I'm very risk tolerant. I've noticed this a lot, mainly when talking with other people about ideas. I often have no issue immediately agreeing to something that others might have second thoughts about. In fact I didn't know how to describe this for a while - what's the opposite of risk averse? But I think risk tolerant is a good word.
I think there are a number of reasons for this. Firstly my risk profile is quite different than a lot of people's. I don't drive for one, which I think is by far the most dangerous thing that most people ever do. Especially people who commute for more than one hour a day - the risks of injury or an accident from that surely must outweigh anything else, right? They've got to, surely.
Then again, I ride a bike through city streets, often in places without bike lanes. I consider that to be the most risky I do and for good reason - a small number of cyclists die every year in most major cities. However, my intuitions tell me that the risk is probably roughly comparable to driving in a car a lot. Is this really true? I have no idea, but it feels true to me.
I guess I'm pretty intuitive when it comes to this stuff. Other risky activities like flying a plane or paragliding or swimming in open water: I have no idea what the actual risks are, but it feels less than biking. So basically negligible, right? It's hard to actually worry about these when my only logical worry should be cycling.
I guess I'm also less afraid of things happening than most other people too. Other than death or serious injury I'm not really truly afraid of anything! Getting mugged and losing my wallet? That's just money - it's replacable. I know people who lock their suitcases because they're worried about theft but theft really doesn't bother me at all - they probably need it more than I do. Even if I was robbed of all my stuff in a foreign country and left on the street, that wouldn't be so bad. It would be a character building experience, and millions of people every day go around the world through worse. I guarantee you one of your ancestors in the last 200 years has gone through worse. I can handle it, it might as well happen to me.
I think in a sense I don't mind bad things happening because bad things inevitably lead to interesting experiences. Not necessarily enjoyable, but certainly unforgettable. In a sense, the bad thing is what you pay to get the experience, and I'm happy to pay quite a premium for any kind of unique or memorable experience as long as it doesn't cause any permanent harm.
Maybe I also have a sense of right and wrong here as well. I tend to think that if something did happen, then it was supposed to happen. The only things that do happen are things that were always going to happen. No matter what I'll be fine in the end because the universe will arrange things so that it all works out in the end. It always has after all. I still wear a helmet while biking of course, but anything that happens to me, as long as it's not permanent, I can't find it in my to mind.
I've also noticed I often have longer time horizons than most other people. I'd describe it as a phenomenon similar to delayed gratification, but not entirely. It's quite common for me to think about the situation in 5, 10, or even 20 years in the future. It's partly why I'm persist with this after all.
Sometimes when people ask to start something, like say to learn something new, it's common for me to respond with something like "sounds good. at this rate it should only take 10 to 15 years before we become experts at it, so it's doable by the time we're in our late 30s". Thinking along these timeframes comes naturally to me; maybe I spend too much time concerned about the future.
However I've noticed most other people don't think along these lines. I feel like the majority are concerned with their next year, maybe their next 5 if they're really looking forward. I guess I kind of feel like I've found a rhythm in life I'm happy with, and if I stayed like this for the next decade or two that would be perfectly fine. If I looked forward 15 years and I saw my life looking similar to how it does today I would consider that a success.
It also lets me be very comfortable with starting long term projects. There's this, of course, but I've also been enjoying visiting different national parks. There are over 60, and I don't know if I'll do more than 3 or 4 a year. At this pace, it'd take at around 20 years but I have no issue visualizing 45 year old me, still going through the list and knocking them out one by one.
I actually really like starting and pursuing long term projects. It gives my life a sense of continuity, a sense that I'm working towards building something greater than what you could do in just a few months to a year. I think you also have to be quite internally stable to do this - if you reinvent yourself every few years I imagine it'd be hard to stick to everything.
Anyway, I talk big now but I've only been in this for a few years now. I feel like I know myself pretty well, well enough to promise these big things anyway, but it's certainly very possible that that could all change. I can't wait to find out if the me in 5 or 10 years sticks to my plans as much as I expect myself to. Luckily either way I'll have these to look back on - the older I get the more I'll have an fun body of writing to peruse and enjoy.