Skip to content
Ostrich Effect - What is it?

Ostrich Tactics - How We Deceive Ourselves and Avoid Problems

What is the ostrich tactic? If you want to know more about this psychological phenomenon, you've come to the right place! We humans regularly face problems and challenges. But some seem so big that we prefer to bury our heads in the sand to avoid them. True to the motto: What I cannot see does not exist. A behavior that is otherwise more familiar from children, when they cover their eyes and shout "Lalala, I can't hear you". But as we have all had to painfully experience at some point, problems grow and have more serious consequences if we don't deal with their solution.

In this article, I would therefore like to provide you with everything you need to know about the ostrich tactic. From the definition, to the reference to the sustainable lifeto the possibilities of specifically preventing the often reflexive self-deception. Let's go!

What is the ostrich tactic?

Under the Ostrich tactics (also as Ostrich Effect or Ostrich policy is the attempt to solve problems by ignoring them and, so to speak, by ignoring the problem. Head in the sand is hidden. It is therefore a psychological phenomenon of hiding a (usually uncomfortable) truth or a challenging, impending danger from ourselves.

Tip: A similar phenomenon from psychology is the cognitive dissonance. A state of feeling that is perceived as unpleasant and is the result of an inner conflict. You can find out more about this in the linked article.

What does "sticking your head in the sand" have to do with sustainability?

Within a few months, our society could shed the behaviors that have contributed significantly to the Environmental problems of our time contribute. We could theoretically stop jetting around the world right now, generate electricity exclusively from renewable energy sources, ban single-use plastic products and stop eating and wearing animal body parts. All of this would have a massively positive impact on protecting our planet - and not least our health.

"The purest form of insanity is to leave everything as it is and hope that something will change."

 Albert Einstein

Nevertheless, we prefer to continue destroying the only planet we have because these changes seem too blatant and unrealizable and we don't want to be restricted. We bury our heads in the sand and ignore the problems and the fact that our everyday behavior has something to do with the fact that they exist at all.

Not only do we ignore them, we even try to find counter-arguments to justify this destructive action. "The pictures from the abattoir are not from here - in our country humanely slaughtered", "The one straw doesn't make a difference after all", "Rainforest is cut down for soy? Only vegans eat that!" or "You've flown before, haven't you?" are typical reactions to the obviously sensible suggestion to live a little more sustainably and not at the expense of others.

The restrained climate policy of our government can therefore be confidently described as an ostrich policy and the resigned or denying behavior of individual people in relation to a more sustainable lifestyle as an ostrich tactic. But we know that problems that are postponed become bigger and bigger over time...

What can be done to prevent the ostrich tactic?

Prevent ostrich tactics - head high

Ignoring does not make the problem go away - On the contrary: it gets bigger. If you actually wanted to avoid unpleasant stress, it will come back to you in a more massive form in the future. If you discover the ostrich tactic in yourself or other people, the following things can help:

  • Inform: Before you form too firm an opinion or rigidly insist on your shaky opinion, first find out more about the topic in question. New insights could change your mind without having to bury your head in the sand.
  • Be brave: A lack of courage is one of the reasons why we hide from problems. Learn to become more self-confident and aim for the best-case scenario rather than the worst-case scenario when faced with challenges.
  • See advantages: We usually see having to change ourselves or our own attitude as an exhausting disadvantage. However, possible changes bring many advantages that you should focus on.
  • Be insightful: Our pride is another reason for the ostrich tactic. Therefore, learn to be insightful and overcome your pride when appropriate.
  • Be open: Be open to change or new insights instead of closing yourself off or clinging to points of view that are no longer logical.

The motto is: don't bury your head in the sand and close your eyes. approach the problem with head held high and eyes open on. See it as a challenge that needs to be successfully mastered. And not as a problem that you want to cowardly avoid.

Tip: Find out here, for example, why i live veganif you have always reflexively waved off the word "vegan".

Ostrich tactics? You benefit if you specifically avoid them

No matter what truth you are trying to avoid: if you allow it, accept it and adjust your attitudes and behaviors, you can only benefit from it. Be it through a career leap, a happier relationship, a healthier diet or a fundamentally more sustainable lifestyle.

I hope that you have been able to learn something about the ostrich tactic from this article. Do you have any questions, suggestions or your own experiences with this psychological phenomenon? Then feel free to write me a comment.

Keep an open mind,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS: Showing insight instead of resorting to ostrich tactics means learning something. This will help you to develop personally and improve your quality of life. In another article, I would like to show you the books that have changed my life significantly have. Have fun!

Coffee box Suggestions for improvement Newsletter

* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *