Stop Playing It Safe


“You see, Siegfried and I are living a modern poem! A fairy tale…and we always want to tell the story of our lives, because it is very glamorous. It’s very eccentric, very colorful.” —Roy Horn

As soon as I got home from my trip to Chicago, a package was waiting in my mailbox. I hadn’t done any shopping while on the road so I was a bit puzzled. Ripping open the envelope, I was met with a softcover book emblazoned with a 90s-era portrait of Siegfried & Roy. It could only be from one person: Gala Darling. The week before, as we sat at the kitchen table in our Chicago rental, she read this interview aloud to me. I was transfixed.

All my life, I’ve been drawn to the eccentrics. Musicians, magicians, animal handlers, you name it. I’m intrigued by the people who aren’t afraid to go all out. There’s something inspiring watching those with a devil may care attitude ignore the status quo of what’s deemed normal to go on and live a life that others only dream of.

I’ve long admired personalities like Marilyn Manson, Michael Jackson, Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Taylor and Boy George. I love people who embrace boldness in their opinions, their personal style and their outlook on life.

When you’re a bit outlandish, people will write you off as weird. Abnormal. Crazy. Kooky. They’ll snicker behind your back. But people like Siegfried & Roy? They got the last laugh as they became the most successful entertainment act in Las Vegas history.

It’s always easier to play it safe and to be normal…but normal is boring.

When I’m at a party and meet someone who’s an eccentric, I immediately gravitate towards them because I know that they’re going to have the best stories. They live full lives because they’re busy gallivanting around on far-flung adventures, not letting the fear of judgement get in their way. The experiences they’re having are much too interesting for them to stop and update their Facebok status with what they had for lunch.

Here’s to the eccentrics, the people that dare to dream a little bigger; that aren’t afraid of what’s around the corner but instead welcome it. We need more of them in the world. Next time, instead of playing it safe, ask yourself how you can go bigger and bolder. If you hold yourself back from who you really are and try to appeal to everyone, you’ll end up appealing to no one.

20 Responses to Stop Playing It Safe

  1. Yes, yes, and YES!

    My favorite quote as of late (written on my whiteboard above my desk where I look at it constantly) is “I’d rather be someone’s shot of whiskey than everyone’s cup of tea”. Yes, it’s a little trite, but the meaning really speaks to me. There’s a lot of freedom in accepting that you’re an individual and not everyone is going to like you, like what you do, or like how you do it. But those who DO like you and your style don’t just like it, they LOVE it.

    I’d rather be authentic and please few than water myself down to be “safe” for many.

    • Shauna says:

      Lesley Myrick: Ah, I LOVE that quote! I’ve always felt like it’s better to have a small, engaged audience who gets it than a huge audience that’s “meh” when it comes to what I do. Your statement of “I’d rather be authentic and please few than water myself down to be “safe” for many” is spot-on.

  2. Happy D says:

    While I love your message about being bold, being you and not settling on boring, I don’t know if I agree with your statement that Seigfried & Roy had the last laugh.

    Roy Horn was attacked by one of his tigers in 2003 during a performance. His recovery is pretty remarkable, despite the injuries he sustained, however, they had to close their show due to this incident.

    It does raise the issue of whether holding wild animals in captivity is a humane thing to do … and if holding wild animals in captivity is part of your persona/branding/you, is it really that bold?

      • Happy D says:

        No, that’s very true. 30 years in the entertainment industry is unheard of.

        I just think the incident was such a sad way to end the run. And I can’t help but get sad to think of wild animals in captivity.

  3. Melinda says:

    And that’s why I’m continuing on my Mid-Century Modern Morticia Addams style for my future place. Didn’t get the townhome (someone out bid us), but I can still find pieces that will work!


    • Shauna says:

      Tamara: What is normal, anyway? We all have quirks and there’s no point in playing them down — they’re precisely what make people so interesting!

  4. Kate says:

    Yes, yes, 1,000 times YES! I love this post and the sentiment at the heart of it.

    I’m in the very early stages of planning my own business and it’s so daunting worrying if people will ‘get’ me and what I’m creating, all while comparing myself with others and what they are doing. Time to stop looking around and focus on being bigger and bolder (while being all business sensible at the same time, obvs!) x

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  6. Christie says:

    Ah what a great post! I find that you meet the best people when you are open to the world and let yourself be you! Normal is boring… being true to yourself and not feeling like you have to do things because they are the norm is so so so much more fun!

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