March 14     

Today's quotation:

Don't play for safety.  It's the most dangerous thing in the world.

Hugh Walpole

Today's Meditation:

Here's a nice paradox that makes a lot of sense.  How can safety be dangerous?  It most certainly can when we're so caught up in trying to make sure that everything is under control that we lose the spontaneity of life, that we don't allow ourselves to take risks and push our limits because we may get hurt somehow in the effort.

The truth is, though, that if we try to be safe, we stop doing things that may compromise that safety.  It's ironic that we talk about taking risks, but then we buy our safe houses in our safe neighborhoods in an effort to make life for our families flow completely smoothly without any bumps in the road.  We want our kids to take risks, but then we model to them the desire to turn life into a risk-free experience because we're afraid the risk may not turn out well.  But even if it turns out poorly, what we learn from the experience is the most important aspect of it, not the actual outcome itself.

I really do long for some sort of safety.  I don't want to think that horrible things may happen to me in the future if I'm unsafe.  But I also want to take risks, to stretch, to push myself, to put myself in situations in which I may succeed and I may fail, which is antithetical to the concept of safety.  If I'm safe, though, I won't grow nearly as much as I will if I put myself out there and take those risks and do new things at which I most certainly can fail.

Safety as we know it is over-rated, and as Earl says below, the only true form of security is the inner type, not the external.  We can develop attitudes and habits that will give us an inner sense of security if we really want to, and doing so will give us something to fall back on when the risks that we take externally fall flat.  Life isn't always going to be easy--and it definitely shouldn't always be easy.  Don't strive for security, for yourself or others, unless you're willing to stop growing and changing.

Questions to consider:

Why does safety seem so desirable on the surface?

What do you see as some possible problems with trying to be safe?

Is it more important to you to be safe, or to take risks, calculated or not?

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

more on safety



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