No one aspires to be boring.
No one wakes up in the morning and thinks, “Today, I’m going to do my best to be average. I’m going to fly under the radar, blend in, and be ordinary.”
And yet, this is what most of us do, day in and day out. We bide our time, do our job, and perpetuate the cycle. Most of us live a boring life, and we do it by choice.
Because boring is safe, and safe is comfortable.
It’s Easier to Ask for Forgiveness Than for Permission
“It’s better to be sorry than safe.”
According to Seth Godin, everyone’s favorite baldheaded blogger and author, safety sucks. In his most recent book, The Icarus Deception, Seth pushes readers to step outside their comfort zone in order to fully understand their place in an inconsistent world. Because beyond your afternoon meetings and key performance metrics lies the connection economy. A place where it’s better to be sorry than safe; where rules and regulations cease to exist. It’s where people like you and I go when we want to create something of significance. Something that changes the world, ever so slightly, and reminds us that we’re more than performance evaluations and productivity reports.
It’s where ideas become art.
Unlock Your Inner Artists
I’m writing this blog, not because I love Seth Godin (although I do… just in case he’s reading this), but because I truly believe what he’s trying to say. Ever since the industrial revolution, people have pushed aside their need to create in order to consume. As employees, we’ve been been taught to color inside the lines, keep our heads down, and do what we’re told. We’ve learned how to be safe.
The thing is, machines are designed to be safe. Our brains are hardwired to be creative.
In Godin’s connection economy, it’s the artist who is embraced, rather than the administrator. Because the artist embodies everything we’ve been told to suppress. She’s disorganized and messy, incoherent and clumsy. She’s unstable, insatiable, and unpredictable.
And we all want to be just like her.
The artist isn’t afraid to be sorry. She doesn’t want to be safe. She wants to be just the opposite.
The opposite of safe isn’t dangerous. The opposite of safe is creative.
We all have the opportunity to be artists. In fact, we all are artists. Most of us are just too scared to pick up the brush and make the first stroke. That would mean letting go of safe and opening ourselves up to… anything. Everything.
And yes, it might hurt. It might leave you feeling vulnerable and weak, self-conscious and afraid. But that’s exactly when you have the most chance of making a difference.
Pain isn’t a sign of failure – it’s simply a way of letting you know that you’re doing something. It’s when you become numb that you need to worry.
Numb is safe. Wouldn’t you rather be sorry?