Why is the ostrich hiding its head

Ostrich effect: deny, look away, evade

You have to be very clear: We humans are masters at self-shit. Even more: If problems arise, our strategy is often - deny, look away, evade, bury your head in the sand. What I can't see doesn't exist ... Ostrich effect Is this psychological phenomenon called in technical jargon or also Ostrich policy (Ostrich is the English word for ostrich). And of course that's a pretty stupid quality of us. Unfortunately, problems have a stupid habit of growing when we close our eyes to them - until they turn into disasters ...

Ostrich Effect: Why we bury our heads in the sand

Actually they are Signals clearly: Something is wrong.

The colleague or boss, boyfriend or girlfriend react differently than usual. Something was wrong on what has just been said, a wrong word, a wrong string that has been intoned - and now everything sounds crooked and crooked ...

There are few people who like that atmospheric disturbances not perceive. But there are very many who cannot deal with it: They keep talking and ignore the disharmonies, change the subject, the interlocutor or simply walk away. But at the next meeting it is still in the room. And now it's even harder to speak openly about that.

It's like one Smoldering firethat secretly continues to blaze behind the closed door. If you wait too long without doing anything and then suddenly push the door open, you risk a veritable backdraft.

The renowned American behavioral economist George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University was the first to describe the behavior of investors who bought theirs Better to stick your head in the sandwhen the stock market bearish will: Wait, sit out and hope even though the stock market is at a rapid drop.

Voilà the Ostrich effect (PDF) was born.

“Knowing that something really bad is happening is far more painful than knowing that it could happen. So some hold out and hope that it will get better "says Loewenstein.

The fatal thing about this effect, however, is that as soon as we find ourselves in this state of shock, we will resistant against any new information, warning, or advice. But above all: we become passive.

The ostrich effect is also a major reason why itself otherwise smart people Stuck at one point in their career or have been in an unhealthy relationship privately for years. In short: the ostrich effect prevents us from seeing what needs to be done and from doing it.

It is clear to all of us: You can't hide from problems.

Ostrich Effect: Like the rabbit in front of the snake

The effect also occurs when we are in the always the same routines or discussions lose and get stuck with colleagues or the boss. The same conversations over and over again that lead to nothing but a bad mood and the feeling of walking through cement.

But with that Looking away and dodging we only develop more fear of a new encounter of this kind. And we also use an incredible amount of energy for this avoidance tactic. Even more and more.

It's like the so-called Depletion effect - the paradox of procrastination: when we try to make it easier for us, we actually make it harder for ourselves. We may save some energy now push us from responsibility - but that has consequences. Nevertheless, it drains our resources because afterwards we have to make up all the harder for what we put off before.

The solution is as banally simple as it is incredibly difficult to implement: Not eyes closed and through, but open eyes and straight towards it:

  • Pronounce instead of hushing up.
  • Act instead of waiting.
  • The bull by the horns pack instead of throwing red towels.

As soon as you feel the mood, you could say, for example:

I think I just said something incredibly stupid. Sorry…

Or ask in a meeting:

Why is it that we keep getting to this point - but never beyond? Let's talk about it openly. Why do we cling to this regularly?

Realistically there is only two thingsthat prevent us from:

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