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How much money is worth risking your life for?

July 31, 2023
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Would you compete in a life and death competition, like Squid Games for $10? Unless you’re in need of some intensive therapy, probably not. Would you do it for a chance to win $10 billion? 

If you said yes, or even hesitated for a moment, there is likely a minimum number that exists that you would be willing to risk your life for. 

That number is easy to identify for some. (Looking straight at those guys who reenlisted for that surge bonus to deploy again and again.)

However, others could point to a rough estimate like: “Enough to pay off my house, truck, kid’s college, buy the entire Remington line of shotguns and go on a two month long hunting trip in Wyoming.”

So, let’s examine what I would consider to be the 3 main factors in determining “If the juice is worth the squeeze.”

  • Potential pain
  • Likelihood of success 
  • Level of need

Potential pain

Fighting a grizzly bear or silverback gorilla for the chance to win money is not that appealing of an order. Considering how much it would hurt to be mauled by one of the gnarliest animals on land. Plus if you somehow survived, you’d need all that money to pay for hospital bills and therapy. 

Likelihood of success 

If the game was to break the world freedive record, in bull shark infested waters, while solving a rubik's cube, the likelihood of success is virtually zero. If the challenge was to eat gas station sushi in all 50 states… (After heading to Costco to buy some Pepto-Bismol in bulk) you might roll the dice. 

Level of need

I personally believe this is the biggest determining factor. If you need a ton of money because your mom is in debt, or your dog is sick, or your kid sister needs a lawyer, because despite being on probation, she slapped-a-hoe three times at TJ Maxx, you might agree to take the risk. To the contrary, if life is good and you’re making good money, you might have no desire to risk leaving your loved ones for a chance to get more. 

Experts will tell you, need is not merely financial though. You might need to constantly risk your life to feel something in the bottomless void that is your soul (looking right at the bikers who lane split doing a buck eighty on highways that are constantly under construction). 

What if the reward for the game was the life of a loved one would be spared, or you’d save the planet from aliens who are alarmingly good at basketball? You may feel a moral need to at least try. 

So, while all this is hypothetical, it can really say a lot about your life, as to what your number would be, and what risk you’d be willing to take to get some more ones and zeros in your bank app.

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