Happiness is elusive but it helps focus an individual with
their life design if they consider what metrics contribute to happiness. These
metrics might be in error, but at least they are something. The 6 measures, as
explained by NPR’s “The Indicator” podcast, are:
These measures have been found to be highly correlated with
people’s overall happiness. Of these measures social support and GDP per capita
are the most important. But at some point, GDP per capita stops mattering; the
Easterlin paradox. “It’s the idea that wealth adds to people’s happiness only
up to a point. And at some point, for some reason, getting richer stops making
you happier.” There are many working theories and here are some of the more
GDP per capita (a rough idea of how wealthy
people are in a particular country),
healthy life expectancy,
how much people trust the government and businesses
in their country (is corruption a problem in the government? In businesses?),
social support (do you have somebody to count on
in times of trouble?),
generosity (has a person been generous in the
last 30 days to others) and
freedom (did you feel a sense of freedom to make
your key life decisions?).
#141, China #94) Social support has declined even though GDP per capita is
rising. Stuff like moving into cities, decline of the extended family.
#19) “People overestimate the happiness they’re going to get from more income
or a bigger house. And they underestimate the happiness they would get from
more time with the family and less time spent commuting. So, they end up
finding themselves in circumstances where they’ve chosen to go for too high an
income, too much consumption, not enough time to spend with family and friends.
And they end up being anxious, harried, stressed.”
could just be that the measurements are wrong.
Regardless, the researcher shares that he’s changed his
behaviour as a result of this research and recommends “…[T]o start
conversations with strangers, to smile at people in the streets, to assume the
best rather than the worst about them is a win-win situation. And so, I do it
more than I used to. And that’s improved my happiness. And I hope it’s improved
somebody else’s, as well. …”
Canada is just 6% behind Finland and USA is 12.72% behind
(5.6% behind Canada). South Sudan, #156, is 272% behind Finland. Surprisingly Australia
is at #11 with all it’s sunshine and most goods being locally sourced.
Our radon mitigation is complete! We went from 435 Bq/m3 to 22 Bq/m3.
150 Bq/m3 is equivalent to smoking a half pack of cigarettes/day or if a person smokes already multiplies that smoking risk by 14 times. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. 100 Bq/m3 is world health organization limit, 200 Bq/m3 is Health Canada and 15 Bq/m3 is what is prevalent outdoors (normal radon levels). 1 in 6 homes tested in 2017 had dangerous levels of radon gas (over 200). Most of Alberta and Saskatchewan are at high risk of high radon levels.
Forced air systems just move it all around the house and “leaky” house doesn’t really help (it’s the pressure pull of heating a space that is the issue); a house either has high levels or it doesn’t. Even our garage (no basement) was at 150 Bq/m3 and it’s as leaky as it gets. The mitigation process seals all the basement large open holes and helps mitigate basement smell (since it’s sucking all the moist earthy air below the cement and blowing it out the side).
Thanks to Radon West. This company is also the one helping with the UofC radon study. Learn more here:
Note: In Canada we side-wall vent. Rooftop vents ice up in our cold weather. Canadian studies on dissipation is that within a meter of the vent the radon reading is at normal outside levels; Meaning it dissipates extremely quickly.
More on risks of dying from lung cancer, radon and smoking:
Radon meter I purchased; Radon West confirms it is very accurate for a residential unit. A +/-10% reading is available from it within 7 days. Our unit is loaned out to friends and family pretty much constantly.
Corentium Home by Airthings, Radon Gas Detector, Canadian Version in Bq/m
Consumer Reports also addresses the three common excuses for not getting the flu shot in their article “Why Your Excuses for Not Getting a Flu Shot Stink“. Up front is the idea that it can cause the flu. No, it just makes your symptoms less severe if you get it (e.g. YOUR LESS LIKELY TO DIE… dying being a symptom apparently). And no, there is no scientific link to autism despite tons of fake news to the contrary.
So please, do the world a favor and get a flu vaccination yearly.
13Mar2019 update: Unvaccinated children in Italy have been banned from preschool. Under the new law, parents are also subject to fines of 100 to 500 euros and local health authorities will then schedule vaccinations for the children to make sure they get caught up. The fines presumably are for the extra administration of managing the vaccinations instead of the parents. This is directly addressing the “tragedy of the commons” issue that unvaccinated people represent.
26Apr2019 update: The Cost of Measles: Let’s leave the science aside and talk about the economics. According to this NPR “The Indicator” podcast, it would cost the US economy $4 Billion annually without vaccinations (an outbreak). It costs $45 Million to subsidize vaccines. That’s a 90,000% return on investment. “Measles is extremely contagious. It can remain in the air for up to two hours after you’ve left…. [T]here can be really significant long-term effects. Some people unfortunately have brain damage after their body is trying to fight measles because of lack of oxygen. They may lose their hearing. They may lose their eyesight. … [W]hen people are having to respond to these outbreaks and they form an outbreak team, those people aren’t just materializing out of nowhere. They had another job in the public health system before that now they have to leave to go do this. We were realizing, like, wow, measles isn’t just causing measles. It’s also causing these weaker links in the health care infrastructure and the public health infrastructure. And goodness knows what that could be doing kind of for our risk for other diseases down the road.” Based on this scenario I think it’s pretty plain to see that we’re going to start seeing policy for folks who don’t vaccinate. https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2019/04/15/713645707/the-cost-of-measles
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.
However, it could be that it takes humanity 50 years to adopt the changes enabled by the smartphone. Take the story of electricity. It took nearly 50 years from the light bulb before the economy showed a productivity spike. More on this via the history of the dynamo: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p057xsl0
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. …”
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 (improve your window of tolerance).
Repeat… forever! After all, that is just the journey of life. It’s not a destination.
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.
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.
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.” Therefore, the responsibility rests with the patient to ask questions, consider second opinions, etc. And further consider that visiting a hospital puts you in great danger of dying, making hospital visits in Canada worse than the Ebola crisis by 36 times: https://textor.ca/2015/04/11-of-people-picking-up-hospital-based-infections-die/ This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit a hospital, but if your issue can be resolved outside a hospital it makes sense to do so.
“Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement” starts life advice from the creator of Calvin and Hobbes. I started down this path over 2 years ago and he’s right on the money.