steps in two boats and choose one, like the Road Not Taken by Robert Frost… What would you have to say about it? What sort of a judgement would you prefer to choose?

    I’ve seen your home page and I’m pretty much inspired and awestruck that I’m pretty sure I’m going to stick out around here for a long time!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Piezoradeon, thank you for pushing the conversation forward. I’m actually working on a piece that should provide meaningful context as it relates to your questions. I hope to publish the post in a few days.-jh


  3. Well said. All of it. Taking risks is scary, but often, you need to be uncomfortable to grow. I’m experiencing that right now with transitioning from the academic setting to a couple of new ideas I have. This post cans at a great time. Thank you! ❀

    Liked by 2 people

      • Ha ha. It’s hard when you have that much education, and you are good at it! I bet you are. I was/am a pretty good teacher. I feel pulled to YA fiction writing and possibly a online college success course. I just left my position last semester too. I wish you the best! Positive thoughts your way! Good for you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow…very compelling. Writing YA fiction that is. I’d love to camp in your brain for an hour – only an hour πŸ™‚ Here’s context. I took my first stab at fiction (fantasy apocalyptic) last year and found it to be a most challenging writing ordeal. Even so, I pressed on, and plan to release Book 1 of the series around early summer.

        And like you, I loved sharing scared space with learners. Btw, if you’ve published any of your YA fiction, could you please share where I might find it. I’d love to support your work. I appreciate the positive vibes. Right back at (to) you!


  4. This is great. Thank you. I quit my job in December to pursue a freelance and creative writing career and it’s scary, but exciting. I’d never taken a risk in my life, but even if it goes wrong, it will always have been the right thing to do πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It’s difficult to step from your comfort zone and takes true courgae, I think. I don’t do it as often as I should, but there’s always tomorrow, right?
    Thanks for the follow and for introducing me to your positive blog

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “An intelligent risk is the act of stretching beyond your level of comfortβ€”it means … learning and growing”. I will say that it is not so difficult to step from your comfort zone as long as you wish to live your life today but not tomorrow. There is not tomorrow. In the morning when we wake up, we call it “today”. Actually, even waking up is a risk, every day … Wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Storyweaving and commented:
    I really enjoyed this meditation on risk, risk assessment, and achievement! So many times in my own life, I’ve taken big risks, or avoided them, and I’ve gotten so much less joy out of letting the status quo keep me in place. Enjoy and explore….

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I joined the Marine Corps at 18 and took ricks all my life with assorted jobs. Anytime something new came out, accounting (my degree) and computers, I was the first on line to experiment with it.I helped advance a lot of companies and got nada in return. Would I do it again….why not? My one resource is to blog about my life through assorted blogs that I have. It’s how I get to do my form of payback.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful words! Thank you for this! I wrote a post a couple of years ago on taking risks as well. I think it’s also important to note that people may hesitate because of the thoughts and opinions of others. But we have to realize others’ opinions are simply a reflection of THEM and their fears… πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am old enough to remember a life (most of my life) without all those things you mention. We had books, letters sent by post, conversation, thoughts and ideas, family, travel, and so much more. It was a good life, and electronics did not make it that much better. Just faster.
    Still I am using that very thing to be a blogger, and also buying from Amazon.
    So that’s progress, of a sort.
    Thanks for following my blog, it is much appreciated.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am a newbie to your blog! I just love all that I have read so far! I have learned to pick my battles, and I do find I push myself to better levels that I can obtain! Thank you for the very interesting article!

    Liked by 1 person

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