Prudence keeps life safe,
but does not often make
is certainly only worthwhile as it represents struggle for worthy causes.
There is no struggle in perfect security.
I am quite certain that the human being
could not continue to exist if he or she had perfect security.
Monotony is the awful reward of the
careful. -A.G. Buckham
mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature,
nor do the
children of people as a whole experience it. . . .
Avoiding danger is no
safer in the long run than outright exposure. . . .
Life is either a
daring adventure or nothing.
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.
ship in harbor is safe,
but that is not what ships are built for.
for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.
to be safe is never to be secure. -Benjamin Franklin
do not make skillful sailors. -African proverb
play for safety. It's the most dangerous thing in the world.
|We all yearn for
safety and security to some extent or another. We want the security
of a regular paycheck that will meet our financial needs; we want the
safety of a nice home that will keep us warm in the winter and safe from
the elements and the bad people of the world. We want our children
to be safe and sound, and we want to protect them from anything that may
harm them. There's nothing wrong with safety per se: it's a
typical human trait to want it, and when we are safe, we're free to focus
our energies on other aspects of our lives. We're able to give more
to our jobs and more time to activities that we enjoy. So how can
something as basic as safety turn into an obstacle to living a full life?
That's easy and
obvious--when safety develops into complacency and creates in us a sense
of boredom, that's when we're facing a struggle with the very facet of our
lives that we've strived so hard to achieve.
experiences living in Europe and the United States, I've noticed time and
again that in the United States we take far more risks and we face far
more obstacles than do our neighbors to the east, especially in the
western European countries. But we also offer far more opportunities
for risk-taking, for putting aside our personal safety and comfort in
order to strike out and try something new and different, whereas the
European countries have such strong social programs that few people ever
reach a point at which they have to strike out and try something
new. That's the basic reason why in Germany, you'll hear mostly
American and British music on the charts, why in Switzerland and Spain
you'll see so many McDonald's and Burger Kings, why in France and Sweden
you'll see so many American films in the theaters. For better or
worse, here in America we offer the opportunity to succeed to the
risk-takers, and it pays off in a culture that continues to be dynamic and
How many times
have you read the story of the man or woman who had worked in the same
place for twenty years, only to be laid off when the company is sold out
or goes under? For many of these people, this is the best thing that
ever happened to them: their new-found lack of security stimulated
them to create their own jobs or companies, or to find higher-paying jobs
in related fields with much higher job satisfaction. While they were
safely entrenched in their old jobs, they had no motivation at all to
stretch their limits or further their boundaries, but once they were on
their own, they found that their creativity and resourcefulness were put
to the test, and came through.
For others, such
a change is a disaster, which is a shame, but hardly justifiable in the
world of today. We can't sit around and mope about what has been; we
need to forge our tomorrows out of the raw materials of today.
I've taught at
many different colleges, and one of them stands out in my mind as
epitomizing the problem with safety. It's a wonderful school
academically--consistently ranked very highly in national and regional
rankings--but there's very little life there. While they bring in
many outside artists to perform there, there's very little creativity on
the campus among the students. Art and dance and music and other
creative outlets are there, but they're hardly encouraged, except by those
few faculty members who are involved in them. When I talked to my
students, they complained about the lack of life on campus, and most of
them ended up going home on weekends, for there was nothing to do at
school. I heard several references to the campus as a "giant
womb," a place where parents could send their kids and know that they
were safe and weren't going to be subverted.
colleges, though, I haven't seen that degree of safety, and I've seen a
great deal more creativity and fire and will to succeed in the
students. They have to work towards safety, and their work shows an
inspiration that I rarely saw at the other school. They knew that
opportunities were out there, but they knew they'd have to work to reach
them. At the other school, the parents were paying a hefty tuition
to guarantee their kids success and a degree from a highly regarded
school, but the kids were getting nothing more than a safety guaranteed by
a checkbook. They were learning no survival skills, and they were
pushed to no limits other than turning in papers on time and getting their
reading done and performing well on tests.
I know that the
times in my life when I've struggled have been the most creative and the
most beneficial. I wrote more poetry when I was living on $200 a
month in Spain than I ever have when I've been earning a decent paycheck
and living in a nice home. I've been harmed when I've taken
risks--of course. But in that harm has been a wonderful lesson or
two each time, and I learned a little bit more about life and success and
being happy by taking a risk and failing than I ever would have by
continuing with the status quo.
inherently wrong with safety, and it's a wonderful goal for most of us,
but we shouldn't let safety turn us into complacent beings, bored people
who think we have to find excitement in things like drugs or alcohol or
partners other than their spouses. You can keep your life dynamic if
you search out risks worth taking, changes worth making, new challenges
|The only real
security that a person can have in this world is a reserve of
knowledge, experience, and ability.
of us have "comfort zones," the areas in which we are
comfortable. These comfort zones apply to the way we dress,
the emotions we can comfortably express, the things which we will
try, the depths to which we reveal ourselves, our openness to
change, and so forth.
