Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Normalcy Bias

Lately I have been doing a lot of reading about the normalcy bias. Multiple sites talk about it.

That term refers to the human default of believing everything will be all right, rather than contemplating the very real possibility of a negative outcome.

It is an effective, wired-in, momentary, coping strategy that has great potential to backfire.

The normalcy bias is comforting to us because, like a tranquilizing drug, it allows our thoughts to not be consumed by frightening scenarios and in their place we embrace a delusion of a good outcome.

How many Californians are not prepared for the next big earthquake? We all know it’s coming, but the normalcy bias lets us believe the big one won’t happen where we are or, even if it did, somehow we will be the ones who emerge unscathed.

The irony of being a prepper as I see it is that we become preppers because we realize the normalcy bias gives us false hope, so we prepare, which runs the risk of giving us false hope that we will be better off when SHTF happens.

The threat inherent in challenging the normalcy bias is that if we abandon it, there is the possibility that we could go crazy with worry.

That is why we prep with open eyes.

Even preppers can revert to the normalcy bias, deluded into a false sense of security by stockpiles of food and other “get ready” behaviors.

What are some ways we as preppers can guard against the normalcy bias?

This may sound too simple, but rotate your food rather than letting it sit there. Food rotation reminds us that we must stay vigilant.

Dump out your 72-hour emergency bag every six months and then put everything back inside. As you do so, recall the specific purpose for every item in it.

That will remind you that the threat is real and when you feel that emotion, back it up by telling yourself a piece of truth about your life that you are trying to protect.

I love my daughter.

You are not indemnified against a threat just because you prep.

Whatever routines you and your family will rely on in a bug-out situation must be practiced periodically to remind us of the sense of purpose that caused us to adopt those routines in the first place.

Oh, and rehearsal of those routines reinforces them to an automatistic level.

Automatistic thinking means that a reaction is so instilled that a person does not have to think before doing.

By routinizing our action plans to an automatistic level, we reduce the amount of cognition our brains will have to do in a SHTF moment.

We will need our brains to assess threats in the moment and also to talk us down from the rafters.

No matter how well-prepared we are, in the moment of a crisis we will feel intense stress. Our memorized and practiced routines most decidedly will take some of the stress away.

To me it is obvious that SHTF situations will happen in the future.

When they happen around the world, I am reminded that I could be on someone’s television screen someday when SHTF happens in my neck of the woods.

I do not truly believe TEOTWAWKI will happen.

That is my normalcy bias speaking.

I will own that.

But I am prepping.

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