Responsability

Over the last few weeks I’ve seen a lot of people talk about what they think the reason for Trump winning the election is. Some of them more interesting than others. But I haven’t really read anything from anyone taking responsibility for the rise of Trump. (Apart from some fake news artists trying to boast).

Everyone’s too busy to find someone or something to blame. No one is looking inward in what they could of done to change the outcome of the US election.

With that in mind here’s what I could of done differently:

  • I didn’t make calls to get out the vote
  • I didn’t make calls to persuade people to vote for Hilary
  • I only posted a few posts on social media about the election
  • I didn’t reach out personally to friends I have in the United States to talk about why I supported Hillary
  • I took for granted the election results because of polling

Hopefully some introspection will help me better influence the outcomes in the future.

You’re probably wrong, but so am I

The kind of people who read my blog (all 6 of you) probably know of the Dunning Kruger effect.

The general knowledge goes something like this graph:

snapshot

Basically it starts that you know nothing but don’t know it and then you know stuff but don’t know stuff (often people will tell others about this part and explain that it’s the scientific evidence of the Imposter Syndrome [I’m sure I’ve been guilty of this])  and then eventually you know what you know.

Now that’s all nice and fun. But it’s actually not what was in the actual paper.
Here are the actual graphs from the paper:

 

That’s a pretty far cry from that graph I found while googling Dunning-Kruger. It appears many other meme like this may be false such as that more money might in fact mean more happiness and that hedonistic adaptation and happiness might not be as strong as we thought. ( This all comes from a great post here: http://danluu.com/dunning-kruger/ ).

Now the goal of this post is not actually to talk about how wrong I am / you were (despite my clickbait title). What I actually think the goal of learning this should be is that we should be compassionate with one another. I see lots of people be it with the US election, Brexit, the migrant crisis, economic policies etc. That are really demeaning towards people who don’t share their opinions. Now the thing is, odds are you are wrong on a great deal of those topics so be kind to others who disagree with you, because while they might be wrong, there’s a good chance you are as well.

 

Vulnerability

I’m reading a book that talks about vulnerability. I think that is partially what I was trying to express in the previous post. Blogging is in a way letting yourself be vulnerable. The reasons we want blog posts to be air tight is because we are exposing ourselves. Others can come in and say things like: “I already knew all of that” or variations on what we said was not good for any number of reasons.

Speaking at conferences and the imposter syndrome

The truth is I never feel qualified to speak at conferences.

I just recently in the past few months pushed myself to do them, and at first I was sure no one would accept my submission, but I got a very high success rate. When I read up on the other presenters I’m always like wow this person did this, and that person did that. And I think I have a tendency to compare myself to all of them together, I think this a common thing we do with our “system 1” (from the Thinking Fast and Slow book). If you were to ask someone if they do it, they would be like, of course not that doesn’t make any sense. But in that moment, I think that’s what we do. Is it the imposter syndrome? Perhaps, I know I have many signs of it. And while I do think being humble is much better than being arrogant I think it’s sometimes hard for me to walk the line between humble and imposter syndrome. Maybe it’s the birds of a feather flock together scenario but it seems a common pattern in my friends.

Experiance

A co-worker of mine (Matt Wiebe) has recently(ish) started blogging. I really enjoy reading the thoughtful posts.
I think as humans we have a tendency to forget when we didn’t know things or didn’t have the same opinion we once did. I often feel that anything I would write would be self evident to everybody and they’ve already had all these thoughts. And personal experience has also taught me that the quote “life is a journey that no one else can take for us” (find real quote). But I think I’ve also noticed that we can help others go thru the learning process a bit faster and a bit smoother than we did. In the past I always tried to help people in the past, and I still do, it’s just that way I go about it is different. I would previously feel like I had failed if I could not convince the other individual to heal themselves (in a mental health sort of way). It took me a long time to realize that it wasn’t more effort or less effort or anything I did that could impact someone to the point where they will change. I’ve had friends who were in exactly the same situation I had just been in, and that they had counselled me thru. When I gave them the same advice, they wouldn’t listen. It’s very hard to step away from things like this but I think we have to. All that to say that I think it is worthwhile to have a blog and to post things to share, either as reminders of things they already know or to help give someone the idea for something they can incorporate for themselves.

Blogging is hard

I think blogging is inherently hard because there is a different expectation than Facebook or Twitter. The medium, and our eexperienceswith it (reading popular blogs for example) make it that we believe this is somehow more formal, that it has more staying power. Part of it (for facebook at least) may be the lack of the public being able to view your writing. We therefore want to polish it. We don’t want to write something that is not air tight. It’s easy to post a random thought that is not worked out to Facebook, but on your website? It feels like the bar is higher.

We need Universal Prescription Drug Coverage

The NDP and the Green party have both announced some form of prescription drug coverage.

Canada is the only industrialized country that has medical coverage without prescription coverage. Now obviously it doesn’t need to be 100% covered for everyone but we need to at least have a sliding scale where you can actually pay for the medications you are prescribed.

This is a topic I’m really passionate about and I’ll explain why. Over a decade ago I was diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Looking back I’ve had it since I was very young. I used to vomit and feel physically sick every time I was anxious about something.

Around 2004-2005 I started freelancing as a programmer, I didn’t have consistent clients and it was hard to manage with the depression. My medications cost about $500 a month at the time. I didn’t make enough money to pay my rent and my medications in many of the months of those years. I was in debt and struggling to get by. I was very fortunate that my doctor gave me many free sample packs at the time to make sure I didn’t stop taking my medication cold turkey because of cost. I also had family members who lent me money when I really needed it.

A few years ago, in approximately the same time period I met a man downtown who was homeless, I talked to him and he mentioned that he couldn’t pay for his medication. He mentioned the name of the medication and it was the same on I was on.

After a few years I started feeling better and I had moved over to Quebec for the cheaper rent and to help my uncle with a property so I was covered by the Quebec Drug plan. That made it possible to stay on my medication.

I often think back to that man who I never saw again, and I think of how easily that could of been me. Had I had a few different bounces I could be homeless with no job. I’m very lucky that I have a great job that pays well and has great medical benefits and (and maybe I’m alone on this) I’m proud to pay taxes. And I want my taxes to go to helping others in situations like this. We often talk about homelessness and how it’s terrible and we should do something about it. But we rarely ask how this happened. Up to 74% of people who are homeless have a mental illness.

Even if you don’t agree that we have a duty to pay for people’s prescriptions and health care. Even if you were to be incredibly selfish and only think about yourself, economically it still makes sense. I was lucky to get some lucky bounces and I’m now healthy and a productive members of society, able to pay taxes, able to contribute back. Many other people who weren’t so lucky or privileged would love to be able to have a ‘normal’ life, to contribute to society, they would love the opportunity to be healthy and pay taxes.

Anyway you look at it, we need universal prescription coverage.