Overly Cautious Much?

As I was boiling some macaroni the picture of the glowing heat coil after I’ve turned the knob to the off position, and slid the pot over got me thinking: have we as an industrialized society become overly cautious? Are we too concerned about the “one time that <insert fearful event here> might happen”?

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Observe that between the time I slid that pot and the time my phone actually captured the shot, that heat coil is still glowing amber.

From what I’ve heard, condos, apartments, and townhomes stopped putting gas hookups for stoves because it’s a fire risk; hence, electric stoves. I get it. It’s very possible for a gas stove’s flame to get snuffed out and gas continues to flow filling up the house. When the refrigerator compressor goes off… pic-pac-boom there went the building.

Before I go further, I want to make it clear that I’m not downplaying anyone suffering from any phobia. What I’m trying to get at is whether we’ve been so conditioned to do all we can to eliminate risk that deep down in our core we want to bubble wrap ourselves from ourselves.

In statistics, for an outcome to be considered guaranteed, the study needs to show that a thing (medicine, procedure, gizmo) produced the expected at least “99.7%” of the time (see the “68-95-99.7 rule” for more details). That means that 0.3% of the time, it may not work. I can’t help but wonder if here in the US we, as a society, have gotten to focus on the 0.3% chance that something will go wrong. Are things like “safety first” slogans, tamper proofing, childproofing, “contracts that limits our liability”, lawsuits all stemming from that hyper-focus on the possibility that something could go wrong?

I wonder how many people have undiscovered talents or passion because their minds won’t even entertain the idea of trying something out; because, trying is venturing into the 0.3%. So, on and on they go through life wondering why they can’t seem to be content. I think the worst case is refusing to even acknowledge the existence of God–or any higher power for that matter; because, living in faith takes risk. Yet, at the end of it all, risk is part of existing in this world. A mere breath risks inhaling an allergen that’ll seal your throat shut and choke you to death.

I think we, as a society, would do better to switch from risk mitigation to risk management. To me, risk management is making a conscious decision that I’ve dealt with the risk factors that I can deal with. Everything else is not a factor given the grand scheme of things. When I’ve gone flying, after checking the plane from nose to tail, top to bottom. Is it still possible that one of the main gears falls off the plane on take off? Yes, it is. Did it ever stop me? Nope. I plan to buy a lotto ticket if it happens though.

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