Avoiding risk can be risky

Risk is everywhere

Risk is everywhere. Choice A is risky. Choice B is risky.

In our efforts to avoid a risk or sense of risk by having to choose either A or B, we often avoid choosing either (which is itself a choice), there by incurring an even bigger risk.


We often choose to avoid a short-term risk at the expense of a longer-term bigger risk

As an example to illustrate a related principle, to avoid the nearer term risk of upsetting your spouse by informing him or her you'll be an hour late getting home, you incur the delayed risk of a bigger upset when you come home an hour later without having told them in advance.


We avoid the risk of learning something that invalidates what we believe

and thereby incur the bigger risk of acting on beliefs that are inaccurate or incomplete

To avoid the risk of being upset with yourself because you might learn that what you have believed for a long time is not true, you avoid questioning your belief or looking for evidence that it might not be true. Thereby you incur a bigger risk of acting on a belief which is not true.

The dangers of avoiding risks can be deadly

We're often blind to the risks of "defense" 

Statisticians calculated that Americans, in order to avoid the risk of dying in an airline incident in the year following 9/11, incurred an additional 1600 deaths through automobile accidents that would not have occurred if those Americans had continued to fly as they had before 9/11.


My sister was trying to defend herself from "ignorant" doctors

My sister, who was much more devoted to intensive research and action in maintaining her health than I was/am, died at age 73. For several years she had an issue with an elevated heart rate that she tried to address with many "natural health" approaches. Last year, when she and her husband did not know anything more to do about an acute condition that developed, she was rushed to the hospital. She was operated on for appendicitis, which was discovered to have been chronic for many years. As she was recovering at home, she suffered a stroke and died soon afterwards.

I strongly suspect that if she had gotten some medical tests done to check out her elevated heart rate when it first started to occur, she would have discovered her chronic appendicitis earlier and it would not have become deadly.

But my sister considered medical doctors to be dangerous (and I agree, they can be very dangerous...most people are not wary enough of their methodologies and the limitations of their belief paradigm). But in her efforts to avoid the risks of making use of the medical approach (if only to get some tests done), she ended up dying.

Avoiding risk can be risky!