Have you ever observed how children do life? They are least concerned with safety and security. This is precisely what makes them grow so much. Toddlers learn so fast to walk and talk because they don’t care about maintaining their “safe” state. They don’t care about mistakes, failures, or pain. I mean, they feel pain in the moment, sure, they cry and whine about it like all of us, but then they go back at it and try again.
Whether toddlers slur their words, talk nonsense, or lack the adequate vocabulary, they go for it again. Whether they fall, scratch their knees or hit their head, they go for it again. It does not matter to them who has seen them fail, or what other people think. Hell, this doesn’t even cross their mind until, quite often, we adults put it there!
Children are too busy exploring and breaching the boundaries of their world to care about what other people think. When they want to create or achieve something, they go about it relentlessly until they do.
We have so much to learn by watching how kids do life.
As I got more involved in my work, coaching people towards greater inner and outer prosperity, I have been afraid of many things. I have wanted to keep myself ‘safe’ many times, and still do every once in a while.
‘Why do I not want to make this Facebook live? Because someone might criticise me or not like what I have to say. I’d rather stay “safe”…’
‘Why will I not run another workshop? Because too few people might show up. I’d rather stay “safe”…’
‘Why would I not offer to coach this person? Because they might think I want something from them. I’d rather stay “safe”…’
These are simple examples illustrating what most of us regularly face in our work, in our personal relationships and in our lives in general. The fear of risking. The fear-based desire to stay safe and hide. Safety is a dangerous illusion which has killed countless dreams and ideas; safety is the enemy of inner leadership, performance and prosperity. “Don’t make waves”, we have often been told, because it makes others feel uncomfortable.
So what? Discomfort IS where growth occurs. Failure IS where learning happens.
Are we all here to remain small and comfortable on our little plot of land? Is it okay to grow during our first few years of life and then, instead of proactively pursuing growth and challenging ourselves later on, choose to slowly decay and rot because we would rather stay “safe”?
Uh. Uh. No freaking way.
Forget about what you label “safety”: it’s not serving you. Safety is made-up, it’s an illusion, and a dangerous one. Nothing and no-one is “safe” in the way we habitually talk to ourselves. We can die, literally, in a moment. We can lose our close ones in a moment. We can lose our health in a moment. We can lose all our savings in a moment. We can lose our job in a moment. There is no real “safety” when it is made-up by the mind.
You don’t really know if you are going to be alive tomorrow, do you? DO YOU?
There is a difference between practical safety and made-up safety. Consider the case of practical safety. If there is a fire next to me, I’m not going to put my hand into it. Not because I fear fire but because I know it will hurt if I do so and I am not inspired by that. That would be dumb. THAT’S practical safety, it is built-in common sense and it is there to protect me.
Now consider the case of made-up safety. Let’s say I have an inner desire to try, do or create something because I am inspired to. I’m not talking about an impulse here, I am talking about something which I genuinely know is calling me, even if I “know” this thing might bring about some degree of pain as I go for it – like a toddler who might fall down if he tries to walk. If I choose not to do this thing because I think I am safer now and at least I am not in pain, that’s not practical safety. Would you encourage a toddler to remain sitting down for the rest of his life because it’s “safer”? That doesn’t make sense. THAT’s what I call made-up safety. It is not real. Actually, it’s even worse because in this case, I am deceiving myself thinking I am not in pain now… But I already AM in pain!
I am in pain because I am not living my truth and I know it.
This is exactly how I felt when I was in investment banking. Stable job, good money and clearly defined career steps. All made up and internally painful although deceivingly deemed “safe”. I feel much safer now than I did then, with half the money and no future path other than the one I craft. There is no safety. There is only what we are inspired to create and what we choose to commit to.
So here’s a question for you.
What will you do when you stop playing “safe”?