May 27, 2023

We So Scared

Many opine we aren't born with fear but as we go through our lives, it seems we take less chances and become more cautious. It could be because we've experienced things that haven't gone well. It could be because we think we have more wisdom so not to make foolish choices. That voice in our head says; "let's not do that again!"

Experts have been studying this for years and in an article entitled "Decision Neuroscience: Why We Become More Cautious with Age", there is sound evidence which suggests at least part of the reason is physical. As we age, the levels of dopamine in our bodies declines. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and a hormone. It plays a role in many important body functions, including movement, memory and pleasurable reward and motivation. We might be smart but our physiological makeup does have a say in the matter without our interference. 

Age and Ageing 

So that might point to why we rolled the dice at 20 and hesitated at 50. We were born with the ability to reason but we are also made up of chemical elements that don't ask for our input and can become our biggest foe.  

I've had to make a couple of pretty significant decisions in the last few years. One of them I belabored over for weeks. I had a similar situation happen almost two decades ago and I jumped at it. I did make the move again this time but I was aware of how I gave downside more weight than opportunity. 

Hormone levels and age may make us pause a bit longer or fear a bit more but here might be an exercise worth trying. Find something small you are thinking about right now. It could literally be something so insignificant, it might not even matter next week. Take five minutes and try and think of you a decade or two ago and make the decision through that lens. You might surprise yourself.

But I'm still not bungie jumping! 
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