Podcast #27

This is NOT a blog on vaccines!
Teddy bear with vaccine needle
Everything in life has risks! Human tendency and biases affect our decisions and tend to lead us to INACTION, instead of ACTION or CHANGE to improve our lives!
Just like vaccines, EVERYTHING in life has risks. As humans, the natural tendency is to use the PERCEPTION of the risk, instead of the actual risk, to decide whether or not an action is ‘worth’ the risk.

Risk vs. Reward is a constant decision we make, a MILLION times a day, and we do it without even knowing.
RISK: car accident, contributing to carbon emissions, wear-and-tear on the car, lack of exercise if you walked/biked
REWARD: get there directly and faster, avoid dangers of cycling/transit, more convenient.

RISK: heart disease, obesity, choking on blueberries

RISK: Lung cancer, asthma, expensive
REWARD: Feed the addiction, calming effect

Some of these risks are minimal and the reward out-weighs the risks so we do them anyways.

Some of the risks are high but we do them anyways because our perception of the risk is minimal or we cannot connect ourselves to the risk, or the reward is worth the risk.
Surfer with faded images of sharks in the air.
Weighing risks and rewards are decisions we make everyday. Risks are real, however our PERCEIVED RISKS are what usually drive our actions.
‘Anti-vaxxers’ exist because of two main reasons:
1. Their PERCEIVED RISK of the vaccine is higher than that of the disease.
2. Humans are more adverse to performing an ACTION that leads to a negative result, than performing an INACTION that leads to a negative result. 

Studies have shown that the perceived risk of an INACTION must be anywhere form 2.5-100x HIGHER than the perceived risk of the ACTION for humans to take action.
Ex. A parent’s perceived risk of the disease must be 2.5-100x HIGHER than their perceived risk of the vaccine for them to vaccinate.
“The devil you know vs. The devil you don’t”
What do these studies tell us about humans and life?
We are afraid to ACT and cause a change in our lives that MIGHT be worse. We would rather suffer and endure a situation that isn’t great, than RISK a change that might not be better!

Knowing this information, knowing that as a human your tendency is likely to NOT ACT and NOT CHANGE your situation in FEAR of it getting worse, you can remove this bias and look at your life more objectively. You have the choice to accurately assess your risks, so you don’t miss opportunities and experiences in life because you have a fear that is over-exaggerated.

Say you hate your job, you dread going to work, you don’t like your boss and co-workers, it is a stale and unhappy environment. Why don’t you quit?

You may be AFRAID of not getting another job, AFRAID that the next job will be harder, worse, scarier, etc. You may be afraid that you aren’t good enough for a different job, or a different partner or life-style. You may be AFRAID to move states/countries, to uproot your life to a different location.

Now, imaging that the odds of that new job being worse are the same as the odds of a vaccine causing an adverse reaction (we all know they exist, the risk is just very small)...
Now would you change jobs???
long-horn bull
In order to find happiness and satisfaction, and to live life to the fullest, you need to grab life by the horns and make it happen. Life won’t happen to you, you need to make it happen! By removing over-exaggerated fears you can better make those choices that improve your life!
The biggest problem is that humans don’t want to perform an ACTION that causes harm. By simply looking at INACTION AS A CHOICE you eliminate this bias.

This also works when talking to clients, make the ‘inaction’ a choice.

By making inaction a choice, you can properly assess the two options on an equal footing and remove that natural bias of being afraid of change.

Since ‘change’ is scary, the perceived risk of it increases in our minds. By critically evaluating the risks of both the ‘action’ and ‘inaction’ choices, making a detailed and specific pros/cons list of each, you can help remove the bias and make a more accurate and realistic decision.

In order to remove your own fears/biases, take your life and try to look at it from the outside-in. Assess each option and give yourself the advice you would give your best friend! This way you can remove those biases that are unconsciously affecting all of your decisions.

butterfly coming out of cucoon
Change is part of life and growth, and the diving board for opportunity! Don’t be afraid of change!
Change is not bad, change is good. Change promotes growth, change provides opportunity. Change shouldn’t necessarily be pursued just for the sake of change (See blog on ‘Considerations Before you Quit’), but change shouldn’t be avoided due to fear.

In order to determine the true risks of actions you need to get some data! Do some research, find out what other job opportunities exist, find out what the cost/benefit ratio would be if you moved states, get detailed numbers on salaries, cost of living, cost of childcare, etc.

No matter what choice you are facing: changing jobs, going back to school, staying at home vs. paying for day-care, moving, changing relationships, or yes, even vaccinating… do your research (with GOOD data... including contacting clinics/real-estate agents, etc... or well designed double-blind controlled studies). Get good data to make decisions based on fact, and not emotion!
Our natural human tendency is to avoid change! By addressing this bias and approaching each choice in life with solid data and by placing the ‘inaction’ choice on the same footing as the ‘action’ choice, you can take control of your decisions and make the best choices possible to get your life where you want it!

If you feel that you need help deciding what is best for you in terms of your professional career and need an outside opinion to help you break through your biases and emotions, check out our KICK ASS Consulting . Or, have you made a scary change in your life and want to show off how well you have done? Contact Us or share your story about how you kicked ass on our Facebook Page or Instagram!
Written by Dr. Ann Herbst BSc, DVM

Published February 3, 2020

Advocate for yourself, you are the only one that will!

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