Scary but not dangerous

If you were one of the 500+ people who came to Yellowship last week, thank you for the wonderful time. We discussed a lot. I’ll be sharing learnings from the event for years to come.

For starters, I found Guy Raz’s distinction between scary but not dangerous and dangerous but not scary to be helpful. He said, “There are plenty of things in life that are scary but not dangerous, and there are plenty of things in life that are dangerous but not scary.”

Guy learned this lesson from Jim Koch, the founder of Samuel Adams Brewery. When Jim was debating whether to leave his comfortable and convenient job to start a microbrewery, he realized the decision was scary but not dangerous. In other words, it would be frightening to start and grow a business, but it wouldn’t put him in harm’s way. If he planned and prepared as best he could, he would be fine. At the same time, Jim saw that  staying in a job that didn’t inspire and motivate him was dangerous but not scary, because it would eat away at his vitality over time. So Jim made the leap and started Samuel Adams.

Here’s what I learned from this story:

  • Recognize the scary but not dangerous things in life and be more open to them
  • Assess your life for dangerous but not scary things and address them

Everybody sees the world differently and has different circumstances. For Jim, scary but not dangerous meant starting a business, and dangerous but not scary meant staying in a humdrum career. For you, these terms will have their own meanings and implications.

The trick is to understand your difference between scary and dangerous. Once you know that, you can use these distinctions to evaluate your options—ideally with a clearer perspective.

Have a great week,


P.S. If you attended Yellowship and had a favorite takeaway, I would love to hear it. Shoot me an email at!

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