Fear makes bad things seem more real than they are

A couple years ago there was a woman who walked from Spain south to Morocco, and then east across Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt, then north into Jordan, and then into Jerusalem.

She walked alone, and she didn’t spend any money.

When I talk about my walk across Turkey, someone invariably pipes up and says, “Yeah, that’s great, but you’re a man. A woman couldn’t do what you did.”

Not once has anyone ever backed up that statement (“A woman couldn’t do what you did”) by saying, “I am a woman, and I tried to walk across Turkey 9 times, and all 9 times I was raped and left for dead on the side of the road. Therefore, a woman couldn’t do what you did.”

And yet, their fear of what could happen, even though they have no experience with it happening, is more real in their minds than an actual woman who really did walk a long distance alone.

Why do we allow ourselves to act like the bad things we imagine are more real than the good things that are real?