"Play it safe." "You can't be too careful." "Don't take too many risks." This is the advice of the cautious. Now I will acknowledge there is a time for proceeding with thoughtfulness and restraint. However, so many live fear-based lives that lead to a lack of fulfillment and eventually despair. They then use television, alcohol, food, and other compulsive behaviors to numb the boredom and emptiness.
I encounter this daily in my work with clients. Individuals come in depressed and dissatisfied with their lives. Life is challenging and downright brutal at times. People can retreat into resignation and other defenses like a boxer who has become afraid of getting hit. But there is a price tag for our withdraw from the fight - we become bored and discontent. Monotony truly is the reward of the careful.
You cannot win the fight alone
To experience the excitement and zest of life requires conquering our fears. We have to return to the ring and face down our greatest foes. Perhaps, there was a time in your life where you failed and have never quite recovered. Maybe, the loss of a dream or person needs to be grieved. For some, it may be letting go of the messages they internalized from parents or culture related to not taking risks or their lack of ability.
The one key element necessary to achieve this goal is support from others. Each of our greatest defeats comes with sense of aloneness. We need someone in our corner. A person to encourage and challenge us as we return to the ring. If you have support already, use them to gain the courage to start to take risks again. If not, be willing to be uncomfortable and begin building relationships. You cannot win this fight alone. Overcome your excuses and defenses associated with letting other in.
Safe is not so safe
Rember, life is ultimately meant to be lived, not just survived. Playing it safe is not so safe. Avoiding risk also means avoiding possibility. Develop the courage to take chances in your work, relationships, passions. Your reward will be a life filled with excitement, purpose, and fulfillment. Stop holding back and go for it!
John Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C.
John has helped thousands of clients overcome the hidden internal blocks which had kept them from achieving their maximum potential. Furthermore, he has assisted them in gaining clarity of their true life purpose, identifying their gifts and talents, and developing lives of greater meaning and significance.