Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt.
FUD is responsible for millions of deferred decisions each day. It stops us from embracing reality, moving forward and dealing with our circumstances. FUD doesn’t make you conservative or liberal. It makes you stick to the Status Quo.
The Status Quo is the universal remedy for FUD. You might be in a terrible situation either personally or professionally, but FUD makes you avoid changing anything because the new reality might be even worse.
Famous incorrect words: “It couldn’t get any worse!”
Of course things can always get worse, but they can also get better. FUD is wired into our brains back when a bad decision would literally cause us to die. Imagine some early caveman who said, “I love change! I wonder what would happen if I went into the woods at night?” [sounds of bears eating caveman] Obviously, that “devil may care” attitude has been mostly bred out of us. The ones who survived are the ones who had a healthy dose of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt about any changes to the status quo.
So we have this ancient fear of being eaten by a bear, but we live in a society with smart phones and cars and laser beams. We clearly have the capacity to shhh our inner caveman, at least sometimes.
As a UX Designer, I always avoid asking people to ignore their inner caveman. Rather, I use the caveman to delight customers with animations and other psychological tricks. However, in life, you are better off ignoring the caveman and modifying your point of view.
I think the appeal of Donald Trump to his base is largely about FUD. New technologies, new ethnic realities, new economic truths…all of these create a disturbance in the Status Quo. “Make America Great Again” is code for “Go back to the status quo when we didn’t feel FUD.” Its code for returning to a more racist past. The past, no matter how terrible (and for many americans, the past was a much scarier and sad place) it is still knowable and therefore not scary.
At work, I am designing software that disrupts the status quo. Therefore, I have to deal with FUD. In fact, I’m up to my eyes in it.
If you really thought about it, your behavior was recently influenced by FUD. Do you care? Maybe it feels safer to not care. Because if you changed…who knows if it would be for the better or for the worse?
Something to ponder.