It’s important to recognise a crisis because only then can one put things right. Unfortunately, it appears to be part of human nature to be slow in this recognition. We have seen this in our delayed responses to climate change and our delayed responses to the current pandemic.
To respond to a crisis, we need to change our ways of doing things, but most people don’t want change and don’t want their comfortable routines to be disturbed. Reinforcing this reluctance to change, there are many known psychological factors that delay recognition of crises. These include optimism bias, outcome bias, confirmation bias and ‘Groupthink’.1 Together, these factors explain why intelligent people faced with a crisis can behave like ostriches and ‘put their heads in the sand’.
The good news is that once a crisis is recognised, then it can be a powerful accelerator of change. We can see this in the effect