Normalcy Bias. Will You Underestimate the next Disaster?

Normalcy Bias. Will You Underestimate the next Disaster? by Charles Yor – The Survivalist Blog

If you have ever watched a crisis unfold, in person, or perhaps some recorded footage, you have probably noticed a few people involved in the proceedings acting very nonplussed about the whole affair, even if they are moments or millimeters from death. You ever wonder why? Do they have ice water in their veins? Do they just not care, or do they not comprehend the severity of the situation, plain stupid?

The answer is not as easy as all that, but there is a commonly occurring phenomenon, really a state of mind, that affects a great many people in ways big and small. It’s called normalcy bias, and chances are it affects you in ways you might not even realize. In its mildest incarnation, it will slow down your decision making processes when all signs point to trouble. At its worst, it will strike in a rapidly emerging, dangerous situation and give you a bad case of brain-lock, that same look you see on the faces of those poor bystanders that stand around when the truck is veering off the road, or the mugger is about to shank them with a knife.

The good news is, you can dampen, even eliminate it to a degree. One of the most important elements in combating normalcy bias is understanding its effects on your psyche, and the fact that you are likely already affected by it. Once you know how it clouds your judgment, you might be able to slip the reins it tries to throttle your brain with, and act more shrewdly and quickly when the chips are down.

I Don’t Have Normalcy Bias! Everything is Fine!

Aha! You do have normalcy bias, I knew it! Stay back, before we all catch it! Ok, I’m kidding about that last part; it isn’t a germ you can catch from someone. All glibness aside, normalcy bias is pretty easy to understand. Normalcy bias is simply defined as a pattern of thinking that actively causes people to underestimate, even ignore, what they are confronted with. Put another way, it is the promise that little voice in your head makes when it tells you everything will turn out just like it always has: A-OK.

Normalcy bias can strike in major, cataclysmic events, or little everyday ones. Big or small, the typical outcome is that it sloooows down your decision making, and often constricts your thinking to an oft-repeated outcome, i.e. nothing is wrong, everything will be fine.

This might manifest as a lack of action in a crisis, like rendering aid, getting out of the way of something that can kill you, or going on the offense against an imminent threat from someone or something intending to hurt you. It might manifest as lackluster or half-hearted preparation for likely or impending disasters, risks or threats. In other words, it isn’t just “freezing” or whistling a tune while death closes in.

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The Survivalist Blog

Over the years, I’ve studied all facets of survivalism and have learned what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t. My calling is to teach others how to become better prepared for an uncertain future. My books and articles are based on real-world experience. You will find helpful tips, guides, and checklists – focusing on a very modest budget.