Worst Case Thinking
If you look around you can find all sorts of very sane people looking at this issue of fearful thinking not only as a limitation, but as a real danger.
Bruce Schneier is a renown security blogger. His latest missive, published on CNN.com but better read on his own blog because CNN stripped out all the links, is all about the fallacy of worst case thinking. It almost like its the logical case for the Law of Attraction.
There's a certain blindness that comes from worst-case thinking. An
extension of the precautionary
principle, it involves imagining the worst possible outcome and
then acting as if it were a certainty. It substitutes imagination for
thinking, speculation for risk analysis, and fear for reason. It fosters
powerlessness and vulnerability and magnifies social paralysis. And it
makes us more vulnerable to the effects of terrorism.
Bruce makes several great points as to why worst case thinking makes for bad decision making.
- its only half of the cost benefit equation
- its based on flawed logic
- it can be used to support any position – or its opposite
- it validates ignorance
- worst of all – it leads to hasty and dangerous acts
This is just an overview — read the entire article to get the full flavor.
And there is a line between being hopeful yet realistic, and being fearful and negative. We live with reality, but we can choose not to create negativity.