Coronavirus: Why Do People Act in Undisciplined Manner?

By Sonja Tatarin Ragaji

I'm pretty sure one of the most googled words this year is a coronavirus. And, there is a good reason why this is a hot topic.


The current situation is very unstable and dangerous for most people. It affects individuals, groups and communities- the entire world is in crisis.


Despite the real and objective danger we are all exposed to, I have noticed that many people don’t follow the advice of the competent authorities.


Is it a lack of information? I wouldn't say so, because the media and the general public are constantly talking about one thing- Coronavirus. You can hear often about safety measures and tips on how to protect yourself in this moment of crisis. However, some people still behave in an undisciplined and irresponsible manner. They look at people with masks and gloves with a sneer refusing to maintain the recommended social distance, etc. They usually all have the same attitude: “No one/nothing can do anything to me/us”.


The fact is, we are all in the same situation. However, even though we are all exposed to the same information, I can see two opposing reactions. 


Based on years of experience working as a psychologist with people of different profiles, I can say that many factors influence this. One of them is the so-called phenomenon - the illusion of control.


Illusion of Control


Our spheres of influence are big, but definitely not endless. We are aware we cannot fully control what will happen to us. We just feel safer and better if we believe we can control it. This feeling of control over our lives is often illusory.


The illusion of control is the tendency of humans to believe that they can influence the outcomes that are beyond their control.


People tend to overestimate the ability to control events - from “avoiding” disasters to “making” good things happen, like for example controlling weather. Participants in a lottery experiment often believe they have more personal control over the outcome if they choose their numbers rather than having them randomly assigned. People believe they are less likely to have a car accident when they are driving than if they’re riding in the passenger seat. People whose behaviour is determined by the illusion of control are often insensitive to feedback and prone to risky behaviour.


Mentally healthy people tend to have illusions of control. However, the Illusion of control also has positive sides because it sometimes motivates people to persist at tasks when they might otherwise give up. 


If you do everything that's in your power and try to bring about a positive outcome, you have done everything under your control. The key is to be flexible. Once a person figures out “Ok, I really don’t have control over this at all,” she can begin practising flexibility and conserve her energy for those matters that they really can influence.


The truth is that in the current corona situation we have very little control. When we stay at home, we increase the control over the situation and we increase the likelihood that we will not become infected. Every time we go out, we lose that same control and thus increase the chance that we will become infected.


Crisis time as a chance to change for the better


The bottom line is to accept that as human species we are very vulnerable and that we should take all necessary preventative measures to protect ourselves and our loved ones.


Now is the right time to have hobbies and books that you haven't had the time for. Make a list of movies you've always wanted to watch. Call your family and friends. Working out is also possible at home and it is a guaranteed way to make you feel better. Organize your closet. Learn to cook new recipes.


Yes, this situation is bad, but it won't last forever. It depends on us how long it will take.  Our mind can make the next weeks enjoyable.




So, do you choose to perceive the coronavirus situation as something unbearable or as a possibility to spend some precious time with your thoughts and work on personal development and recovery? The second option is undoubtedly much more interesting and constructive, wouldn’t you agree? :) 


It's up to you. Your power is in you.


Remember, being at home now could save hundreds of lives. Let us all be heroes. 


My colleagues from Bee IT and I have chosen the option not to ignore the warnings to stay inside and give the virus a chance to spread. How about you?


About the author

Sonja Tatarin Ragaji

 HR Manager

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