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?

What Is The Value Of Boredom?

Most of us will go to great lengths to avoid boredom for even a moment. But is there a benefit to being bored?

Let’s face it, it is no fun to be bored. In our culture that is so focused on being productive, having down time when you are not doing anything can seem like a colossal waste of time.

Technology to the rescue! With our smartphones, while waiting in line, for example, you can check your email, or scroll through your social media feed. Of course, you don’t have to be technologically savvy to avoid boredom. You can just as easily carry a book with you wherever you go.

While smartphones don’t have a monopoly on avoiding boredom, they make it very easy. The entire internet is available with the touch of a button. That’s never been true in human history before, and it shouldn’t be ignored. If we don’t want to be alone with our own thoughts, we don’t have to be.

However, is there actually an upside to boredom? Even though it feels unproductive and almost painful at times, could there be a benefit in being alone with your own thoughts?

It certainly seems possible. Many people find value in meditation, to improve mental health among other benefits. For some, meditation is actively doing nothing. No phone, no speaking. No activity, other than breathing. The goal is to be comfortable with doing nothing.

In addition, creativity is enhanced through boredom. Mothers everywhere know that children, when bored, find creative ways to entertain themselves.

What other positives might there be to being bored? Should we actively seek out boredom, at least once and awhile?

Related questions: When is it useful to fail? What is the value of inefficiency? Are we too busy? What do you think about when out for a walk?

How Do You Bridge A Divide?

As our society becomes more polarized, finding common ground can be difficult. For two people bitterly divided, how can they bridge the gap between them?

At times, it can feel like there is more dividing us than there is uniting us. Whether it is politics, religion, gender, age, income, skin color, or any number of other differences, the distance between two people can seem like a chasm.

And yet, there is a need for two people to bridge that distance and talk, no matter how far apart they might be. Doing so might be necessary to build a working relationship at a job. It might mean a harmonious atmosphere at a family dinner table. It may even lead to a political committee with adversaries accomplishing meaningful change.

Of course, finding common ground is easier said than done. What are the elements necessary for two people who disagree, perhaps even strongly, to build a bridge between their two viewpoints? Particularly if the environment they are in encourages or rewards polarization and divisiveness?

How do you bridge a divide between two people who are far apart in several different ways, and have little in common? After all, each one of us may find ourselves in such a situation.

Related questions: How can we encourage meaningful conversation? What is necessary to change your mind? How can you love someone who does something you hate? Why are we so divided?

Why Do Some People Like To Be Scared?

From scary movies to extreme roller coasters, some people enjoy being scared. But why? What is appealing about being frightened?

Halloween has some traditions that are fun, but there are also some that are legitimately scary. While some costumes, for example, are pop-culture references, or animals. Others though, are intended to be legitimately frightening, like zombies or vampires.

Some people actually enjoy being scared. Horror movies are often quite successful at the box office, for instance. Similarly, in the days and weeks leading up to Halloween, haunted houses, with jump scares and fake blood, have long lines.

Why should this be? Most people spend their lives trying to avoid fear, or at least trying to be comfortable. They might move away from a neighborhood that has a lot of crime, or carry a flashlight on a dark road.

So then, why court fear? What is it about being scared that is so enjoyable?

Perhaps it is a matter of facing your fears so that they no longer have a hold over you. Maybe some enjoy the adrenaline rush that accompanies a jump scare. Perhaps there is some subtle difference between a truly scary situation, and one that is only imagined or acted out.

Do you have any theories on why fear plays a big role in the lives of some people? Are you one of those people? If so, what do you get out of the act of being frightened?

Related questions: What is your favorite scary movie? Are you scared of the dark? What is your favorite holiday? Vampires or zombies? Trick or treat?

 

What Are Your Vices?

Knowing the challenges and obstacles you face is necessary for preparing yourself to face them. With that in mind, what are your vices?

While the classic seven deadly sins — greed, envy, sloth, pride, gluttony, lust, and wrath — are a good place to start in considering potential vices, it is far from an exhaustive list.

And it is not even clear that they are all vices. Why shouldn’t I be proud, say, of a hard-won accomplishment? And just what is sloth, anyway?

This is not, however, to discount from legitimate vices. There are certain behaviors and habits that can be quite destructive in any number of ways. If you find you can’t resist some habitual behavior — playing video games at the expense of everything else, for example, or drinking to excess, or gambling money you can’t afford to lose — that could be the sign of a problem.

With some amount of introspection, you can probably think of some parts of your life that you wish you could change. It might be as simple as being habitually late, or as complex as addictive behavior.

One thing to avoid, however, is letting others define your vices for you. What someone else thinks of as a vice might turn out to be a virtue for you, in the end. If you feel strongly that something is right for you even though others disagree, it may not, indeed, be a real vice.

In the end, it is important to understand and be realistic about yourself, including both your good and bad points. Knowing certain activities lead you to bad decisions can help you avoid those activities. It might be uncomfortable, at times, but probing and defining your own weaknesses can ultimately make you stronger.

Related questions: What is your weakness? When is it useful to fail? What do you do that you shouldn’t? What is uncomfortable but rewarding?