The Dragons of Inaction

The Perceived Risk Dragons

Change is terrifying for many people. Six different types of risk have been identified as dragons that hinder changing behavior:

  1. Functional risk: What if the change I am considering will not work as well as my current choice does? For example, one may not consider an electric vehicle out of fear that battery problems might limit its range.
  2. Physical risk: For example, someone might consider cycling more, but worry about accidents.
  3. Financial risk: Some environmental changes, such as solar panels, require significant initial costs. Will the investment pay off before one moves to a another residence?
  4. Social risk: What if a person’s friends tease her for choosing a pro-environmental action, or at least she fears that they will? This slows change.
  5. Psychological risk: When teasing becomes more serious, such as from a significant other, or from a larger number of others, it can cause more serious psychological damage.
  6. Temporal risk: Time is valuable. One might decide not to change merely because the time needed to research the change means that the time spent is not spent on something else. What if the time spent leads to a change that is subject to one of the above risks? Hesitation hinders change.

Next: The Limited Behavior Dragons