Here’s how to tread the line between a worthy venture & a reckless gamble.
from UK Men’s Health.com 12 Dec 12 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
As men, we are hard-wired to take the occasional valiant (or downright necessary) punt. But for every risk that pays off, somebody somewhere is coming a cropper. Some 8,000 British men are killed in accidents every year, mainly in falls & transport accidents. More than twice as many men die on the roads compared with women. What else?
1. High Loss. Men also make up 95% of deaths caused by workplace injuries and are also, overwhelmingly, the likely victims when it comes to drowning, drug misuse, cycling accidents & alcohol abuse.
2. Easily Tempted. Few men are immune to impulsive or sensation-seeking behaviour. As far as your brain is concerned, the positive impact of a reward outweighs the impact of an equivalent loss. This is why, when faced with a promiscuous woman, a cool lake on a hot day or indeed a 500cc motorcycle,
3. Go for it, is standard operating procedure – which is fine every now & again, of course. But another error of the reward-seeking brain is that . . .
4. Risk Reward, when risks pay off, their riskiness is diminished in your mind. So the recklessness continues or even accelerates.
5. Take a Risk, but the point is not that you should morph into Captain Sensible every time there’s a tough call to make. It’s simply that risky behaviour is just that, and men frequently make wrong decisions when assessing risks – sometimes for the opposite reasons. There are plenty of examples where we . . .
6. Over-estimate the Risk in something and come to harm by taking the ‘safe’ option.
Examples: Ten years ago there was a spike in US road deaths when, in the wake of 9/11, Americans mistakenly thought it was safer to drive than fly. Likewise, an obese man may think the overexertion of going for a run could kill him, when really the bigger risk is to stay rooted to the sofa. Often, the thing that seems risky is anything but. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”. The secret is to judge which risks are worth taking – and that’s where these six safety checks come in. How?
1 Improve decision making, by making fewer decisions. Your judgment is dulled by a phenomenon called ‘decision fatigue’. Go autopilot and install habits into your exercise, work, & morning routine. Then your brain will be better equipped to assess risk & make smart calls.
2 Ask these questions. Will it hurt? Would I do this, if my mates were not here? Is it legal? What are the potential long-term consequences? Will it put my job, relationship or finances in jeopardy, along with my limbs? Simply thinking these things through quells the adrenaline that may hurry you into a rash decision.
3 Use your Testosterone. The old-fashioned view is that it makes you competitive and aggressive. In fact, while testosterone does reduce fear, it also increases your threat vigilance and stress resilience. Increase yours with hypertrophy training, team sports & increasing protein, zinc & mono-unsaturated fats in your diet.
4 Know your usual Way. Be aware of the factors that increase your willingness to take risks. Tiredness & stress can dampen your wits – as much as drugs & alcohol. Audiences, particularly female ones, also bring out the performer in you.
5 Take Power. Responsibility naturally douses risk-taking behaviour. If you feel you’re pushing it too hard, too often, focus your energy by taking on extra work, or setting a new training goal.
6 Beware of false Safety measures. Wearing a seat-belt can make drivers more erratic. Researchers at Leicester University also found that rugby players who wear protective gear are more likely to put their bodies on the line in hard tackles. Don’t mistake risk mitigation as a license to be stupid.
Comment: Is there anything you can add to Risk-Taking?