Having control in our lives is a basic human need, and a lack of it leads to depression and anxiety, but pursuing control to relieve anxiety can lead some people to become "control freaks", impinging on the lives of people around them. Finding the right balance is the key.
Humans evolved as social animals to defend themselves from predators and other threats. Being rejected from the group was probably as good as death for early humans, left to survive on their own. We fear public speaking because we fear rejection, equating this on a primal level with the risk of dying alone.
As Hurricane Sandy nears the East Coast, many are preparing and evacuating but not everyone will head the warnings. It is said that experience is the best teacher, but experience teaches us the wrong lesson about rare risks, leading many to think rare risks like hurricanes will never hurt them.
People are not always open or honest about sex, and don't always fully understand it, but by telling their stories anonymously in The Sex Diaries Project, people reveal the risks they take and why they take them.
Climate change is a big problem without quick or easy answers, making denial an attractive solution. Real solutions should avoid the fear, anxiety, and gloom that drive us toward denial and away from better answers.
When looking for clues about the origin of humanity, the Great Rift Valley in East Africa is the place to go. One view is that humanity was shaped by a changing climate in this ancient region, making us highly adaptable and the dominant species on Earth today, ushering in a new era of climate change we're dealing with today.
How we see risks in our lives is the result of millions of years of evolution that shaped our species, making us who we are today. Predators were a major evolutionary force, driving early human development as a social species, and enabling our role as the dominant species on Earth today.
We see our world through a warped lens, shaped by the risks our ancestors faced through human evolution. We're still on the lookout for predators and snakes, but have a hard time dealing with long-term risks like climate change or rare risks like earthquakes and financial collapses. By better understanding how we see risks, we can do a better job at dealing with them.