(ModernSurvival.org) – Ask any survivalist and they will quickly confirm that one’s mind is the greatest tool at their disposal, both in and out of an emergency situation. Unfortunately, this amazing biological computer can also unknowingly deceive a person, putting them in serious danger.
In order to overcome this drawback, one must first understand exactly how the brain affects our perception of some threats.
What is Normalcy Bias?
Overall, humans have a tendency to examine what has happened in the past and assume that future events will transpire in similar ways. This state of mind also impacts how people view abnormalities, tricking themselves into believing emergency situations are really something routine. Psychologists refer to this as normalcy bias.
Why Normalcy Bias is Dangerous
Normalcy bias is likely the cause of a great many everyday emergencies that would otherwise be avoided. A perfect example of a normalcy bias is when people put off changing the batteries in their smoke alarms because they assume their home is unlikely to catch fire.
However, even though many people think this way, houses burn down all the time. Without a functional smoke detector, they’re not only putting their home at risk of more damage or even total destruction. They’re putting their own lives at risk, too.
A more extreme case of normalcy bias occurred during the Las Vegas shooting of 2017. People were actively trying to convince other concertgoers that the gunshots they heard were nothing more than fireworks — putting everyone’s lives in mortal danger. Their brains tricked them into thinking an abnormal event, the gunfire, was something normal and previously experienced.
Normalcy bias is also likely the root cause of the resistance many people have to prepping. When one’s brain is telling them there is no future danger to prepare for, buying emergency supplies and training to handle a catastrophe seem like a complete waste of time. A quick look in the rear-view mirror at the last few years is enough to put that line of thinking to rest.
How to Overcome Normalcy Bias
In the aftermath of any major emergency or disaster, one common theme is almost always heard from the survivors: “I never thought this would happen to me.” This is precisely why overcoming normalcy bias is so important.
The easiest way to conquer one’s normalcy bias is to examine the world with realistic eyes. Pay attention to the news and watch for warning signs of potential danger. Look for all the ways something could go wrong, then prepare accordingly. This doesn’t mean that one should become paranoid, but rather, operate in a constant state of readiness.
While some disasters are more likely than others (such as a full-scale invasion of the United States), remember that anything is possible. Even small emergencies have the potential to be deadly. A broken leg in the wilderness is just as life-threatening to an individual as a nuclear war if one doesn’t know how to handle the situation.
Arguably, one of the most effective ways to defeat one’s normalcy bias is to develop situational awareness. For some tips on how this can be done, check out our article here.
~Here’s to Your Survival!
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