Globe trotting development workers, iconic risk analysts and ground breaking authors all have a shared understanding for something they have encountered in their work and travels.
Lacey talked about the prosperity-scarcity theory where as people get more prosperous they get more insular and afraid, less able to/interested in engaging with community, social change and other things a culture needs to stay healthy.
Nassim Taleb says as people get more prosperous they get more fragile because now they have more to lose and don’t want to lose it.
Whereas before we had little to lose and were ballsy, now we become timid.
Robert Greene in Mastery talks about a similar phenomenon: once you have even a modest amount of success suddenly your perception of what you have to lose is greater than what you have to gain so you become risk averse, conservative, wanting to keep hold of what little you have.
All of these seem to have converged for me today on a conversation about risk and what that has to do with success, freedom and a juicy life.
When we start looking for validation, acknowledgement, and any other marker that is external, our perception of personal risk is heightened. Everything from trying out a new dance move in public to saying something people might disagree with seems a threat worth avoiding.
We start moving from does this feel awesome to what will people say.
The ability, in a way, to stay small and light without a sense of fragility or having a lot to lose is that delicate balance of savouring your wins while not taking your reputation too seriously.
That’s my exploration for this week.