Monday, 25 September 2017

Risk averse

I'm a decidedly risk-averse person. I seldom take really major risks, and when I do it's often on Jenny's prompting, as she's much more of a risk-taker than me. As it is, even ordinary everyday errands can make me nervous.

Men are supposed to be good at taking risks, but that doesn't apply to me. I guess I'm too afraid of failure, too afraid of everything going pear-shaped and me feeling like a total idiot.

But I've taken big risks in my life from time to time. Especially with property. I've taken a chance with biggish mortgages and managed to keep paying them. Jenny and I bought an expensive flat without getting a surveyor's report and luckily it turned out to be structurally sound.

I guess the biggest risk I took was moving from London to Northern Ireland with Jenny. We both gave up our existing jobs, confident we'd soon find new ones. It took us longer than we thought (and Jenny decided to do a PhD in the meantime), but we both eventually found excellent jobs.

Of course relationships and friendships can involve risk-taking, something we tend to overlook. I gambled on a future with Jenny and the gamble paid off. I've gambled a few times on what seemed like solid friendships, only to see them inexplicably melt away.

When I do take major risks, it's for a good reason. To better myself, to enrich my life, to get out of a rut, to have some long-term security. I'd never take risks just for the hell of it - things like rock-climbing, bungee-jumping, slot machines, or betting on election results. I guess some people like the sheer adrenalin rush of extreme risk.

I think the biggest risk I could take would be a life-or-death operation - one that could either save my life or kill me. I think I'd take my chance and hope for the best.

31 comments:

John Gray said...

95 % of spinal injury patients ( car accidents , extreme sports, biking, diving etc) are men....young men

Jenny Woolf said...

I don't see the point of taking risks just for the hell of it, but when a big choice is to be made, I find the heart generally rules the head.

CheerfulMonk said...

I'm not much of a risk taker either, and so far things have worked well for us.

Dave Martin said...

When I was younger I took many risks - piloting a fast motorcycle around the country roads at warp factor five gives a rush no theme park ride can come close to. They say you never feel more alive than when you're close to death, and unless you've been there you won't get it.
The closest I've been to risk taking recently was when I put a tenner on McGregor to beat Mayweather last month.
I know what you mean about seemingly solid friendships inexplicably melting away - it's happened a few times, including the guy who was my best man when I got married. I guess some people just change and move on.

Nick said...

John: Some young men take ridiculous risks. Here in Northern Ireland there are regular deaths and serious injuries due to drink-driving.

Jenny: I think that's right. If your heart really wants something, you'll go for it whatever the risk.

Jean: Me too. Life has worked out surprisingly well despite my engrained cautiousness.

Nick said...

Dave: I'll take your word for the close-to-death feeling. I don't think I've ever done anything that dangerous.

And yes, it's weird when apparent close friends just cut the cord for no obvious reason. As you say, they're probably changing direction and they suddenly decide you're not on their wavelength any more.

Anonymous said...

Before I got my kids I made a parachute jump together with my husband. It was thrilling and I loved it. When I was a child we crossed part of the Namib
desert which was an
unforgettable but probably quite dangerous thing. As a child it was considered to be an adventure. When I came back to Europe I travelled a lot , mostly alone , roamed at night in unknown cities and know now that this must have been a bit risky. We give our children a quite protected education, but when they will be older they should choose their own way of life. I have a good friend
whose son is a guy who jumps from house tops to house tops, do not how you call this in English, his parents are scared to death, but he loves it. So that's life.
Mia

Nick said...

Mia: Sounds like you've done plenty of risky things. And no doubt they were a lot of fun despite the risk. I think jumping between housetops is just called roof-jumping. I'm sure it's incredibly dangerous. If I were his parents, I'd be scared to death too.

Bijoux said...

I'm not interested in physical risk taking, but I always jump right in to relationships and have very rarely been sorry.

Anonymous said...

When I met my husband he practised cliff diving in Portugal. I assisted several times. It's spectacular and beautiful . I asked him cliff diving or me no other alternative. He made his choice and now as a father he would never try it again.Roof jumping is really dangerous.
Mia

Nick said...

Bijoux: That's good to know. You must have the knack of keeping things going.

Mia: I suppose that choice was risky in itself. He might have said he couldn't give up cliff diving!

Anonymous said...

Well I tried my best and love was the winner.
Mia

tammy j said...

I personally have always lived a small quiet life I think.
I married a man who flew his own plane. he worked for awhile as a corporate pilot for a very rich spoiled young man.
I guess I rubbed off on bob (my husband) because one night at nearly midnight the man called and wanted bob to fly him to Chicago. he wanted to go "clubbing"... is that what they call it there? drinking.
it was in the midst of a huge thunderstorm. no night to be out much less in the air!
bob refused him. the rich guy fired him that night.
thank GOD!
sometimes you just have to use the brains you were hopefully born with!
risk taking has always seemed stupid to me if it involves the loss of your life and others! your risks seem like good ones nick. at least they have turned out that way for you!

