Risky no matter what: There’s no real safety

One thing that can get in the way of making changes to our lives, doing new things, doing challenging things, going in new directions, is this feeling of wanting safety, wanting to have some kind of security.
Anything that’s new and different and unknown is automatically, in some way, dangerous.
In some way, it is outside the safety zone.
And of course, it’s perfectly natural and reasonable in so many cases to choose to play it safe.
There are many real dangers in the world, and it makes sense to protect ourselves from them.
People that ignore basic safety and playing it safe often find their lives cut short.
But as with so many things, something that is very useful for self-preservation, something very reasonable, can also be taken too far, to the point where it holds us back.
The fear of anything that isn’t safe can become so dominant that we simply hide in the safe place.
And the extreme of it would be like a child hiding under the blankets, afraid to even get out of bed.
To do anything in the world, to do anything different and new, we have to leave our little zone of comfort.
So one thing I find helpful to recall, if I feel like I might be playing it too safe, or avoiding risks that I should be taking, is to remember that there is no real safety zone.
There is no real safe place.
There is no pure safety.
There’s no immunity from danger anywhere.
Of course, some places are more dangerous than others, and we can choose to favour less dangerous places to try to protect ourselves.
But I find it useful to remember that playing it safe does not in any way guarantee safety.
No matter how many precautions we take, no matter how much we try to avoid every imaginable risk, disasters can still happen.
We simply cannot protect ourselves against all the possible things that can go wrong.
Not even all the things we can think about, and then all the things that we can’t even imagine that might happen: there’s no way to guard against all of them with some kind of perfect immunity.
Not only can we not erase all the risks that are out there for us, erase the danger, but also even the act of avoiding risk brings its own risk, its own dangers.
Just like you can imagine if you were to never leave your home, and always stay inside, you might avoid certain dangers like maybe being hit in traffic, being robbed on the street, or whatever dangers are out there.
But then you trade it for the dangers that could happen inside your home.
Your home could burn down, collapse.
You could be poisoned by all the variety of toxic things that are in every everyday home.
Even if there’s nothing wrong with the home, and nothing goes badly with the home itself, simply being forever in a single place is probably not going to be very good for your health.
There could be all kinds of internal discomforts and possible illnesses that could come from living this kind of sedentary, fixed life where you never go outside.
And even more than the physical dangers would be the psychological, emotional dangers of always holing yourself up, always hiding away.
It seems like there’s no way that that could lead to a positive psychological state, and it could lead to so many negative states that could lead to all kinds of problems and future dangers.
And all that to avoid being hit in traffic or mugged or whatever else.
It’s always a trade-off of dangers.
We’re trading off the dangers out there for the dangers of hiding in an imagined safety hole.
So if I really thought that there was this kind of perfectly safe place that was an alternative, that would make it harder for me to take useful risks, to do new things and make changes and explore new territory.
Because every time I have this idea of doing something new, different, possibly dangerous, I could then compare it to my perfect safety place and say “Oh, is it really worth the danger? Is it really worth the danger of all the possible things that can go wrong, compared to having nothing go wrong?” That would make it harder to choose risk.
But by remembering that I don’t really have any state of pure safety, that no matter what I choose, I will be exposed to risk and danger anyway, there’s nowhere to hide.
And that, I find, helps me to choose the risks that are more likely to take me in a good direction.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *