Your Preoccupation With “Risk” Is Skewed — And Subjective

And it’s ruining your perception for reward

Kris Gage
Kris Gage
Jun 10 · 7 min read

People don’t do things “for the risk”

That’s just not how humans work — even “weird” ones like skydivers.

Our preoccupation with risk destroys our ability to perceive reward

Not just for ourselves, but in the way in which we see the world .

We think being “aware of the risks” is the same as being “smart”

But in fact our pride in this area creates a preoccupation and a subjective lens…

Respect for risk is still important

A lot of people reading this right now are going to be a little irritated or defensive regarding their values on risk, and anxious for me to point out the importance of it. So, fine. Yes. This is me fulfilling that obligation.

“Risk” isn’t inherently “reckless”

Some people suggest — or want to believe — that “risk takers” (as they insist on defining them) either a.) just don’t feel fear (not true) or b.) have some sort of “counter-phobic” neurosis.

Risk is a part of living life!

Here, again, there is a difference in (skewed) perspective and values, because I found many articles where people argued that risk is, like, “totally obsolete” and the need to take it is, like, “so dark ages.”

“Without risky experiences, humanity would stagnate.”

As Marvin Zuckerman wrote in Psychology Today, risk-taking is:

Taking some risk for reward is incredibly important in life

Overall, people do not find “risk-taking” attractive — that’s pretty consistent. But we do appreciate rewards (especially social status and other values.)

This isn’t about skydiving — it’s about life

If you come away from this post thinking “I get it — flying! great! — but I still don’t want to go skydiving,” then you’ve missed the point. If you don’t want to experience the “nothing else like it” sensation of flying, that’s fine.