By: Blonde Two

Risk taking and adventure probably go hand in hand. I say probably because Blonde One and I have spent so much of our lives weighing up possibilities and making decisions that are calculated to mitigate risk that I am not sure we really take any anymore, we do however enjoy a bit of adventure.

Risk taking is interesting if you consider it from an evolutionary stand point. Common sense suggests that if there is a genetic predetermination to risk taking behaviour then, because by its very nature the behaviour could result in the removal of the risk taker or at least his/her ability to procreate, by now the risk takers should all have died out.

But they haven’t have they. We still have adrenaline junkies, explorers and adventurers or at a different level, youngsters who want to jump off rocks into the sea, women in their 60s who want to swim the English Channel and business men who want to swim with crocodiles.

I recently watched a most illuminating program that mentioned risk taking as one symptom (or result depending on how you look at it) of the complex issue that is ADHD. A scientist did a very good job of explaining why risk taking is good for society and, more surprisingly, why it leads to fewer deaths (including those among risk takers). The premise was this:

Scenario 1 

A risk-taker in a village called Sharkville goes for a swim in waters that could be shark infested (clue in the name here!)

He (or she) finds a shark and is eaten.

The villagers of Sharkville find his mangled body and none of them go in the water. They also tell their fellow villages Mantatown and Lionfish City so nobody along the whole dangerous coast goes in the water. Lots of people survive.

Scenario 2

There isn’t a risk-taker in the village called Sharkville so nobody finds out that the sharks are on the prowl (or plunge).

One hot day all of the people of Sharkville go into the water to cool down. They all get eaten.

Nobody tells the villagers of Mantatown or Lionfish City about the shark. They all get eaten too. Hardly any people survive.


We can conclude from this village experiment (no actual villagers were harmed) that mankind needs risk takers.