Ok, so how about something from a photo teacher's perspective. If I told a student to stop playing it safe, I would mean stop doing what is obviously comfortable. If you like still life, maybe you should try street photography. Maybe use a different format or process. By doing still lifes over and over, you will get into a rut difficult to get out of. Perhaps you are the greatest still life photog that ever existed. Great. Good for you. But don't you have any other facets to show us?

What I do NOT want to see are photos that look like someone has followed some "plan" designed to please me. Surprise me instead. Make me see things YOUR way, from your unique perspective. I can't imagine any decent instructor who wants to see entire classes of "mini-me's". Additionally, "stop playing it safe" could be a open ended comment designed to make you think/meditate/ponder/reconsider a little about what you are shooting. A teacher's job is to guide you to directions you may not be aware of yet.... To urge you off the beaten path and into unknown territory where you can be fully expressive of the MANY aspects of your art instead of only one or two.

...... That will be 2 cents, please.....