The older we get, the less willing we are to take risks.
The more money, status, possessions, fame, respect or comfort we accumulate, the more we want to protect those things.
Elon Musk banked $180 million when he sold his share of PayPal to eBay in 2002, and 6 years later it was all on the line with SpaceX. If the fourth launch of the Falcon 1 rocket had failed in 2008, then SpaceX likely would have gone bankrupt.
Elon could not let go of the idea that the future of the human race involves becoming a multi-planetary species, and for him quitting was not an option, even if he lost all of his money in the process of trying.
Norman Cousins, author of Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient, was once quoted as saying:
Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.
What he meant was that losing any of the things we work so hard to accumulate isn’t nearly as important as allowing our ideas and dreams to die with us when we get to the end of our lives.
I also think we can become so comfortable with our group of friends, that we are afraid that reaching for the stars will mean leaving them behind.
That might also be true. But you will find new and better friends, and some of your old friends will be inspired by your example.
At the very least, there will be you, and the work you find the most fulfilling. Isn’t that work taking risks for?