It pays to be mindful of the zero-risk bias in daily life with hemophilia

Taking calculated risks is vital to our personal growth and fulfillment

Alliah Czarielle avatar

by Alliah Czarielle |

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In our quest for security and certainty, it’s only natural to gravitate toward options that offer zero risk. Think about it: When you purchase insurance or opt for a product with a money-back guarantee, you’re essentially seeking assurance against any potential loss. This tendency to avoid risk at all costs is what psychologists refer to as the zero-risk bias.

For people with disabilities like hemophilia, this bias can significantly impact daily decisions and behaviors. Take, for example, someone like my husband, Jared, who lives with severe hemophilia B.

We’ve witnessed other members of his hemophilia support group approach physical activity with reluctance, out of fear of triggering a bleed. In countries where access to factor products is limited, like the Philippines, where we live, conserving medication becomes a top priority.

Moreover, activities that involve venturing far from home may be avoided to ensure proximity to medical care and a stable supply of treatment.

The human brain is wired to seek certainty and avoid the opposite. The prospect of risk triggers a sense of discomfort, prompting us to opt for safer alternatives whenever possible. This instinctual response served our ancestors well when survival depended on avoiding immediate danger. However, in modern society, this bias can hinder personal growth and fulfillment.

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No risk, no reward

The paradox of the zero-risk bias lies in its potential consequences. While prioritizing safety may offer a sense of security in the short term, it also deprives individuals of the rewards associated with taking calculated risks. This is especially true for those with hemophilia, where avoiding all physical activity can lead to decreased mobility in the long term and, in effect, a diminished quality of life.

Likewise, avoiding “risky” forms of self-expression without first researching the potential risks and ways to mitigate them can deprive people of potentially meaningful experiences. This is particularly significant for those with disabilities, whose opportunity for self-expression has often been marginalized.

Self-expression serves as a vital tool for individuals, including those with disabilities, to connect with others and assert their identity. It plays a crucial role in fostering emotional well-being, building relationships, and promoting a sense of belonging. Therefore, limiting oneself from forms of self-expression due to perceived risks may hinder the development of meaningful connections, as well as personal growth.

By educating oneself about the potential risks associated with certain forms of self-expression and exploring ways to minimize those risks, people with disabilities can reclaim their agency within society and embrace their identity more fully.

Living fulfilled lives

To truly live fulfilled lives, we must recognize that meaningful experiences often involve some degree of risk. Whether it’s pursuing a new hobby, embarking on a career change, or forming meaningful relationships, taking calculated risks is essential for personal development and happiness. For those with hemophilia, this could mean exploring the boundaries of their physical capabilities, engaging in fulfilling activities such as traveling, or delving into the realm of self-expression under the guidance of a knowledgeable care team.

It’s important to acknowledge that people’s risk tolerance varies based on individual circumstances. Factors such as financial stability, access to support networks, and personal health considerations can influence one’s willingness to take risks. Additionally, striking a balance between risk and safety is key. While embracing risk can lead to personal growth, it’s essential to approach it in a measured and thoughtful manner, taking into account potential consequences and safeguards.

In conclusion, while the zero-risk bias may offer a sense of security, it’s important to recognize its limitations and potential impact on our lives. By acknowledging the role of risk in personal growth and fulfillment, people can make more informed decisions and lead richer, more meaningful lives.

Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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