How to Become a Less Risk-Averse Person?

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How to Become a Less Risk-Averse Person?
Anneke Zwart, Student (University), Netherlands

In today’s dynamic and ever-changing economy (world), the times of having a secured job for the rest of your life are past. All of us are now in a situation in which time will give us many points at which we need to make choices that will influence our life and career path.
Living a safe life does not mean to do the things the way they’ve always been done anymore. Actually, doing nothing in today's times of uncertainty could actually be more risky than not taking chances at all. Risk-taking is more and more a critical factor for success.
But not all people are natural-born risk-takers. And there are many factors that influence the degree to which we are taking risks and are acting rational or irrational. Past experiences, emotional histories and cultural factors all play a role.
Giang (2017) describes ways to make yourself more at ease with taking risks. According to her, you can control (to a certain extent) the psychological responses that hinder you from taking chances by overcoming some of the psychological issues:
  1. SILENCE THE MIND: This refers to training methods that learns one to focus on the present. Those techniques can help you to prevent rethinking your mistakes and worries (brain chatter). Living a healthy lifestyle and being mindful are said to control and lower (among others) adrenaline and cortisol levels, which in turn reduce the amount of stress you perceive with taking risks.
  2. ENGAGE THE UNCONSCIOUS MIND: Many agree that a large part of our mental activity is unconscious. You should take the time to let your subconscious mind become active through napping, resting or even adopting a persona.
  3. REMOVE CATASTROPHIC THINKING: one of the greatest challenges is to conquer bad memories with previously taken risks. Most of this type of thinking originates from the fear of being out of control; of being afraid of what’s coming next. It may help to think about possible positive outcomes, but also to write down bad irrational thoughts and to reflect on those thoughts. Summing up all worst-case scenarios might make you feel more in control over the situation.
Above techniques are by no means an attempt to say that one should take every possible risk that passes. Rather they are about training your brain to be better able to deal with uncertainty and risky situations. They can be helpful to constantly remind yourself of the fact that risk-taking nowadays is needed to progress, to innovate.

⇒ What is your opinion about this idea that risk-taking is necessary for your success in business and in your personal life?
Source: Giang, Vivian (2017), “You can Teach Yourself to be a Risk Taker”, BBC Capital


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