It Is Better to Be Sorry Than Safe

No one ever aspires to be boring. Boring doesn’t change the world or disrupt the status quo. Boring stands in line, does what it’s told, and accepts its lot in life.

Boring is safe, not sorry.

If you haven’t read Seth Godin‘s latest book, The Icarus Deceptionyou really should. Like all Godin narratives, The Icarus Deception looks at innovation outside of the comfort zone. Because beyond the doldrums of office work and the age of industrialization lies the connection economy. A place where it’s better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. Located just beyond your comfort zone, the connection economy beckons to people who balk at boring. As Godin says:

The connection economy rewards the leader, the initiator, the rebel.

The connection economy embraces the artist rather than the administrator. Because the artist isn’t organized. He isn’t regimented or regulated – half the time his socks don’t match and he can’t find his keys. The artist is difficult to contain, define, or predict.

But a part of us always wants to be just like him.

It’s this disruptive nature that has enabled the artist to maintain his romanticized position in our society. It’s why, deep down, we all want to be artists.

But being an artist means letting go of safe, and spiralling head-first into sorry.

The Opposite of Safe…

…isn’t dangerous.

Anyone can colour in the lines and follow an instruction manual. We can check off boxes on a to-do list and strive to meet key performance indicators. We’re all conditioned to follow life according to plan.

But that’s not how life was intended to be lived. You’re not supposed to punch the clock and bide your time. You’re not supposed to aspire to be boring.

But boring is safe. And safe is comfortable. Why change what you’re doing when it gets the job done?

The artist isn’t safe. He’s messy, confused, and hard to tie down. He does what he wants, answers to know one, and expresses his ideas. He does what you long to do – he creates. And while his work may be impossible to fully understand, that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable.

The opposite of safe is creative.

We’re All Artists

When was the last time you created something? Really created something? Remember how it made you feel? Like you made a mark on your world, however small it might have been.

Your brain is hardwired to be creative. Machines are designed to be safe.

Everyone has the opportunity to be an artist. All it involves is letting go of safe and stepping outside your comfort zone. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. It will hurt – you’ll be vulnerable and susceptible to failure. You’ll be scared. But that’s exactly when you have the most chance of making a difference.

And that’s a good kind of pain.

Because when you feel something, it’s because you’re doing something. When you’re numb is when you need to worry. Numb is safe.

Isn’t it time you started being sorry?

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