Picture this: you’re standing at the edge of the proverbial cliff of life, toes curling over the brink, heart racing like a caffeinated squirrel. Below you is the unknown, a swirling abyss of “What ifs” and “But maybes.” Behind you? The safe, cozy, oh-so-boring plateau of the Known Universe, where the most exciting event is a bi-weekly game of Bingo with Agnes and her “exotic” prune juice cocktails.

Now, I’m not exactly what you’d call a high roller—my version of living on the edge involves using the “express” lane at the supermarket with one item over the limit, and sweating bullets as I await the cashier’s judgment. But there’s something about the human spirit, a sort of inner wild child, that just can’t stand the monotony of the ultra-safe life. It’s like trying to cage a flamingo in a chicken coop; sure, it’ll survive, but with that much pink and flair, it’s bound to cause a scene or get depressingly plump on corn feed.

The thing is, we’ve become a society obsessed with bubble-wrapping reality. “Better safe than sorry,” we say, as we triple-lock the door, sanitize our hands for the forty-seventh time, and eye the outside world with the suspicion of a cat encountering its first cucumber. It’s as if taking a chance is the modern-day equivalent of challenging a dragon to a duel—exciting in theory, but with a significantly higher chance of getting toasted.

But here’s the kicker: life, in all its messy glory, is the ultimate gamble. Every choice, every chance encounter, is a roll of the dice. And sure, you might end up with the occasional snake eyes, but that’s what makes the game worth playing. You see, when we suffocate our spirit under layers of caution tape, we’re not just avoiding risk; we’re strangling possibility. We’re turning our backs on the very essence of what makes life a grand adventure rather than a series of calculated, safe steps to the grave.

So, how do we break free from the iron grip of the familiar? How do we embrace the chaos with open arms and a cheeky grin? Well, my friends, it starts with a single, terrifying, exhilarating step into the abyss. It’s about saying “yes” when every fiber of your being screams, “Are you out of your cotton-picking mind?!” It’s about dancing in the rain, even if you look like a deranged flamingo doing the tango. It’s about understanding that the greatest risk isn’t failing—it’s never daring to try.

In the grand casino of life, the house might always have the edge, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the game. So, go ahead, place your bets on the underdog, the wild card, the long shot. Because when the stakes involve not just surviving, but truly living, the only real gamble is playing it too safe.

And remember, next time you’re faced with the choice between the devil you know and the devil you don’t, maybe, just maybe, that unknown devil throws one hell of a party.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.