Our damn ancestors have caused us untold problems, so we often play safe. They didn’t mean to do this, and in fact, if they hadn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this now.
Let me explain.
Currently, I am running a programme called Dreams to Reality in 100 days. Each week 12 intrepid explorers, as I call us, come together, and I lead them to achieve their fabulous projects.
Recently, I challenged each member to do a crazy task – which I have indeed completed myself. This task has evoked all manner of emotions.
Cries of not wanting to look stupid, absolute dread, scared of receiving ridicule, anger, rejection, and even physical distress! And this was even before they did the task. They wanted to play safe (No doubt you are wondering what on earth I asked them to do; you’ll have to join my next programme to find out).
Many of us create “horror” stories in our minds about something in the future that hasn’t yet happened. We have no idea of the experience we will have, but generate and play out a whole drama in our heads and make ourselves scared. And it can seem so real! We stop ourselves from taking action and play safe.
Why do we do this?
I was listening to a call with High Achiever Coach Rich Litvin. He was sharing that our worries, anxieties and insecurities are all down to our ancestors. They want us to play safe because they had to.
When he explained, it all made sense.
Centuries back, taking a tiny risk could kill us. Just 100 years ago, we could die from a cut. We needed to play safe. If our ancestors did anything out of the ordinary – such as becoming wealthy and successful, they risked being murdered for their jewels.
In a Ted Talk by Leticia Gasca about failing, she gave examples of how, back in the past, Greek, Italian and French merchants who failed in their business were ridiculed. Examples included being forced to sit in the marketplace with a basket over their heads, bang their naked bottoms against a stone in public, or wear a green bonnet to avoid immediate imprisonment. All to show everyone that they were a failure!.
OK, they didn’t die, but I am sure this would have stifled their risk-taking and creativity.
Further back in time, we needed to scan the horizon for danger. We were not top of the gene pool then. Those people who were curious about the growl coming from the dark cave and walked in are probably not your or my ancestors! I am glad to say there were no grizzly bears in the cave we walked through with one torchlight on our travels.
Insights from the Explorers
After the group on my programme had completed the task, they shared their insights.
Many, as I did, found this task as a game-changer. The experience was far removed from their made-up horror story they, at first, created. No-one received ridicule or anger; in fact, a few had people going out of their way to help.
Since this challenge, I have noticed that some of the group are stepping up in their projects – taking action without hesitation, moving forward at an exponential rate. The perceived fear has gone, and they are no longer afraid of asking and receiving “NO”. (NO means Next One)
Metaphorically, they are now saying to their ancestors, “Thank you for trying to keep me safe – however, I live in a very different world now. I don’t want to play safe; it stifles me, I am now living up to my extra-ordinary self”.
Your feelings don’t know anything about what will happen in the future. The future is an incomplete equation. Even in two hours, do you know exactly what you will be thinking about? No…Unless you have a crystal ball…do you?
Are you playing safe? Is this serving you? When we realise that our feelings are a barometer of our thoughts in the present moment and not a crystal ball for our future, we don’t need to “Play Safe”. Play Full-Out is much more fun.
Hi, I am Lindsey Reed. I love connecting with people and enabling them to remember who they really are, their true selves. Coaching is online, the wonders of technology. If you would like to connect with me, pop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s have a conversation. I look forward to hearing from you.
My book Got It: The Answer to a Confident, Productive & Stress-Free Life is available from Amazon and is now in over 25 countries. It describes how we create our experience of our own reality called life. Through this understanding, we can have a more confident and freeing life.