Smartphone is a Double Edged Sword

Since 2004 there has been very little *meaningful* change. Productivity has fallen despite the smartphone. You might be wondering why this info on the smartphone all of a sudden? I’ve received a critical mass of research. I believe that it is telling us that the smartphone is a double edged sword and we need to respect that.

Planet Money explains our period of falling productivity: http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2017/05/19/529178937/episode-772-small-change

This article explains the psychology of the smartphone and how it has made us less intelligent and is responsible for poor social skills and the gullibility crisis:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-smartphones-hijack-our-minds-1507307811

 

CR publishes much needed “Myths and Facts About Vaccines for Children”

https://www.consumerreports.org/vaccines/myths-and-facts-about-vaccines-for-children/

And the economics of vaccines – 20% IRR and 2 million deaths averted for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) – a multi-organizational collaboration lasting 15-years worth $13B:

http://www.economist.com/node/5017166

Vaccinations are a case study of “The Tragedy of the Commons” – where anti-vaxxers become free-riders putting their self-interest over the common good. The Hastings Center explains this problem very well:

“…To understand why, think of vaccination and the quest for herd immunity as a collective action problem. Garrett Hardin’s “tragedy of the commons” illustrates the basic logic of collective action problems. Imagine that 50 farmers share common land (“the commons”) upon which they graze their sheep. The commons are lush, and so each farmer can easily allow four sheep to graze at a given time without depleting the resource. But imagine that each farmer seeks to maximize his own good (what economic theory refers to as “rational” behavior) and it is better for him to graze more sheep than fewer. The farmers will, in effect, be “free-riding” – in this case, taking more than their fair share of the common resource while benefitting from the restraint of others. The trouble is that, while adding one more sheep to the commons does not deplete the resource, adding 50 does. The combined actions of each farmer, acting rationally, leads to an outcome that is worse for all.

The tragedy of the commons reveals that what is good for the individual is at odds with what is good for all. This is the basic logic of collective action problems. We see a similar logic in the case of vaccines. If most get vaccinated, then everyone will be better off. But it would be best for any particular individual if all others got vaccinated and he or she did not. That way, the individual could enjoy the benefits of the common good (herd immunity) without bearing any of the costs (e.g., risk of possible side effects or complications associated with vaccine). This, again, is a free-rider temptation. The trouble is that if everyone thought that way, no one would become vaccinated and everyone would be at risk of falling ill.

From this perspective, anti-vaxxers are not ill-informed parents with distorted views of what is in their child’s best interest. They are acting perfectly rationally. The trouble is that there are enough of them to generate the tragedy of the commons. Hence, vaccination levels drop and measles rates rise.  …”

Measles, Vaccination, and the Tragedy of the Commons

Review of “The Dark Side of Resilience”

In another one of life’s ironies, somebody could label you “not resilient” when in fact you might be “too resilient”. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Derek Lusk’s insightful article on “The Dark Side of Resilience” highlights another humbling highlight of our collective human ignorance. Indeed, everyone should be aware of this reminder of a dangerous psychological bias.

Key quotes that resonated with me from the article:

” …[E]xtreme resilience could drive people to become overly persistent with unattainable goals. Although we tend to celebrate individuals who aim high or dream big, it is usually more effective to adjust one’s goals to more achievable levels, which means giving up on others….[P]eople waste an enormous amount of time persisting with unrealistic goals, a phenomenon called the “false hope syndrome.”

…[T]oo much resilience could make people overly tolerant of adversity. At work, this can translate into putting up with boring or demoralizing jobs — and particularly bad bosses — for longer than needed.

…[The goal is to compete between groups not within the team, so,] …choosing resilient leaders is not enough: they must also have integrity and care more about the welfare of their teams than their own personal success.

In sum, there is no doubt that resilience is a useful and highly adaptive trait, especially in the face of traumatic events. However, when taken too far, it may focus individuals on impossible goals and make them unnecessarily tolerant of unpleasant or counterproductive circumstances. This reminds us of Voltaire’s Candide, the sarcastic masterpiece that exposes the absurd consequences of extreme optimism: ‘I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I am still in love with life. This ridiculous weakness is perhaps one of our more stupid melancholy propensities, for is there anything more stupid than to be eager to go on carrying a burden which one would gladly throw away, to loathe one’s very being and yet to hold it fast, to fondle the snake that devours us until it has eaten our hearts away?’”