Wisewebwoman said...

I'm an intuitive so I don't really understand "risk". I'm not a gambler and as I age I've been forced to curtail on the more extreme physical stuff I enjoyed.

I've had my heart broken and not just by partners but that hasn't stopped me opening my heart to new friends, even virtual friends.
I don't see things/others/events as risks, I guess.

XO
WWW

Nick said...

Tammy: A very sensible decision not to fly through a thunderstorm. Better to be fired than killed because of a stupid, unnecessary trip. And yes, we call it "clubbing"as well. As you say, people may be taking risks not just with their own lives but other people's.

Nick said...

www: This is it, we don't really see relationships and friendships as risky, but they are - emotionally at any rate. I guess you've never done anything that's blatantly risky like bungee-jumping or sky-diving. Another thing I avoid is climbing ladders, especially if there's nobody at the bottom to steady them.

Helen Devries said...

Why take physical risks...there are enough emotional ones with which to cope.
People were telling us we were brave to move to France...and foolhardy to move to Costa Rica.... but we had done our homework and went with eyes open. In both cases, had we not liked it we could have moved again...

joared said...

Life itself is a risk with most choices we make. Interesting how people can view risks differently -- what's a risk for one might not be considered such by another. Some of those sporting activities people do just to challenge their body limits have never appealed to me as they seem rather meaningless. But I suppose some individuals do derive some benefit that matters to them. The concept of exploring intrigues me but I've never done so in a major way.

Nick said...

Helen: Funny that, when Jenny and I moved to Northern Ireland a lot of people thought we were mad. What, leave London and our secure jobs, our valuable flat, all the fabulous culture etc? But we haven't missed any of it!

Nick said...

Joared: True, people have very different ideas of what's risky and what isn't. And some risks we just have to take so we get used to them - like the risks of driving (though my father and sister never learned to drive).

Yes, re the extreme sports, I guess some people like to test their bodies to the maximum, just to see what they're capable of. Their loved ones must be terrified they'll come a cropper one day.

kylie said...

I don't do physical risks but I do relationship risks really well. With mixed results.
One of those lost friends was mine, too, I suspect. It ended for me when we had a disagreement and it was painful but life goes that way.

Nick said...

Kylie: Well, we're still friends despite a few heated quarrels along the way!

kylie said...

i think it was only one.

Ms Scarlet said...

I think I have become risk averse, too.... I was nearly killed yesterday by a white van whilst walking my dog along a narrow country lane. I had to press myself into the Devon bank to avoid being run over. Perhaps I should have stood my ground in the middle of the lane... something to consider for next time I'm up against a white van.
Sx

Nick said...

Kylie: I think it was more than one. But we battled through!

Scarlet: My Welsh blogmate John Gray has had similar experiences. Narrow country lanes are very hazardous, especially when reckless motorists hurtle along them at 50 mph.

BrightenedBoy said...

I, too, have never understood the thrill in risk-taking. Gambling holds no appeal to me; I don't even buy lottery tickets. If anything I've been a little TOO risk averse, and it's something I've worked on improving in recent years (I think my jump up to this current job probably qualifies as taking a risk).

Nick said...

I think the change to your present job in the Arctic certainly qualifies as risk-taking! Quite a big shift from what you were doing previously. I bought two lottery tickets when the British lottery started and I haven't bought one since. It's sad to see people buying tickets week after week and just throwing money down the drain.

Rummuser said...

Given a choice, I think that all of us are risk averse most of the time. We take risks usually only when we are left with no choice.

I have taken some big risks and only one which I keep going back on, to wonder whether was right or wrong at that time.

I am at the stage of life when I don't need to take risks but I am often told by my children and other well wishers that for me even taking a shower is a risky proposition!

Nick said...

Ramana: I think some people are addicted to risk. They like the challenge of doing something super-risky, something the rest of us would keep well away from. But I agree that sometimes we have no option but to take a risk to move our life forward. Like getting a mortgage or quitting a well-paid but tedious and stressful job.

Hattie said...

I have made big impulsive decisions in the past, and they have paid off. But they were followed by dogged work, of course.

Nick said...

Hattie: Several times I've decided to quit a job that didn't suit me, assuming I would soon find a better one. That has always proved to be the case, though it sometimes took longer than I thought it would.

Yes, impulsive decisions might be the right ones, but they may need a lot of work to turn them into a success.