The mind is thought to be like a muscle. The more you use it, the better it works for you and the more you can bend it to your will. But sometimes, people lose their rational thinking abilities and jump to decisions that may prove harmful. which at times, may even cost them their lives.
Listed below are 5 examples of such disastrous mistakes, why we tend to make them, and how to avoid making them.
AdvertisementThe domino effect: Just like dominoes, lives are lost one after the other by a simple mistake in judgment and a hurried attempt to help others.
Consider the situation - your friend falls off the bridge into the water and is screaming for help. Your first instinct may be to jump into the water and help your friend, but it is this very precise moment when you lose control of your rational thinking. Who's going to be there to save you? Another friend? And then, who's going to save him?
If you ever find yourself in a situation like this take a deep breath and think of what else you can do. Can you use certain equipments to help your friend get out? Can you call someone for help?
Situation blindness: Using the shortest route isn't always wise. This is what happened to young couple in the US when their GPS tempted them to take the shorter route to their destination. What they didn't consider was that the ice storm was coming their way, and the poor souls had to stay disconnected from the world for three days in the snow, before help arrived.
This is where a full-situational awareness is essential. Before taking a different route to your destination consider the pros and cons before proceeding.
Double or nothing: The'little bit more' attitude can cause more trouble than expected. When in a difficult situation, instead of letting go, your mind often tempts you to hold on for a bit more.
This is exactly what happened in Northern California when a person caught hold of the basket of the hot air balloon. What happened next is pretty obvious. As the balloon rose up a few feet, he might have thought that holding off for a few more moments would help him get down safely. These 'few extra moments' finally got him around 100 feet above the ground after which he could no longer hold on, and fell down to his death.
Try and estimate the total risk in a situation before jumping to conclusions and acting accordingly.
Seeking order in randomness: A biased attitude could land you in trouble. Just like the group of tourists who wound up in an unknown area and spent cold, freezing nights devoid of survival gear because the stream was flowing from right to left instead of left to right. As John Allen Paulos, professor of mathematics at Temple University puts it 'uncertain information, coincidences, and statistical ties provide fertile ground for all sorts of theories, narratives, and just-so stories'.
Biased and fixed opinions can be a major disaster when it comes to handling important situations in life. The solution? Adopt skepticism, even if it is your gut feeling.
Redlining: The turnaround time is an important factor, especially in tough tasks like mountaineering.
A group of mountain climbers, one by one, succumbed to death due to lack of oxygen and being cold and frozen in the snow after they ignored the turnaround time and caught up with a storm.
The mind tends to think, 'what's a few more minutes in the whole grand scheme of things?' But this attitude can push you in the wrong direction, after which there's no turning back to safety.