Sunday, May 3, 2009

More on My 'Don't Panic' Theory

In the course of the year and a half or so that I have been writing this blog, one of my main messages has been not to panic. No matter what is happening, adding panic to the mix does not help. Here you will find an article which once again shows how panic has created more problems than the actual problem itself (ie: the swine flu). Financial crisis? People panic. Rice crisis? People panic. Panicking and behaving irrationally doesn't fix the original problem. What's worse, the media feeds off of people panicking which is great for video and sound bites, quite sad for the people who are reacting poorly.
Here's an idea. When you come across a problem which would send the general public into a panic and bring the media out of the woodwork to report on the general population panicking and behaving irrationally, take these steps:
  • Identify the core problem
  • Get educated about the problem (read about the entire issue from knowledgeable sources; include background information, best possible out come, worst possible outcome, mitigation possibilities, etc)
  • Observe how the media and the general population are reacting to the problem (you probably won't want to react this way)
  • Create your own plan to address the issue (do this by looking at all of your options and thinking of ways to address the problem--you get extra points for "thinking outside the box")
  • React, on your own terms. By all means try some avoidance tactics (switch to potatoes if there is a rice shortage, build up your emergency fund even more if a financial crisis is looming, isolate yourself for a period of time until the flu passes by, etc). Avoidance of a problem is often the most efficient and effective reaction rather than hitting a problem head on. Also remember to be flexible. Just because things should go a certain way, doesn't mean that they will, so react in a flexible manner--fluidly like water rather than solidly like a rock.

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