Recently, they’ve discovered that heading soccer balls frequently can create an increased risk of concussion. Obviously, using your head for a soccer ball once doesn’t cause much damage, but doing so repeatedly in a short period can. We may respond to this by deciding we will never ever hit the ball with our head. Problem solved but it comes at a cost (perhaps the winning shot for a soccer game required a good head, well worth it).
We often like to take a black and white attitude toward bad things in life trying to avoid anything which may even remotely be bad for us. We convert the soccer study mentally from “too much use of your head” to “any use of your head”. But most negative things are not catastrophic when they occur occasionally. Eating more than you should is not healthy, but doing it once in a while is going to have little effect — doing it everyday however will.
And therein lies the tension, if we rationalize allowing a negative thing to slide once, what prevents the second time? Maybe we should just avoid it altogether and in some cases, that can and should be our response lest we slide down the slippery slope. At the same time, recognizing that a small amount of a bad thing carries little long-term effect can help us to not worry about them. In fact, small amounts of adversity can even make us more resilient.