Risk aversion has played a large role in my life. The aversion itself varies, but significant decisions in my life I’ve based on minimizing or eliminating the stress caused by uncertainty. Not the least of which was leaving the practice of law. Two mains factors generally determine a person’s tolerance for that stress. One is whether she has a passion for the endeavor. The second is a matter of how stress physically affects her body. One is psychological, from the heart and soul, the other is physical, about the body. Neither is controllable. Both can be influenced.
So what can we do? I’m in the midst of reading a book on this very topic: Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance, by Jonathan Fields. Two points in it have stood out so far. The first, that it’s not the risk itself we try to avoid so much as judgment of us taking the risk, caught me by surprise. But, it rings true. Reframing it this way wakes it possible to mentally separate the thing causing fear and doubt-judgment-from the endeavor or acts that need to be performed.
The second point is a concept Fields calls “certainty anchors”. These are routines and rituals that provide a stability which balances the risks we take. Admittedly, one of my biggest certainty anchors is my husband. At a time before I realized it, that was probably a major factor in marrying him. While that might be all very sweet and romantic, another person is not the best certainty anchor. Your own faith, your religious rituals, and your regular routines for mundane activities like sleeping, eating, exercise, laundry, etc., are all things you have some control over doing, and make great certainty anchors.
What are your certainty anchors? What fear or doubt are you balancing out with them?