Recently I characterized someone as a pretentious coward. Her offense? When given the choice of restaurants on a recent trip, she chose Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Please let me explain.

I enjoy a good steak as much as anyone from time to time, and I have never been disappointed at Ruth’s Chris. However, my experience at Ruth’s Chris has been painfully consistent (read: boring) regardless of date or location. It’s always the same, and though the food is good and the steak melts in my mouth, there’s no real flair. When I walk in the door, I know what to expect. From that perspective, it’s like the McDonald’s of high end food.

The safe experience led me to categorize it as cowardly; the fact that it’s upscale led me to categorize the cowardly part as pretentious.

Here’s the reason I’m writing about this. When you are faced with choices, how do you make your selection? Do you choose what you know, what’s safe? Or do you step out of your comfort zone and take a chance? From my point of view, the former will leave you satisfied, but the latter might leave you delighted.

Perhaps I was a bit hasty to assign the label of “pretentious coward,” because there are often good reasons to embrace the safe choice. It’s a risk and reward proposition, and only you can determine what works for you. However, as you garner more experience, you’ll be able to make more-educated guesses which can mitigate the risk should you choose to abandon the safe in favor of a new thrill.

One final thought: look around you. The people who make things happen aren’t the ones who stay in their comfort zones, and I’m not talking about restaurants.

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