Quora – What is your super-productive life hack?

To become super-productive in life: Replace bad habits with good habits and then measure success against yourself (not others). Success is just personal improvements usually made by many small changes over time.

Easier said than done! Some tips:

Inventory habits – tools can be as easy as considering critical feedback you might already be receiving. Or you could make lists.

Find good habits and practice them – they don’t just fall in our laps. This requires research (mentors, books, etc). Clues on what materials to read might be gleaned from knowing your bad habits 🙂 I highly recommend fostering an internal locus of control or “I make my own destiny” vs “everything is always somebody else’s fault” (external) Locus of control – Wikipedia

Remove bad habits – Lots of habits are subconscious so look for tools that help with retraining subconscious. This can be difficult and very personal; reference motivational self help courses. Tools may include alt therapies like protocols around EMDR: Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing – Wikipedia Don’t discount personal trauma when trying to change habits. You might have to address a trauma before being able to proceed in an area of your life.

Repeat… forever! After all, that is just the journey of life. It’s not a destination.

Originally posted at: https://www.quora.com/What-is-your-super-productive-life-hack/answer/Trevor-Textor

Quora – Have you ever fired a doctor?

I think I’ve “fired” about 8 doctors so far. There are many reasons to do so but the most important quality of a doctor is good administrative practices. One of my prior doctor’s administrative staff forgot to call me and tell me I had tested positive for cancer. I had a 3 year insurance battle with my insurer at the time due to that error. Luckily I had scheduled a follow-up for the test which is standard practice for me. Don’t ever believe that they’ll call you if there is anything abnormal on the test. My recommendation for everyone is to seek out a clinic with good admin and also offers a “shared care practice”. That is, you see whatever doctor is available and they share your file. That way you get exposed to multiple opinions. I write a lot about this, consider the following:

Just 12% of diagnosis by Doctor is correct. Value 2nd, 3rd, 4th opinions… See Mayo study for more details on the study – click here. More on my post here.

Death from health related administrative errors is 10x the rate of automobile accidents and the 3rd leading cause of death in the USA after heart disease and cancer (see Consumer Reports May 4, 2016). See more at my post here.

Think twice about handing over the responsibility for your health to the health system. They are not god; it’s a partnership where the responsibility rests solely with you. Not your doctor. Consumer Reports on Health reported in their June 2016 issue “… doctors continue to recommend treatment even when newer evidence suggests they shouldn’t. In fact, research shows that it can often take some doctors years, even decades, to give up old therapies after studies show them to be ineffective or dangerous.” More on my post here.

Bring a Health Advocate With You When Using Health Care. Consumer Reports on Health (April 2015 issue page 2) agrees that it is “… one of the keys to a safe and comfortable experience.” What is an advocate? See my post here.

Stay out of hospitals if at all possible! 11% of people picking up hospital based infections die. See more on my post here.

Be aware that our culture’s go to treatment is via drugs. Consumer Reports explains the love affair with prescription medication and the dangers of too many medications here. Statistically the problem costs the USA $200B per year, 1.3M/year hospital visits and 10% of those resulting in death. Your doctor may encourage medication. I recommend doing your research and discussing with them non drug options. My own experience is that long term drug use is nearly never the best option and usually indicates a major issue which I’ve also found have been correctable via non-drug therapies. Long term drug use could also be an indication that you are speaking to the wrong specialist (possibly right field, but wrong person).

Understand what “informed consent” means and demand an informed consent discussion from your doctor.  Consumer Reports on Health explains more in their Sept 2017 issue which can be viewed here.

Cross posted from Quora.

The Value of Second Opinions

Just 12% of diagnosis by Doctor is correct. See Mayo study for more details on the study – click here.

Don’t forget doctors are just one expert on your team. Value 2nd, 3rd and fourth opinions and hopefully those include other disciplines. General practitioners favor dispensing drugs, surgeons favor surgery, etc…. there are alternative therapies that don’t include drugs (and side effects).

More on my posts about doctor / patient relationships here.