Serendipity and Risk
One of the great challenges for traditional safety is the problem of uncertainty, unpredictability and luck. I have written before about luck:
Of course, the delusions of big data and predictive analytics (https://www.pwc.com.au/consulting/safety-analytics.html; https://www.worley.com/our-thinking/improve-safety-with-predictive-analytics; https://safetymanagement.eku.edu/blog/using-predictive-analytics-to-predict-and-prevent-workplace-injuries/ ) is the nonsense idea that the future can be determined. How strange this juggling of determinism and free will by this immature industry. On one hand it claims ‘safety is a choice you make’ and then on the other it states that the future can be ‘determined’ and controlled??? If ‘all accidents are preventable’, then there can be no luck. Only to say, that this nonsense mantra simply demonstrates the stupidity of an industry in denial of hindsight bias.
On the ground and in the real world most people believe in luck, because they experience ‘good’ and ‘bad’ luck. This is how the risk industry and insurance developed, from the realization of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fortune. The god Fortuna didn’t get her name by chance (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortuna). Indeed, as a Roman cult the notion of gambling and testing risk was accepted knowledge and intelligence. Not so the safety industry.
I wrote about the nature of gambling in my first book Risk Makes Sense (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/risk-makes-sense/ ). The gambling industry makes a ‘fortune’ off Fortuna. It appears that the average Australian believes in fortune, luck and unpredictability. Not so the safety industry. Because if you admit luck, there can be no zero!
Many people believe in luck and bad luck as a ‘force’. Something one can tap into or fall prey too. We even say, ‘you make you’re own luck’.
How must the general populace feel when they see this silly industry with its silly mantras and beliefs in denial of the realities of risk?
All of our language about risk has emerged from the language of: fortune, assurance, fallibility (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/fallibility-risk-living-uncertainty/ ) and gambling. The reason why Safety undertakes its many rituals in risk assessment is to try and control the unpredictable. The when something goes wrong it returns to equally dumb paper-based processes like iCam and Bow-Tie (https://safetyrisk.net/bow-tie-bs/ ) to try and understand the unpredictable that it denies in zero! You couldn’t make such craziness up! Rather than admit risk, this industry lives by dumb mantras and contradictory beliefs in denial of fallibility, all dictated by the delusion of zero and injury rates as a measure of safety. All of this gobbledygook in belief really demonstrates the industry has a mental health problem.
If you do believe in good and bad luck then you’re likely to be more resilient and less surprised when things go wrong. The expectation that everything will always go right is a recipe for arrogance and hubris which in itself guarantees greater risk blindness.
The idea of serendipity is understood a ‘fluke’ of something going your way. Ever bought the same car as a friend and yours is a ‘lemon’ and theirs is a dream?
There is actually research on the nature of serendipity (https://psyche.co/guides/how-to-open-up-to-serendipity-and-create-your-own-luck? ) and why good and bad luck seem to befall some people. Although, always more likely that it is the ‘hot hand syndrome’. Such research even tries to put a rational spin on this phenomenon. Of course, the reality is we don’t know and never will know about why ‘fortune favours the brave’. Similarly, setting up a 9 step process to fostering serendipity is just as delusional as the insane beliefs of this zero industry.
This is why safety-as-zero now has to conjure up remarkable faith-belief in zero as a religious-like god (https://safetyrisk.net/the-spirit-of-zero/ ) to ensure protection against the god Fortuna, even though luck is denied. Such spiritualizing of zero offers no other explanation than zero is a cult (https://safetyrisk.net/no-evidence-for-the-religion-of-zero/ ).
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