I & Turtle – Why you shouldn’t play safe

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I always want to play safe in life, without taking a risk. Just like everyone.

Lately, I realized that something was wrong.

Did I tell you that I’m a beach volleyball player? Whenever I put my bare feet on beach sand, I seek for a volleyball. It’s not easy, especially when the sand is wet and loose. It takes no time to stumble on shore. You hurt your knees, elbows and (when not properly stumbled) nose. So, beach volleyball is always good until you stumble.

I was playing a match last Saturday with my friends. It was going great until I stumbled. I hit my right knee to a pebble. I walked out and laid myself on shore watching the sunset. I do that whenever I’m hurt. I walk out of the game. I play no more.

The pain was horrible but soon I diverted it by staring at the four turtles walking towards the sea. One was so close to me. I placed my palm on its shell to draw it close as I love little turtles, but to my surprise, it immediately shrunk into the shell. Its head and limbs disappeared. What remained is just a shell, like a rugby ball.

I remember reading Turtles retract their heads and limbs into shells when they are scared or feel vulnerable. It took a minute for it to come out of its shell.

I touched it, and it shrunk again. It was fun. I repeated. The other three turtles were walking towards the sea, but the turtle at my hand lags behind.

I wondered what if I keep touching it all night. It will always remain in its shell, safe. Thus, it will never reach the sea. Isn’t it?

This bothered me, like really.

While the other turtles already swam into the sea. This little one lags behind forever if it chooses safety. There should come a point where this turtle should stop retracting into its shell and start walking towards the sea. Only then can it succeed.

Either I should stop bothering it or it should dare to walk. But bothering doesn’t end. If not me, then someone else, or something else. There’s always a threat to this turtle as long as it is out of its shell. The only way for it to reach the sea is to dare. Come out of the shell, and walk.

Hell! I was just like that turtle. My friends always asked me to keep playing though I stumble again and again. They want me to come out of my shell. But, whenever I stumble I get into my shell, my comfort zone. Because I’m afraid of hurting myself again.

Life always bothers you, in all ways, always. If I hide inside my shell, I remain in it forever.

Then, how’d I move? How’d I reach the sea which I’m supposed to?

WAIT, now that I stumbled, I walked out of the game. I’m resting on the shore, in my comfort zone. My idiot self asked me, What if I choose comfort instead? It’s like what if the turtle says to me I don’t choose sea, I choose shell. Now, what’s your problem?

That’s really another question. Because choosing a comfort zone is a personal choice. Just because the other turtles are walking, it doesn’t mean that this cowardice turtle should walk and not hide. Yes, what’s wrong if I play safe?

I heard my friend calling me. I turned around.

My friends stopped playing. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

“The game stops, without a player,” my friend replied.

That hit me. The game stops. As long as I hide inside my comfort zone, the game has to pause. Like the turtle’s journey stops as long as it remains in its shell. Choosing comfort is not a problem, but choosing comfort always is.

The real risk is when you don’t take any risk—when you play safe. Because then, you hibernate, and all of your life, all of your game pauses.

Pausing life is a bad idea because time never pauses. It passes, it doesn’t give a damn whether you’re hurt, or not. The sun was setting, the clouds were turning dark. They didn’t care about the little turtle beside my hand.

So, playing safe is like not playing at all. When you play safe, it only means that you are pausing the game.

But, remember that, someday the sun will set.

Come out of your shells, walk to your sea before it happens.


Think about it

Share it with those who play safe and are afraid to step out of their comfort zones. Help your self. Help others.