Do women take less risk than men?
Adding to the conversation on this topic around Women’s day gone by, sharing a viewpoint that highlights my concern around the topic of ‘Risk taking’. I personally think there is no right-wrong answer to this question. Neither is it restricted to gender, geography or societal status. It is more of a stereotype mindset block moulded over time. We all will agree that yes women today can take far more risk than we usually do. But we still don’t. That is the narrative I would like to touch upon. The ‘why’ and how important and easy it is to come out of this typecast thinking and do more to better our lives.
This in anyway does not mean that if you are not doing anything extraordinary, then your life is meaningless or worthless. If that is the life you want and are comfortable where you are – then go with it. But if there is a scope for improvement and you want it, but are holding back, then you need to inspect – why?
Let’s start with the basic – defining what is Risk?
Risk is a word often associated with fear. Quoting a definition, found online, “Risk is exposing someone, or something valued to danger, harm or loss”. ‘Danger’, ‘Harm’, ‘Loss’ are fearful words we want to stay away from. That’s a dark zone and no one wants to be there. So, when faced with a situation that a potential risk attached to it, we tend to react in one of the following manner.
We Avoid it: It’s always best to stay in the safe zone so I’m never getting on that plane to see what’s on the other side of the planet
We Transfer it: “Let my husband / father / brother /uncle take care of my finances as I do not understand it.”
We Reduce it: “I want that flat on the 19th Floor – the view is beautiful, but what if I fall of the balcony, so I’ll settle for the 3rd floor instead.”
We Accept it: “I leave my kids at day care as there is no option and I have to go out and work ”
Did you know that on daily basis you are taking risk -even big ones like keeping your life’s savings in a Bank or investing in stocks? We undertake these ‘accepted’ risk subconsciously, because it is a way of life. Everyone is doing and its considered normal and accepted. Even with something as simple as our looks – we go in for a totally different look from long to short haircuts sometimes. It’s a risk with our public appearance and we do it anyways as it is a normal thing to do. If we are so good with taking risk subconsciously everyday, then why not take risk consciously.
What happens when you start taking Risk?
- When you are open to taking RISK you start by ‘conquering your fear’ that was stopping you before.
- When that happens, you will be doing ‘something new for the first time’
- When that happens, you will be trying ‘many new things’ for the first time
- When that happens your ‘chances at succeeding’ in what you are doing goes up as you are doing much more than you were before.
… And who does not want to succeed in life. Who doesn’t want good things for themselves? It all starts with an openness to doing something you have not done before for the fright of it. So start thinking about it differently now.
Know the difference between Risk and Stupidity
While you are fully geared up to take on the world – it’s important to activate your brain. You are blessed with a human one, so use it wisely. You have to be realistic towards a situation – than delusional as to how you want it to be. In the end, it’s no one else’s loss but yours. You are the best judge to know where you stand in a particular situation so think ahead accordingly.
Take Calculative risk
The best approach to handling a situation or task at hand, is to evaluate it wisely. Check the pros and cons. Prepare a list of Dos and Dont’s. The outcome of doing this exercise is that you are better prepared to handle situations. In the long run this preparedness makes you better at decision making. And when that happens, it becomes a ‘habit’ to think wisely and hence your risk ratio goes down. Which means your success ratio is now at it’s peek.
Be prepared for the unseen
Uncertainties are part of life and hence part of risk. Many times even after you have done your homework and have the safety belts on – the cord snaps. That can be an unfortunate incident and many times a one off. It does not mean you have to give up or never do it again. Its most likely that the situation was never in your hand. There were external forces at play that you could not have known. The best outcome is that now you know how to handle the situation. You now know what you should not be doing. You accept the situation, you learn a lesson, you move ahead and apply it when you do it again.
Change is the need of the hour
Ernest Homles rightly said – “Change your thinking, Change your life.” For any situation to change we need to first start by changing the way we look at it. Changing our thoughts and views on it. To be able to do things differently, we need to change the way we approach life situation in a new way. We need to change the way we accept societal stereotypes. We need to question things that were taught to us from childhood that moulded the way we took decisions as an adult. Most importantly we need to challenge the limitation we created for ourselves.
So what exactly needs to change Asap to accept the idea of taking new risk in life
Women gender stereotype: It is perfectly ok for women to be the family caretakers. But that should not be a definition that means she herself is not on the care list.
Nature instincts: Women are naturals at being organised in life. They are known for their planning and detailing skills amongst others. Then why not use this to your advantage. Start with planning your finances first.
Be financially prepared: Think and work towards to always being financially independent in life. Whether you are in your 20’s and single, 30’s and married or 30’s-40’s and widowed or divorced, starting thinking ahead and aim at never being dependent on anyone or taking for granted that you are covered by someone else.
Children’s upbringing: Treat your kids as princes and princesses, but at the same time, train them to be superheroes. More than ever, today children have to be trained to be self dependent and fearless from an early age. They need to be thought how to be survivors in life later on.
#Mefirst: Start with this basic thought today and let it be the foundation of everything that you do ahead in life and in every aspect – personal and professional. If women don’t start by giving priority to themselves before anything and everyone else, they will always be holding themselves back and miss out on the amazing opportunities that life keeps throwing at us.
Finally, the easiest way is to change a mind set and actually do something meaningful in life that has a risk element to it, is to look at it with a “I can try… nothing to lose” attitude. #triedandtested
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