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How to Take Risks – WECAN

Many factors are at play when it comes to taking risks and embracing change. Although there are many, here’s just a few that you might resonate with, including how your past, your age, and even personality can affect your ability to take more risks and take advantage of opportunities.

You Take Fewer Risks As You Age

In the average adult brain, the decision-making regions are made of 20% inhibitory cells and 80% excitatory cells. Until your mid-twenties, these cells responsible for inhibition don’t work at full capacity. Also, there is evidence that ties a decreased interest with taking risks to the decrease in dopamine levels we experience as we become older.

There are also life events that could affect a humans willingness to take risks, such as becoming a new parent — new parent’s are responsible for their child’s well-being which could make them less likely to take a risk. Also, those who are coming up on retirement may also want to be more cautious when it comes to spending so they don’t jeopardize their finances.

Your Past and Risk-Taking

According to studies, your upbringing and past can affect the level at which you are willing to take risks. Some people find it more challenging to take risks while some may find that it’s easy.  Being aware and understanding where you lie on the scale can make it easier to gauge decision making in the future.

Look at decisions you’ve made in the past, ones that didn’t go well and others that did, as well as certain opportunities that you passed up. If you have more experience in certain situations, the more accurately and quickly you become at evaluating your options.

Risk-Taking Behavior and Personality Type

Personality traits can likely indicate whether or not a person is open to taking risks. A great number of studies have taken a look at negative behaviors of risk-taking but other studies have shown that some personality traits can cause risk-taking situations in certain scenarios such as sports.

Dr. Fran Walfish, a relationship and family psychotherapist, lists a number of personality traits that are usually shown in people who are successful at embracing change and stepping out of their comfort zones:

  • Strong ego strength: This means that the person doesn’t always feel the need to be right and don’t have to have everything go their way.
  • Ability to self-examine and be accountable: The person can take an honest look at themselves and own up to their mistakes with a sincere apology.
  • Humorous: The ability to laugh at oneself and the natural missteps everyone takes.
  • High pain threshold: Pain is usually the motivator for change and can drive a person to take more risks.
  • Healthy communication skills: The individual can generally make their needs, feelings, and wants known through expressing verbally.
  • Will and determination: The person is not usually passive. These types of people don’t give up too quickly and can push themselves to the finish line.

Being aware and understanding these factors and if they relate to you can help you improve and highlight if you’re holding back too much on seizing opportunities. .

Check out the infographic to learn tips from more experts who work closely with risk management and helping people embrace change.



  1. Carnegie Mellon
  2. Current Biology
  3. Developmental Science
  4. Personality and Individual Differences
  5. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist, author, The Self-Aware Parent, regular expert child psychologist on The Doctors, CBS TV, and co-star on WE tv

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