Risktaking: What Is It and Why We Do It

Essay by imzoozooHigh School, 12th gradeA+, February 2004

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A.Imagine you and the solid rock hard ground. It seems as though there are miles and miles of space in between you and the solid earth. You fear that at any second, you will eat that dirt by landing with a SPLAT! You heart beats faster and faster, your blood pressure goes wild, you mouth becomes ridiculously dry, and you have this gigantic urge to keep away from what could happen. If you do decide to jump out of that plane and experience the rush of sky diving, it all depends on you overcoming the natural fear of falling to your death. But why would you put yourself at such high risks?


A.What is risk?

1. Risk is defined as the exposure to possibly loss or injury. When taking a risk, you can only predict the ending result, but can never know for sure until it happens or when it's too late.

2.Risks are the result of our own behaviors and can differ by our actions. The concept of risk can sometimes be a reminder that risky situations could also have good opportunities.

B.Why do we make risks?

1.We make risk because the things that we consider to have value, we put at risk, such as meeting new people.

C.Risk taking behaviors

1.Risk taking behaviors is when you are willing to do something that can possibly have some degree of risk. Having an important risk or not is hard to define, but the actual risk is measured by the changes of death, injury, or any kind of loss.

2.Three different risk taking types of behaviors

a."Risk avoiders" are people who avoid situations that involve risk.

b."Risk reducers" do things, even though they know exactly what risks are, but they do it anyway.

c."Risk optimizers" do things just because they know there are high risks involved.


A.There are three major theories as to why people take risks.

B.The first theory is the psychoanalytic theory

1.Back in the 20th century, psychoanalysts made the conclusion that overcoming your natural fear was abnormal and that it was evidence that the person was diseased.

2.Psychologists could not find any evidence to support why people took risks.

3.But research studies today have shown that people that put themselves through high risks lead to the increase of self-esteem and people who make financial risks at work tend to be more successful.

4.Studies have also shown that people consider their needs rather than their safety, which is another reason for them to take risks in the first place.

5.Animals in studies have shown to take risks to show that they are better or superior to the others of their own kind and to become more attractive as a mate.

a.This action can be found in some humans too. People who do high- risk sports are seen to be more sexually active.

6.Sigmund Freud brought up and found the existence of the unconscious mind, which is where our motivation comes from. Our unconscious mind drives us away from knowing our motives and they are often given to us in a disguised form. Freud believed that people are aggressive and are controlled by their sex drives.

E.Evolutionary Theory

1.It can also be said that risks had to be taken in order or survival. When we are placed in a life or death situation, we are forced to take high risks.

2.Back in the Ice Age, people who were not willing to take risks had a higher chance of dying.

3.In another theory, DNA can have genes that relate to why people are so willing to take risks.

F.Contemporary Theory

1.One theory that seems to be the most obvious as to why people take risks is that risk-taking is based on the person's characteristic qualities.

2.If you think about all of your friends, are any two of them the same? You see that they react differently in different situations. And the differences are based on their personal traits.

3.The people like taking risks have a trait called the "Sensation seeking" trait. These are people who look for things that involve high risk so that they can have new and exciting experiences.

a.The sensation-seeking trait can open up many other questions. For example, do other personality traits influence risk taking? Or why do some people take risks in certain areas of their lives and not others?


A.Whether or not you consider yourself as a risk taker, it all depends on who you are. As to why you are a risk taker can depend on other factors. These factors can be if you need to take risks to stay alive, or to take risks out of pure enjoyment. Without taking risks, where would the world be today? Would we have gotten this far in life if we didn't take risks? Risks are apart of our everyday lives and if youd ont make any risks, how will you ever know? So ask yourself this: Are YOU willing to make a risk today?