‘I am a safe driver because I have never met with an accident.’
‘Our traditional diet is the best. My grandparents lived and died healthy.’
‘In 20 years, I have never needed to go to a doctor. Why should I go now?’
How often have we heard that line of reasoning?
Now let us consider the life of a turkey raised in a farm. For three years, the turkey is fed every single day. Its well being steadily increases and the bird learns to trust and love its human caregivers. And then, the afternoon before thanksgiving, the bird is forced to make a drastic revision to its beliefs.
Nassim Taleb uses the parable of the Thanksgiving turkey to illustrate our inability to foresee unexpected events that can derail our lives. The problem here is that our own past experience, like the turkey’s, ends up blinding us further.
Danger is a rude guest because it can often show up uninvited and without precedent.