Am I An Inherent Risk-Taker? Are You?

Recently, I came across a Discovery News piece that explored the biology of taking risks in relation to a Columbia professor’s specific model. And I thought: Am I an inherent risk-taker?

But first, the basics.

According to Elke U. Weber, professor of management and psychology at Columbia University, whether or not someone is adventurous does not particularly land on a rigid “yes” or “no.” Instead, being adventurous lands on a spectrum that constantly changes throughout life, under five categories: financial, health and safety, recreational, ethical, and social. Now, people don’t fall on the same place of the spectrum in all five of these categories—once can be extremely cautious in one area and be adventurous in another.

Weber’s model further delves into the differences in risk-taking by looking at it in terms of gender. While there are obviously exceptions, men generally take more risks, especially with regards to the recreational and financial sector, according to Weber. This comes as a result of society’s pressures in relation to the “culture of honor,” sexuality, and masculinity, though it does not specify whether this changes depending on where you are in the world as every culture is different. Women, on the other hand, take more social risks like moving to new cities and wearing clothes outside the norm in order to tackle patriarchal traditions.

After I digested this information, I again thought to myself: Am I an inherent risk-taker?

And no, I’m not. Not even socially.

The thought of moving to a new city terrifies me to the core. Who would I know? What would I do? A.L.O.N.E.? Perhaps the older I get, the easier it’ll come to me, but as of now, I’m just not capable. I looked at other types of social risks, like what I wear, what I eat, and where I hang out, and well, none are outstandingly risky. I’m too broke to be financially risky. And recreationally risky. I looked at the other categories: Where does my risk lie?

And then I remembered a quote I had once heard about what it means to take risks. It’s by Warren Buffett who Wikipedia momentously describes as the “most successful investor of the 20th century.” It reads:

“Risk comes from not know what you’re doing.”

Wait. I don’t know what the f*** I’m doing either, Buffett. And then finally, like a lightning strike, I realized I was a risk-taker.