@NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via flickr
Yes, safety matters. We don’t want to lose an arm or drown or get chewed out by our boss or co-worker. So we determine a boundary between what’s safe and not safe and work within it. But between that boundary is another one: the boundary of comfort. We work within our comfort zone that exists inside our safety zone. Cross the safety boundary, you will likely die. Cross the comfort boundary: and this is where you grow.
It’s where you discover that the world isn’t flat and that you won’t explode if you drive more than 35mph.
But what if…what if that safety boundary has shifted? What if – without us knowing it – what we thought was unsafe behavior now isn’t? The outer circle (safety) is bigger, and the distance between its boundary and that of our inner circle (comfort) is more vast. It’s now too uncomfortable to find out what’s beyond that horizon or what would happen if we accelerate to 36mph.
Compared to how life was centuries (even decades) ago, our physical safety is much better protected. But our perspective on what’s safe and what’s not has been distorted and manipulated. It’s why I see people so quiet in meetings and unwilling to speak up even if they don’t have the answer.
It’s why I’m quiet when I know that I shouldn’t be.
Yes, safety matters. For God’s sake, don’t lose an arm. But the paradox is that you have to risk and live like you could lose one. And most of the decisions we make in the course of a day, the perspectives that we stand in, the beliefs that we have, don’t threaten our limbs.