April 24

The chief danger in life
is that you may take too
many precautions.

Alfred Adler


Today's Meditation:

For most of us, precautions are absolutely necessary.  After all, when we take a lot of precautions, we help ourselves to deal with our fears--we help ourselves to lessen our fears because we feel that we've accounted for all the possible outcomes and that we'll be fine no matter what happens.  But what I've found is that when we take too many precautions, we leave little room in our lives for spontaneity, little room for the healthy risks that can make our lives much more interesting and exciting--and fulfilling.

Too many precautions can trap our lives into a box or a cage; they can make our lives stale and uninteresting.  If I'm constantly trying to make sure that certain things don't happen, I'm also limiting the number of things that can happen.  I know people who don't meet new people because they're afraid of getting hurt; while they definitely do keep the hurt that others can cause away, they also keep away the joys that we can find in the company of others.  I know others who put away every extra bit of money they can for their retirement, while never taking vacations or doing anything for themselves now.

For me, the most important thing that I've learned in my time on this planet is to trust life.  It won't always give us everything we think we need, but it will take care of us.  Too many precautions can be an indication that we don't trust life, that we don't have faith in our God, for we find it important to make sure that we can take care of ourselves--when with faith in life and God we would know that we will be taken care of by life itself.

Alfred actually calls this "the chief danger" in life.  Those are very strong words that make a very strong claim.  I believe that at heart, he's absolutely right--the chief danger in life is living with a very low level of faith and feeling that we have to take too many precautions, thus pushing out of our lives many opportunities for spontaneity, new experiences, and wonderful surprises.

Questions to consider:

What causes many of us to focus so much of our time and energy on taking precautions to prevent certain things from happening in the future?

In what ways can you take risks today that are acceptable risks to you? 

Why do so few people seem to embrace risk and risk-taking?

For further thought:

There's only one form of security we can attain during our lives.  It's inner security--the kind that comes from courage, experience, and the ability and the willingness to learn, to grow, to attempt the unknown.  Security isn't what the wise person looks for; it's opportunity.  And once we begin looking for that, we find it on every side.  You can measure opportunity with the same yardstick that measures the risk involved.  They go together.

Earl Nightingale


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