How to Recognize and Overcome Normalcy Bias – Part 2

A couple of weeks ago I wrote on the stages of awareness that people progress through when faced with circumstances that are “abnormal.”  The progression is predictable. From uneasiness, to acceptance, to identification, to action. What is not predictable is how quickly we progress through those stages. The good news is, we can keep from getting behind the curve and suffering harm.

seeclearly

The key is pretty simple.

How to Recognize and Overcome Normalcy Bias

I care about my readers. Sometimes, that means I will address bad habits or plain ole’ human nature problems that many people struggle to overcome. Today’s post deals with the latter. Unfortunately, the picture below describes it well.

denial

When confronted with facts that require a person to take action they may consider abnormal, the majority of people simply rationalize ignoring those facts, or altering them in such a way that they do not have to deal with them. They create a mental environment where everything feels normal, despite the fact that reality is very different. This phenomenon is called “normalcy bias.” And it can siphon off a great deal of your true wealth.

People progress through four stages of awareness when a situation arises or facts present themselves that should cause them to take action. Those stages are summarized as follows:

How To Buck the Fundamental Transformation of the Economy

The official headline unemployment rate continues to fall. Last week it was announced that it fell to 5.8%, the lowest since 2008.  Does that mean the economy is really getting better? They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, it’s worth more.

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In one graph, you can see one of the fundamental transformations that has occurred in the US economy during the last ten years.

After the .com bubble and bust at the turn of the millennium, the Federal Reserve embarked on a low interest rate/easy money policy that continues to this day. During that period, the labor force participation rate for those aged 25-54 has steadily declined, while the rate for those 55 and over has risen dramatically.  What does this say about Fed policy’s impact on human behavior?  As it turns out, a lot.

When to Use Verbal vs. Written Communication

Building relationships isn’t easy. Building trust is even harder. You must protect the building process by using the appropriate method of communication for the subject being discussed. This one has bitten me more often than I care to admit, so I offer this rather candid post so that you can learn from my experiences, both good and bad.

communicate

We are connected to more people in more ways than has ever been possible in the history of mankind. This can be both a blessing and a curse.

Email and other text based communication such as texting and blogging is great for the following types of communication:

Three Keys To Affecting Change Amongst Chaos

Several months ago I came across this picture. (I still have it, thank you Evernote) The story that accompanied it teaches a compelling lesson. It answers the question, “How can you affect meaningful change when it seems chaotic and out-of-control?”

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Some of you may have seen this meme on the internet, so I’ll tell you up front that I’m going to slightly change the story to help make the point.

A group of people were attending a seminar. The speaker decided to do a group activity. He gave each person a balloon and asked them to write his/her name on it. All the balloons were collected and placed in a small room. The speaker said there would be a $100 prize for each person who found the balloon with their name on it. They were given two minutes. Then, all fifty people were sent into the room together and the clock started.

Organize Your Online Life Now With Evernote

Content. And more content. That’s the world we live in. You, like me are likely sifting through more and more information from web sites, blogs, and links that friends send you via email. If you don’t get it under control, it can consume your day, confuse you, or both. Two tools have helped me tame this 21st century beast. They can do the same for you. They are Evernote and Feedly.

evernote

The most important of the two by far is Evernote. Combined, they have made content scanning and storing a simple process that takes me 30 minutes or less per day. Feedly aggregates the RSS streams from any and all web sites and blogs that you choose to follow, and places them in one convenient, easy-to-scan stream. Evernote allows you to take the articles from that stream that you are interested in, and store them for later recall.

I realize that not all the content that hits your mailbox here at dougtjaden.com is relevant to you (gasp!). Some of what I post you know already. Some you simply aren’t interested in. Evernote will help you quickly capture posts that do pique your interest.

So, let’s get started. You can be up and running with just a few easy steps.

We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief.

President Ronald Reagan
Prayer breakfast in Dallas, TX, 1984

Giving Thanks – Even When You Are Worn

I love Thanksgiving. It hasn’t been overly commercialized. It is one holiday that we can stop and give thanks for the things that really matter, even when life is hard. Let’s be honest. For many people, a hard life is reality. It has taken on a heaviness that seems like it never will go away. A song by Tenth Avenue North cuts to the core of this experience. It’s called “Worn.”

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This song speaks to the daily grind of life for many, many souls in this world. Sometimes I feel this way. Sometimes those in my family do – a daughter, my wife…  When they feel it, I do too.

It’s easy to throw out platitudes on Thanksgiving. Quote a Bible verse about how much we have to be thankful for. Smile. It’s all better. It’s important to acknowledge that for many, this doesn’t “fix” things.

For them, the struggle continues…

In the formative days of the Republic, the directing influence the Bible exercised upon the fathers of the Nation is conspicuously evident…  We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a Nation without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Statement on 400th anniversary of the printing of the English Bible, 1935

War of Words Part 3 – You Must Take Action

Today’s post is very personal. It is a confession of how the War of Words has impacted my life and the lives of those around me. My intent is to be real with you. And to hopefully bring to light one of the primary reasons we face so many problems in the world today.

In War of Words part 1, I discussed the importance of monitoring the flow of your thoughts so that you can spot and correct negative trends. In Part 2, I highlighted the importance of learning to shut off that flow and listen to what God is saying. Today, the rubber meets the road.

In order to win the war, you must take action.

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Why would someone go to all the trouble of journaling, monitoring their journal, and shutting out the world to hear what God has to say – and then not take meaningful action?  That’s crazy.

I have a confession to make. Sometimes, I’m crazy.

Launching dougtjaden.com was hard. I mean really hard. Having been a pastor, my first instinct is to run from anything that can be perceived as “self-promotion.” To me, using my name and launching a personal web site was tantamount to heresy. It didn’t matter that there are hundreds of other pastors out there with their own personal web sites. I could not do it.

Stubbornly holding that position has cost me, and those around me.