We prefer the known to the unknown, no risks are better than
known risks and known risks are better than unknown ones.
Good is good enough, if we don’t have to disrupt our routine.
In other words, “We’ve always done it this way“ is a great way
to silence the majority and a formidable barrier to change.
It can also be quite dangerous, because, as the psychologist
Daniel Kahneman pointed out, familiarity is not easily
distinguishable from the truth and by frequent repetition,
we can make people believe in falsehoods. Dictators do
this all the time, but they’re far from being alone.
Even worse, it can be quite deadly, as the French knights found
out back in 1415 during the battle of Agincourt, when the longbow,
rather than the knights themselves, brought knighthood to an end.
Yesterday’s realities give us a wrong sense of security.
Think about the meaning of the popular expressions “It’s always
been this way“ or “We’ve always done it this way“.
Well, “expressions“ doesn’t sound quite right, “excuses“ is more like it.
They are obviously wrong and negate evolution,
because there always is a first time.
So what it really means is that our actions and our behavior have
become routine. Our brain has gone on autopilot. We’ve become
conditioned to accept, enjoy and even defend the status-quo.
By cocooning in our routine, we don’t feel the need to change.
We’re prisoners of our conventions, standards and
customs who love progress, but hate change.
Don’t you sometimes wonder, why Pavlov used dogs in his experiments?
Corporate lingo is full of similar statements.
One that I encountered quite often is “It goes without saying“.
Needless to say that more often than not, it doesn’t!
Not to mention “Never change a winning team“.
Sure, but we live in a world, in which the game changes all the time.
The other day, I was discussing some of the issues covered in my
recent posts – in particular trust – with some older folks.
Many commented that it’s basically always been this way.
The majority have always followed like sheep, exploitation
by a minority is nothing new and neither is corruption.
Ever since it existed, money has ruled the world.
What can one person do?
Then and now, pluralistic ignorance – when no one believes,
but everyone thinks that everyone believes – clearly incapacitates.
And those claiming that some things never change,
usually mean that to include themselves.
The resulting lack of opposition strengthens
unpopular conventions and prevents change.
“A man, who views the world the same at 50
as he did at 20, has wasted 30 years of his life.“
Muhammad Ali is right, is he not?