The Normalcy Bias in Today's World & How It's Proving DEADLY

The Normalcy Bias in Today's World & How It's Proving DEADLY

                                                                                   By Jeanette Vale

Wikipedia:  Normalcy bias, or normality bias, is a cognitive bias which leads people to disbelieve or minimize threat warnings.[1] Consequently, individuals underestimate the likelihood of a disaster, when it might affect them, and its potential adverse effects.[2] The normalcy bias causes many people to not adequately prepare for natural disasters, market crashes, and calamities…” 

To mentally survive a period in my life I denied what I was seeing.  I would tell myself, “this is not happening, this could not happen”.  I did this denial dance for almost a year before everything exploded and I was left sitting in smoke and rubble. 

 Why We Cling to the Normalcy Bias

Why was my normalcy bias so strong?  Answer:  I wanted to stay certain that everything was  fine and life would continue in its predictable course. 

We work very hard building our lives, dreams and relationships.  The last thing we want is for things to fall apart.  My psychological need for normalcy  was as powerful as my physical need for oxygen. 

My friend was scuba diving in the waters off of  South America’s coast when he ran out of oxygen a few fathoms below the surface.  He immediately began fighting for his life.  He wanted oxygen! He began kicking with incredible power to make it to the top.   That kind of fight is how strong we can hang onto our need for certainty or normalcy.

Have you had a relationship go toxic because you shared a viewpoint that threatened another person’s bias?  It’s like yanking their oxygen tank when they are desperately trying to breathe. If that sounds dangerous to do, you are right. 

The Threat It Poses     

The Normalcy Bias blinds us to dangers that are coming.   I looked at the lines of refugees leaving Ukraine.   Did they have a normalcy bias in place?  Russian troops  waited on their border for days. That was a red flag!  But even I made it smaller than it was.   I never dreamt Russia would do what they are doing.  

I saw a six year old Ukrainian boy weeping on his exodus towards Poland.  His grief and weariness were apparent in his body.  I was so sad for him.  

From reports I’ve heard, the people of Ukraine thought Russia would flex their muscles a bit and that was all. They bulked up a bit on grocery items in case things got bad.  They absolutely underestimated their enemy.

“The confirmed civilian toll in Ukraine is 691 people killed and 1,143 wounded, the United Nations human rights office says, adding the true figures were probably “considerably higher”. According to Zelenskyy, 97 Ukrainian children have died since the invasion began.”

It is not realistic that all of Ukraine would up and leave as the Russians moved in.  I am only saying, we have had peace for some time and this causes us to believe that things will go on in like manner. 

In argument for the folks who believe things will be okay, has been.  Things have always simmered down and gone back to normal.  That is also why 'normal' is so strong. 

There is a collective trillion of us who pick up the pieces and get back to what we love doing.    I love normal!  I love eating out and shopping at stores I can walk into. Life is a celebration for the senses.  

But can you sense there is something bigger happening?  It just feels different. I think Spidey senses need to be given some stage time.  Pay attention to when your gut instinct is trying to tell you something.


I began typing this article and realized that I had a normalcy bias in place regarding what   Russia could do to us way over here in America….they can’t do anything…we’d never be hit…

Snap to:

Okay, where are my iodide pills I bought fifteen years ago and are they still  good?  I tend to throw off the normalcy glasses.  But I didn’t use to.

Shushing Mom

My mom has been a conspiracy theorist and thought the sky was falling since before I was born.  I have no idea what she lived through that made her so crazy.  As her children, we would shush her.  We couldn't take her in public.  

However,  as the years have passed and we’ve seen things develop we have all grown quiet. She said things that were spot on and gradually, some of us became preppers (and not a moment too soon).

Today, I am SO grateful I threw off the normalcy bias lens.   These uprisings and tumults are happening so close together. 

We just recover from one thing and then another bomb goes off.  We are suffering as a collective world family.

The problem of the normalcy bias is that a person has a greater chance of misery and premature death. 


They may not adapt well  to change (they deny the possibility of it).

They don’t have resources in place to keep them alive.

If they do, it may be  inadequate.

People on the Flip Side

People on the flip side (like mom, or this guy)  believe all things are possible.

Mom doesn’t like what she is hearing or seeing but she  pauses to  assimilate the data.   

Is mom fun to be around at a family reunion?  No.  The normal folks don't come anymore or they  take their plate of food and make a bee-line to Aunt Jude.  Her cat  stories beat sitting near the conspiracy theorist.     

There is a taint of  shame when you believe horrific things can happen to us.  No one wants your cooties.  No one wants that smell, or their picnic ruined.

But you know who is going to be eating Chicken-a-la-king, like a King?  Mom (and him, tin-fro-guy).

At any other time….

At any other time in history the conspiracy theorist talked WAY OVER THE TOP.  But now that we are actually in some over the top situations….It is not  a bad side to err on.

I have thanked  my mom and apologized for being a snarky kid.

We don’t like our oxygen tanks rattled.  But when we have a prepper in the family and the skies fill with smoke, we are silently relieved .  But silently, because…you know that taint of crazy can still rub off and you gotta maintain cool and collected.  

So be kind to each other,  whether Normal-biased or Conspiracy-Theorist.  We are both trying to survive the best we can.  We probably have both mindsets going at different times, depending on the month.

The objective of this article is to convince folks to be a little more urgent about getting prepared.  Throw off the shame of smelling like a crazy person, consult with your loved ones, make tin-hats, have fun as you shove tuna under your bed.  

Step on Prep on and Enjoy a trip through our website.  We’ve got  gear to help you and your family be ready. 

Here are some of my favorites:

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