Risk Assessment Thinking Errors and Fear

In our last episode, we spoke about risk assessment and how our brains are slow to develop this important aspect of living. This is one reason human children tend to stay with their parents for so long compared with other mammals – and why teenagers tend to get involved in risky behaviors that sometimes cause long-term damage to them and others.

There is another aspect to risk assessment that maybe gets overlooked. That aspect is fear. When we experience fear, we tend to overestimate danger and risk – sometimes wildly. This overestimate can cause us to be overly cautious, resulting in missed opportunities for education and connection.

In other words, sometimes risk assessed through a lens of fear far outweighs the real and present danger. Perhaps the greatest thinking error involved in risk assessment is to perceive far more danger than there actually is – risk inflated by fear.

“Better safe than sorry…”

Unless – safety results in you feeling sorry… (that you missed an opportunity)

I like safety. It allows me to ease up on my defenses a bit as I feel farther away from danger – risk assessment: lower. Yet, as long as I have fears, I’ll continue to seek out safety at the expense of opportunity – under the belief that “better safe than sorry.”

When assessing danger, it helps to be as objective as you can be. Emotion – usually in the form of stifling or debilitating fear – tends to cloud the senses and dull reason – both of which are necessary to make accurate assessments – creating a condition in which I’ve experienced defensiveness when I was completely safe.

“Better Accurate than Right…”

I’ve noticed that when I feel even a little bit fearful, I tend to exaggerate risk assessment and the defensiveness required to mitigate that assessment. In other words – I overdo defense just to make sure I’m safe. It’s a waste of precious life energy!

We’ve spoken before about the value of grounding. When I STOP what I’m thinking, CONNECT to the earth, and REPORT to myself the actual evidence around me, I tend to lessen the fear and substantially improve the accuracy of my risk assessment.

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