How Do You Evaluate Risk?

Every day, we must evaluate risk. Our entire lives are a balancing act between what we want, and what we are willing to risk to get it.

As children, we start to learn this lesson. For example, you might want to express yourself by something you say or do or wear. But are you willing to risk being embarrassed in front of other students?

Later on as adults, the risk/reward calculation continues. Maybe you want a better job, that pays more or offers new challenges. So, are you willing to risk leaving your stable, current job?

Sometimes, risky actions are rewarded. You might risk rejection by approaching a romantic interest, but are rewarded with a date. But risk sometimes leads to negative consequences. Maybe your offer of a date gets rebuffed.

As a result, we get used to figuring out: is the reward worth the risk? Can I live with the odds of failure versus the odds of success?

Now, more than ever, we need to perform these internal calculations. Unfortunately, we don’t have much experience in determining the likelihood of contracting the disease. No one does, because this virus is new and unknown.

As some restrictions are loosened, we all must weigh the risks against the reward. For instance, let’s say I want to eat out. Is the seating indoor or outdoor? How close will I be sitting to other customers? Will my server be wearing a mask? Are the kitchens cleaned routinely?

And pretty much all public activity will have to be evaluated in this way. Do I have pre-existing conditions? Am IĀ  likely to end up in the hospitalĀ  — or even die — if I get sick? Similarly, how likely are my loved ones to survive an infection? How badly do I want these groceries, or that paycheck, or to hear that band?

This is something that is going to play a more important part of our lives going forward. How do you evaluate risk?

Related questions: How important is intuition? What is necessary to change your mind? Why are people afraid of death? Freedom or security? What are you willing to sacrifice?

Would You Be Friends With Yourself?

Imagine, for a moment, that there was another person who was exactly like you. They have the same physical characteristics and the same personality. Do you think you would be friends with that person?

As an individual, you possess many traits. Sometimes, these traits are synchronous with other traits you also possess. Other times, they may come into conflict.

For example, let’s say you like movies. If there was another you, both of you would enjoy movies, and even the same movies. The thing you like — movies — makes you compatible.

On the other hand, let’s imagine you have an alpha personality. You might be the natural dominant personality in any situation. However, a second you would also want to be the dominant one, which puts you in conflict with yourself.

In everyday life, sometimes people find themselves attracted to opposites. They like being around people with different backgrounds, or who have different skill sets. Others might like people who look and act just like them.

Which one are you? Do you surround yourself with similar people? Do you think you have a personality that is compatible with itself? Or would some of your traits or behaviors be irksome if they happened in someone else?

Would you be friends with yourself?

Related questions: Why do we like what we like? What makes a friendship? What qualities do you look for in a friend? How do you cheer yourself up?