“If you never take risks, you'll never accomplish great things.
Everybody dies, but not everyone has lived."
― C.S. Lewis
High achievers tend to be risk averse rule followers. To be fair, this is usually for good reason. Following the rules and staying within pre-set boundaries tends to pay off, or at least that is what we are socialized to believe. I agree that we owe it to the other humans with whom we share space to engage in prosocial and cooperative behavior. Society would not function properly if we did not. However, being a good citizen and living life in a manner that pushes past artificial limitations are not mutually exclusive.
We must be willing to take risks that are consistent with our purpose and/or calling. As an anonymous philosopher once said, “Your current safe boundaries were once unknown frontiers.” In other words, someone had to do it first. Someone had to invent a mechanism with four wheels and a motor that could carry people from one place to another at a time when most people were traveling by foot or horse. Someone had to invent a machine that could keep itself in the air and propel itself thousands of miles at a time when automobile production was in its nascent stages. Someone had to become the first female medical doctor at a time when women were generally not permitted to be educated. In short, someone has to both have the vision to see what others do not, as well as the courage to act upon it.
I challenge you to ask yourself if there is something in your heart that you feel called to do, but haven’t because of fear—fear of failure, judgment, disappointment, embarrassment or shame. I dare say that we all have a dream that we have buried in the recesses of our hearts and have tried to ignore because we are afraid of where the journey of exploration of that dream will take us.
What if the people who invented the first car and the first airplane abandoned their invention efforts because they were afraid of failure or other people’s judgment? It is probable that eventually someone would have developed a prototype for their invention, but their specific contributions and unique insights would be lost and their legacy would be omitted from the annals of history.
There is a time for everything under the sun: a time to study fastidiously, a time to diligently labor, and a time to quietly prepare, but if your heart is telling you that it is time to stand up, step out and do more, do not ignore that message. In trying to convince yourself that you are satisfied with the status quo, you may be limiting yourself from realizing your fullest potential and depriving the world of the blessing of who you truly are.