I read an interesting Time article that talked about our propensity to worry about things that we really shouldn’t worry about, and not to worry so much about things we should!
Many people worry about the risk of accident and yet of the 2.5 million people who died in the US in 2003 only 4% died from accidents. On the other hand 2.3 million of those 2.5 million died from some sort of disease … with heart disease and cancer accounting for more than half of all deaths in the US.
Drawing from those conclusions one big disconnect identified is the concern about avian flu which has killed nobody in the US … on the other hand the regular flu kills 36,000 Americans each year, and still people avoid the flu shot!
Each year the cholesterol from the fatty foods we eat contribute to heart disease that kills 700,000 Americans annually, yet the fear of mad cow disease gets all the press. Nobody has died from mad cow disease, and the fast food industry continues to thrive.
Despite the obvious conclusions about what really kills people we continue to do things that are counter intuitive. We are concerned about flying yet we will drive our cars too fast, run red lights and avoid seat belts. The statistics suggest that about 44,000 Americans are killed in car accidents as opposed to maybe 100 in plane crashes.
We human beings are interesting creatures, and often the decisions we make, the concerns we have are not really based on hard facts or even good statistics. I wrote a blog some time ago about the kind of fears that sales people have which are not based on facts. Obviously a little different slant than this article but in some ways the same, an old English saying comes to mind: “There is nowt so queer as folk!” (Rough translation “People are strange”)