There are a number of other elements that prevent people from taking postive action in the face of change or crisis.

Apart from fear of failure which alone can be a major stumbling block to action and crucially, averting threats, I have summarised the following list from Jared Diamond’s book Collapse. Bear in mind these points are looking at decisions from a civilisation perspective and whether they choose to succeed or fail. They are timely considerations.

1) Failure to Anticipate

This can happen for a number of reasons:

  • New components mixing = unknown outcome. For example, introducing new species into different environments can have unforeseen consequences. The Cane toad epidemic in Australia is one example.

  • Lack of information. Such information can vary from general – such as lack of weather reports and data, to specific – like what to do when the ocean water recedes suddenly: As in the tradgedy a number of boxing days ago – RUN! A Tsunami is on its way.


  • Using inappropriate analogies. This occurs when foreign cultural ideas and strategies are used to make sense of new environments. It may appear well and good to ban Inuit people killing whales, but when their lives literally depend on their oils this can have disastrous consequences on the community.

2) Failure to Perceive

This happens when the threat or changes are difficult or impossible to detect. This can vary from simply inadequate observation technologies to more complicated combinations such as:

  • Slow trends. Threats or changes are often masked by up & down fluctuations which can be seen in phenomena such sunspot activity through to seasonal changes. In the marketplace, this may be influences by economic and technological changes.

  • Appointed problem-solvers are not aware of the problem. That is, the system may have resources dedicated to problem solving, but they may be literally too far from the problem. This is often why executives of big companies like to visit all aspects of their business.

  • Creeping normalcy. This is often illustrated using the boiling frog analogy.