People handle risk in their lives many different ways. Some seek it out, while others run for the hills when they see anything like it coming. From my life, I've seen the following examples:
When I look at those three arcs, each has its own benefits and costs. Beyond that though, these are humans like you and me, living their lives as they saw fit, so I hope the following emotionless analytics do not offend anyone.
Assuming that many things in life occasionally break or cause harm, the professor reacts by removing them from his life. Unless he extends his possibilities by exploring new options, the range of outcomes for his life grows tighter.
My dad's friend suffered many small losses of his time and effort; by trying so much, he may have gotten experience and that may have had an impact, however he definitely benefited from the nature of the game, reasonable odds of making very good money, with the downside of having worked hard to show that many things do not work.
From the opposite side, the pilot played a game where the upside had a good deal of excitement, however the downside was that you could die; and he played it enough times for his number to come up.
We all have risk in our lives, and to some degree we also can structure that risk intelligently. We just have to do it....