Wednesday, October 6, 2010

“Safe Is Sorry”

Article about risk aversion and risk taking by the author of “Don’t Miss Your Life.” Some quotes I like below. Read the whole article here.

“In your brain every day the forces of fear and safety are hard at work trying to keep you in your bunker and squelch your craving for novelty, self-determination and freedom, otherwise known as progress. No wonder we get headaches…

The more you take on the unknown, the more inclined you are to venture. Researchers call this reward the ‘exploration bonus.’…

.. we overestimate risk and underestimate the cost of playing it safe...

Case in point: rock climber Sara Lingafelter. .. She had a fear of heights and a fear of falling, issues quite understandable to any flightless land animal. She had no trouble with the indoor climbing walls, but outside, on much higher, less dependable natural rock devoid of obvious grips, that was another matter. ‘I'd find myself in a state of panic,’ she told me. ‘I'd hyperventilate and have to be lowered off the climb and friends would have to retrieve my gear.’

…. But Lingafelter stuck with it, reaching into the fear for months. It wasn't out of masochism but the opposite--a determination that thoughts she knew were irrational wouldn't be allowed to mess up what she liked more than anything else: sharing outdoor adventures with friends in nature.”

And, in a follow-up article, Sara herself talks about her recent experience dealing with fear doing a trad lead in Squamish, BC.. Quite a long discussion in the comments about fear and trust and leading.


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