In The Black Swan Taleb discusses how we worry about the things that don’t happen — specifically in Chapter 9 he mentions a casino’s risk management strategy of managing losses from cheaters, dealing with the high rollers, etc. But they failed to anticipate a tiger freaking out and maiming an irreplaceable performer, a lazy employee hiding IRS forms in his desk instead of filing them, etc. It’s not that the casino refused to consider the unexpected, but they planned for the wrong misfortunes.
I’m reminded of how my mother relentlessly prepared for an earthquake, but then got slammed with inoperable cancer. As I went through her things after her death, she had the sets of extra clothing, the food and water kits, blankets, radio, etc. — all the proper emergency items safely put up in a waterproof storage container in a shed behind the house.
I too have my favorite set of potential disasters to obsess over … and most likely none of them will occur, going by past experience. Other bad things will happen however, things I haven’t thought of or planned for.
Either I should figure out how to worry more accurately or quit altogether. I tell myself this, but the wings of worry still beat in my head regardless of utility.