Preparedness isn’t just about the supplies you stockpile and the skills you learn. It’s about psychology too. And an important step toward survival is understanding the psychology behind hesitation.
In a worst-case scenario, hesitation kills.
He who hesitates is lost. Swift and resolute action leads to success. Self-doubt is a prelude to disaster.
It’s simple psychology that no one wants to accept that something horrible has happened.
The human brain is configured in a way that it is in our very nature to deny that something outside our normal paradigm has occurred. This is called cognitive dissonance.
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“Cognitive dissonance is the feeling of discomfort when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions…Dissonance is aroused when people are confronted with information that is inconsistent with their beliefs. If the dissonance is not reduced by changing one’s belief, the dissonance can result in restoring consonance through misperception, rejection or refutation of the information, seeking support from others who share the beliefs, and attempting to persuade others.” (source)
In a crisis situation, denial can be deadly.
These are the phases of psychological reactions in a crisis:
- Denial – People do not want to believe the event occurred or is occurring. They simply cannot accept, for example, that a plane just deliberately crashed into the building where they are working.
- Delay – People often opt to do something to delay the acceptance of what is going on. They might tidy up, put away food in the refrigerator, or methodically…