Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Fatal Flaw in Out of Sight, Out of Mind

I think the greatest illusion we have is that denial protects us. It's actually the biggest distortion and lie. In fact, staying asleep is what's killing us – Eve Ensler

My blog yesterday, Morals - Setting the Bar Lower, had two images that some people found offensive.

I knew it would – that’s why I used them. :-)

The funny thing with both images, one being of Miley Cyrus in her over-the-top actions at the VMAs on Sunday and one being from an HBO special from last year, was that they were front and center in the media and so people had to have experienced them before.

That’s what I thought, at least.

I asked one person who wrote to me about what he found offensive about the images and his answer really struck me.

Here it is:

Dear Mr. Tucker,

I know that such things exist in the world.

However, seeing the images on your blog remind me of them.  When I don’t see images like this, I don’t have to think about those things in the world.

It is the same reason I don’t watch the news.  I find that when I don’t hear about the problems in the world, I can pretend they are not there and remain optimistic about our future.

Thank you for asking for my opinion so respectfully.

<<name removed>>

While I respect this person’s opinion, it reminded me of a blog I wrote back in 2010, Is Optimism Killing Us?, where I mused:

But until we acknowledge that oftentimes there really are difficult and challenging obstacles that must be overcome first, we will still be smiling with the deer-in-the-headlights look when the thing we pretended wasn’t there runs right over us, whether it be a personal failure, a corporate blunder or a government collapse.


Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel may actually be a train.  If I deny it’s a train, it will run right over me.

But if I acknowledge it is a train, then I can work to solve the problem and convert the light at the end of the tunnel into a ray of hope.

It also reminded me of this blog that I wrote in 2011, Strategy 101: What Are Your Objectives?, where I noted this method of dealing with reality:

We can wait and hope that the right solution magically appears.

However, if that is the strategy, I fear we will run out of time long before that happens.

The oil light on the dashboard of our planet has just illuminated.  That’s ok – we can cover it up with a piece of tape.

Meanwhile, the low gas light has just illuminated.  No problem – wherever we travel, we need to make sure we are going downhill with a strong tailwind to help keep us going.

Ah, but now the brakes are squealing really loudly.  That’s why we have a radio – we just turn it up and the problem disappears.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately being reactive while avoiding reality is not going to get us where we need to go much longer, despite our intention to pretend otherwise.

The ostrich that chooses to stick its head in the sand instead of dealing with the situation at hand ends up being highlighted on websites like this – in the cooking section of the American Ostrich Association.

If we don’t choose to deal with reality, whether it is the project deadline that is impossible, the team member that is tearing our project apart, facing public opinion regarding a difficult choice, a personal relationship that is sinking us or whatever the issue we is, then at some point that reality will deal with us.

Unfortunately, the situation will be resolved on its / their terms and not ours.

Pain deferred so that we can deal with things later (or not at all) often becomes pain amplified.

And while it is easy (and human nature) to defer facing the pain until you are forced to, wouldn’t it be better to deal with it now while the terms and results are still potentially within your control?

So … in that case, what are you waiting for?

In service and servanthood,



Here is an example of how “out of sight, out of mind” can be fatal.

A report that was released with little fanfare and little media attention a couple of weeks ago indicated that many U.S. nuclear power and research facilities are vulnerable to terrorist attack.

While some facilities are vulnerable to classic terrorist attacks, some are vulnerable to attack by weapons legally available to the average US citizen.

Most disturbing of all, the report also describes examples of infiltration, such as one where an American citizen, suspected of al Qaeda membership, worked for five different US nuclear power
plants from 2002 to 2008 after passing federal background checks.

Acknowledging that such exposure exists, while frightening, is the first step to addressing it.

No comments:

Post a Comment