As long as we stay within these comfort zones, we
just keep repeating what we have always done. We don't
change. We don't grow. Every day is pretty much like
the day before, and every tomorrow is pretty much like today.
Our days are all "carbon copies" of one another.
We like our comfort zones, even though they
definitely shrink the world in which we live. We know our
way around inside our comfort zones. We know how to cope
with the things we encounter in our familiar comfort zones.
We feel "safe" there.
If you promise me that you are going to stay within
your comfort zone, I will be able to tell you what you will be
like at the end of your life. You'll be just what you are
now, only more so.
If you promise me that you are going to stretch, to
step outside your comfort zone, I cannot predict your future.
The sky is the limit. -John Powell
people have exchanged some part of their chances of happiness for
a measure of security. -Sigmund Freud
life can be transformed like the butterfly's. Most of us
live in a cocoon of safety, called our comfort zone, to protect
ourselves from the elements. We are accustomed to the
routine of our lives. We know what to expect each day as we
crawl out from under our warm covers.
Our comfort zone keeps us safe. But our comfort
zone limits us, just as the caterpillar is limited when compared
to the butterfly. To the caterpillar, life is fine.
There are branches to climb. There are leaves to eat.
It can even use the leaves to hide from the birds of prey.
But to the observer who can see the whole picture,
the reality of the caterpillar's life is very limited. That
observer can see the possibilities of transformation that lie
ahead for the caterpillar. That observer can also see the
possibilities of transformation that can lie ahead for you.
Our comfort zone limits us in the same way the
caterpillar is limited. The vision of the caterpillar is
limited to a few feet around it. It cannot even imagine a
life beyond its vision. But the caterpillar is lucky.
Nature has provided a path that will transform it into a butterfly
with a hugely expanded vision. It doesn't have a choice.
in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true
security to be found. -Anne
can receive a free daily email with two inspiring quotations
by signing up here. And don't worry--we don't share
any email addresses with anyone, for any reason.
Home - About -
- abundance - acceptance
- achievement - action
- adversity - advertising
- anger - anticipation
- apathy - appreciation -
- art - attitude - authenticity
autumn - awakening
- awareness -
- balance -
beauty - being yourself - beliefs
- body - brooding
busyness - caring
- celebration - challenges - change
- character - charity
- children -
- commitment - common sense
- community - comparison -
- complaining -
- compromise -
- conscience - contentment
control - cooperation
- courage -
covetousness - creativity -
criticism - cruelty - death
determination - disappointment - discipline
- discouragement - diversity - doubt -
dreams - earth
ego - emotions - encouragement -
- envy -
- ethics - example
- experience - failure -
faith - fame - family -
fate - fathers - fault-finding
- fear - feelings
- frustration - fun - the future - the
garden of life - gardening - generosity
gentleness - giving
goals - God - goodness -
grace - gratitude -
greatness - greed
- growing up - guilt
- happiness -
hatred - healing -
health - heart -
helpfulness - home - honesty -
hope - hospitality
hurry - ideals
- identity - idleness -
idolatry - ignorance
- illusion - imagination -
independence - individuality - inner
child - inspiration -
integrity - intimacy
introspection - intuition
- journey - joy -
judgment - karma - kindness - knowledge - language
- laughter -
law of attraction
leadership - learning - letting go -
- love - lying - magic
materialism - meanness -
mindfulness - miracles
- mistakes - mistrust-
moderation - money
mothers - motivation - music
- mystery - Native American wisdom
- nature - negative attitude -
- open mindedness - opportunity -
optimism - pain
- parenting - passion
the past - patience - peace
perfectionism - perseverance -
pessimism - play - poetry
- positive thinking - possessions
potential - poverty - power
- praise - prayer
- prejudice -
the present moment - pride -
principle - problems
- prosperity - purpose -
reading - recreation
- reflection -
relationships - religion - reputation
- responsibility - rest -
revenge - risk - role models -
running - ruts - sadness -
the seasons of life
self - self-love -
self-pity - self-reliance
- selfishness - service -
silence - simplicity
- smiles -
solitude - sorrow - spirit - spring
stories - strength
success - suffering
- summer -
talent - the tapestry of
- teachers - teaching
today - tolerance
- tradition - trees
truth - values - vanity
- virtue - vulnerability - walking
war - wealth - weight - winter -
- women -
- work - worry -
- youth -
Dale Carnegie - Albert Einstein - Ralph
Waldo Emerson - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross -
Helen Keller - Mother
Teresa - Eleanor Roosevelt
Swett Marden - Albert Schweitzer - Aristotle
Mohandas Gandhi - Wilferd