Playing it Safe

For many of us, it is scary to stand out and be in the spotlight, because amongst the spotlight is ample opportunity to fail. However where ever there is opportunity to fail, there is equal opportunity to succeed. The two potentialities are present together in every situation. You always have the chance to do the most opportune thing, but equally have the opportunity to fail miserably.

Ever said something to someone and thought to yourself, “I couldn’t have said that any better.” Or perhaps on occasion, “that was the worst possible thing I could have said, anything else would have been better.”

I’m sure you have, because we all have at some point or another.

The funny thing is though that both of these possible outcomes are present at any given moment, as well as everything in between. You may either knock it out of the park or totally strike out.

Perhaps the contrast of both outcomes is what makes us appreciate the more favorable outcome so much, and helps to build the value of having things go in our favor.

Although this reality may be daunting to some, and cause them to be reluctant in certain situations to even try, however this uncertainty is this part of the beauty of the world. It is unknown and unpredictable. This unknown nature of the world makes it that much more exciting, and what creates such great highs, but it is equally what creates such hard lows.

Not knowing the outcome of a sporting event is the whole reason people tune in to watch it. If it is predicted to be a landslide in favor of one team, then you can bet there will be far less people in attendance.

Same with life, we all showed up to observe and participate in the outcome. It is not a series of determined events, but rather an obscene amount of randomness strung together by the actions of all of us. Even the largest events that seem rooted in history and unchangeable, even if we were to relive the past a thousand times, are not absolute, they could have happened differently according to the choices of the participants, and have be written differently in the history books.

If analyzed too acutely, one can become paralyzed by the monumental effect each and every action plays in their life. The choice to choose one group of friends over another, or to play sports or play the guitar all change the course of your life, whether in subtle or wildly dramatic ways.

However what Elliott Smith is saying in this quote is that not matter what you choose, choose it boldly and full heartedly.

There is nothing worse than going 3/4 of the way.

So many talented people hold back from giving it 100% because once you are all in and give it your full effort you are vulnerable. The excuse that you did not give it your all is no longer available. It is apparent to your observers that you have given it everything you have and now up to their discretion whether it was good enough or not. Or at least that is how it feels.

However it is this fear of others opinions that holds so many of us back. Very few people want to be the person that tries their hardest and fails, and has no excuse as to why they did not succeed. At least if you only gave it three quarters of your effort you can say that you didn’t really try.

Your biggest dreams exist on the other side of your biggest fears.

Every successful person that others admire has went head on with their biggest fears at some point or another, and often is why so many of us admire them. Because at some level we recognize that they have faced their fears, and we admire that about them, and wish it for ourselves.

They attacked something that they did not have a guaranteed outcome, but they went full steam none-the-less.

Now in this present moment they get to stand in disbelief at what their life has become, since the unknown masked the potential outcome that was to unfold from their actions in the face of fear.

The universe only wants to give you what it absolutely knows you want, and anything you really want is worth facing some fear and uncomfort for.