The deadly, quick-spreading coronavirus has the entire world gripped in panic. There is no cure, and precious little information on how it spreads, what to do to prevent catching it or how to respond if you think you have it. Governments, groups and individuals are being forced to make life determining decisions with limited time, knowledge or resources. There have been, and will continue to be, poor decisions made on all levels.
One thing that will help is understanding the causes of catastrophic decisions so we can avoid making them. The calamity of poor decisions has long been recognized by aviators. A bad decision by a pilot is often fatal. Learning to avoid bad decisions is life preservation for pilots. This now applies to us all. In their classic book, Human Factors in General Aviation, Trollop and Jensen (1991) identified the 5 hazardous attitudes that most often lead to disastrous decisions. If you feel any of these attitudes overcoming you, or sense these attitudes in others, reassess your decisions before disaster comes calling.
- Antiauthority: “What do those medical/government/academic/news people know?”
- Impulsiveness (i.e., PANIC!): “Do SOMETHING, ANYTHING, NOW!”
- Invulnerability: “It can’t happen to me.”
- Bravado: “I’m tough. It can’t hurt me.”
- Resignation: “I’ll just go along with the crowd.”
In these challenging times, get the best information you can from the most reliable sources you can find. Then follow the experts’ recommendations that make the most sense to you and your situation. In the words of Star Trek’s Mr. Spock may you “live long and prosper.”
Trollop, S. & Jensen, R. (1991). Human factors for general aviation. Englewood, CO: Jeppesen Sanderson.