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 resistanceโ€”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 opportunitiesโ€”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 comfortโ€”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?




119 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 6 people

    1. You’re a deep thinker. ๐Ÿ‘ My world is not better… not worse., but different. On a daily routine, I tend to skim the surface of my life in an effort to not get snagged in details. I love my simple life that involves adventures. That’s where I get out of my “comfort zone.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are most welcome and I will look into what we can do together, like creating some inspirational masterpieces.


      2. You can connect with me on social media by clicking any of the social app buttons placed on my blog. It will be great working with you. ๐Ÿ™‚


  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 3 people

    1. 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


      1. Sure will! I’m looking forward to that post!! And probably may have another question to fuel up another post!!
        In all cases, thank you yet again!


  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! โค

    Liked by 4 people

      1. 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

      2. Wow…very compelling. Writing YA fiction that is. I’d love to camp in your brain for an hour – only an hour ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 4 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 3 people

    1. Thank you, Lynn! Every new step taken toward personal growth involves a level of anxiety and risk. Even so, the riskier proposition is to remain in one’s comfort zone. There’s so much life, beauty and promise outside the emotional and relational constraints of familiarity and monotony. Small, deliberate and consistent steps are the key. -jh

      Liked by 1 person

  6. “An intelligent risk is the act of stretching beyond your level of comfortโ€”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 2 people

  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 3 people

  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 3 people

  9. Hey there, I find your posts to be compassionate & relevant. I chose to share this post on my blog today. Thank you for imparting your experience/wisdom. All the best.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. 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… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  11. 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 3 people

  12. 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 3 people

      1. Everything in life prepares me for the jump and propels me towards the edge, sometimes very fast, sometimes slowly (one step at a time). I am ready when I actually take the leap and not a moment before. No matter what, when I jump I am ready to go beyond fear and trust.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Reblogged this on Black and Bougie and commented:
    Josiah Harry makes a point about risk. How many of us avoid risk because we’re afraid of what could happen? I know I have many times in my life, but as he says, think about all the opportunities you’ve missed because you didn’t step out of your comfort zone and try something different. Mm. Food for thought.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Taking a risk is easier when you find your purpose in life. Risk takers always start with a vision: helping people / solve a problem. Great article ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  15. It’s so much easier to open up to risk when you start to realize that life is happening at every moment, not “after I get more financially stable” or “after I’m in a good relationship” or “when I know more about X”. Following the bliss is what we’re here for. Love the post ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  16. This rings so true, especially when things have been hard won it’s difficult to risk losing them. I’m fortunate to have had many positive moments but still can count the many opportunities that maybe slipped through my fingers. If you’ve been riding high but playing it safe, a reversal of Fortune might make you bold in the future.

    Thanks for this post and your follow.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Creating art involves risks on several levels. Beginning writers sometimes avoid the risk of submitting work without understanding that they will not be laughed at, mocked or whatever completely unfounded fear they may have.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Love this. Reminds me of my favorite quote from Robert Redford who’s one of my biggest inspirations and which I have printed on my noticeboard: “To me not taking a risk is a risk.” Everytime I feel unsure of taking a risk I look at it and just go for it! (ok, it is a tiny bit harder than that, but it really helps a lot :))

    Liked by 1 person

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