When someone says…. “Is it safe?”
What does that mean ?
Webster defines safe as;
1. Secure from harm, danger, or evil
2. Free from injury or danger
3. Free from riskEvery one of these definitions are horribly wrong.
When you say to someone, “Yes it is safe”, it is never completely secure or free from injury, risk, or danger.
Completely free from all of these? Are you kidding me?
I think it is interesting that we make decisions about what is “safe” many times a day during our entire lives. It has to be one of the most commonly used words in the English language, yet no 2 people in a conversation share the same meaning of the word in their mind when they are talking.
Is this a safe car?
Is this a safe investment?
Is it safe to go out with him?
Is it safe for my kids to watch this?
Is it safe to surf this beach?
Is it safe to fly on this airplane?
Is it safe to breath?
Is it safe to launch this rocket?
Is it safe to drive to work?
Is it safe to eat this?
Is this a safe partnership?Every one of us everyday decides yes or no to these type of questions without really thinking about it. When we say something is “safe”, it is never completely free from risk or harm. Sometimes not even close.
Why don’t we have an agreed upon definition of a word so important and so widely used in our communication?
I think the definition of safe is;
“The perceived benefits outweigh the perceived risks”And the word “perceived” needs to be in there twice.
Perception of both parties is always different. Usually dramatically different between the minds of 2 different people.
Think about that next time you use the wood SAFE.
Especially in Business.
Got a better definition ?