How Much Risk Makes You Uncomfortable?

Over the course of a lifetime, we all encounter extreme levels of risk at some point. What level of risk makes you uncomfortable?

Risk is all around us.

Sometimes, it is physical. Perhaps you enjoy the high speeds and twisty turns of a roller coaster. Or maybe jumping out of an airplane is on your bucket list.

Another kind of risk is financial. Taking on a large debt, like a mortgage or a student loan, can be daunting. Putting your money in the stock market, where you might lose it, may seem dangerous to some.

There are also other, more abstract, kinds of risk. Asking out someone, with the possibility of being rejected. Leaving a job where you are comfortable for one that might be worse.

Apart from these riskier behaviors, we also do small things are potentially bad or dangerous. However, the downside may be so small, we might not even realize the potential harm.

For example, think about eating some tasty, but unhealthy (or fattening) food. Too much of that can put you at risk for heart disease, not to mention obesity and the many health problems that come with it.

Or maybe you buy the occasional lottery ticket. A few bucks, even if you are unlikely to win, might seem like a gamble you are willing to take for the possibility of a big payout.

Most people probably find a threshold of risk somewhere between these extremes. Not everyone is comfortable with, say, rock climbing. But most people are willing to climb over a few boulders when out for a hike.

What do you find an acceptable level of risk? Has it changed over time, and if so, how? Is your comfort level different for you than it is for a loved one, like a child or an aging parent? Have you forced yourself to take risks that you weren’t comfortable with, because of a potential reward?

Related questions: How do you evaluate risk? When did you last push the boundaries of your comfort zone? What is uncomfortable but rewarding? What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?