April 12, 2012

Normalcy Bias... and today, tomorrow and the foreseeable future.

Normalcy bias is really a bit of a serious problem in trying to develop a more resilient and reflective and durable life style. It stops us from doing what we MUST and what we KNOW we need to do.

What is it?

A quirk of the human condition is for the mind to desire 'normalcy' so intensely as to consciously or subconsciously DISREGARD KNOWLEDGE that is disruptive to a pre-conditioned reality. This phenomena is an important part of crisis management and future planning. The consequence of a normalcy bias is that warning signs of a potential crisis go unnoticed or are interpreted optimistically.... When a crisis occurs people are so overwhelmed by events inconsistent with a desired reality they lose their ability to make decisions.

Another way to put it is this:

Researchers believe when the mind encounters an entirely new experience or event it attempts to match that reality to relevant experiences from the past. If there are no matching experiences the mind enters into a kind of feedback loop resulting in passivity. This lack of action as a response to risk is called negative panic1 and it culminates in a dangerous inability to act assertively in crisis. In essence, the psyche struggles to come to terms with what is really happening. Paralysis follows.


Having a strong 'normalcy bias' will prevent someone from preparing or planning for a disaster. This is particularly important when *normalcy bias* might be preventing you from moving forward on plans to increase your resilience and to prioritise what needs to be done.

Subjectively making decisions regarding prepping for a more sustainable and reslient lifestyle means to

approach the subject by focussing on FACTUAL information and preparing for a BROAD range of possible 

futures. Kinda like home insurance..... you might not live in a place where forest fire's are 'likely' but that

doesn't negate it as a possibility.. would you consider not considering and acting on it as wise?

Further reading.



Normalcy Bias also infects the media.......tell me why this is not THE NUMBER ONE International news item?






Seems to me the only way to mitigate normalcy bias is through education. Learning about the threats to us all is a good start. The next time someone tells you something along the lines of "you are crazy to be worried about something like that" ask them why they think the threat is so small? That way they have to bring to the conversation the facts that they have.... and opens the doorway for them to bring forward the facts they do have....and also allows you to bring in the concept of "normalcy bias".