According to KJ, sometimes you gotta risk it to get what you want.

By Taylyn Washington-Harmon
July 24, 2020

"People like to play it safe—and that's dangerous," the Fatal Affair and Sistas actress KJ Smith tells Health. Smith considers this mantra, which seems to contradict itself, crucial to her habit of taking risks she'd usually be afraid to try. "Taking risks is a chance for growth," Smith says in the video above, adding that the chances of being bad at something or getting rejected are actually opportunities to become stronger and get better.

Riffing on the racial protests happening across the country, Smith believes that the US is currently applying this mantra, not being afraid to play it safe in order to make a change and encourage the world to be a better place. "We're standing up for something that’s right, having risky conversations with our family and friends, and it’s changing the world," says Smith. "Suppose if we hadn’t taken that risk?"

Smith's other favorite mantra is "touch the ground"—literally and figuratively. "When life throws you curveballs, sometimes you just have to go outside, take your shoes off, and literally touch the ground," Smith says. She finds this practice of feeling the earth "centering," helping her meditate and silence her mind, which then changes her entire day.

Smith also "touches" the ground by thinking of experiences that center her, often through nostalgia. This could be talking to a parent of childhood friend, thinking about the smell of a favorite toy, or anything that helps you recall happier times.  Her "touch the ground" activity of choice? Mentoring young kids. "It helps me see a different perspective and to appreciate where I am and what I’m doing."

You can watch the rest of KJ’s mantras in the video above.

To get more inspiring stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter