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What sayeth Seth?

Seth Godin is a modern-day philosopher of sorts. Sometimes his daily email broadcast hits a point exceptionally well. When I notice one of these, I will share it here.

Being more certain in an uncertain world

I've built many suites in this Guest House that address the issue of our addiction to wanting to feel certain when there often is no certainty. One recent suite was Cowards both: optimists and pessimists.

We can create more certainty in our lives by looking for, assessing, and accepting the risks on all sides before we take action or not.

I cannot tell if Seth fully appreciates the extent of the issue of our addiction to feeling certain since the following observation he makes seems to focus just on "defenders of the status quo," whereas the issue of avoiding risk applies equally to those who are beating down the doors to make changes.

Regardless, here's what Seth sayeth.

Demanding certainty

The defenders of the status quo often demand certainty when facing decisions about the future. 

It sets up the conditions for doing nothing, because certainty never happens until the future arrives.

It’s much more useful to look at probabilities.

Flipping a fair coin has a 50% chance of coming up heads. That’s a risky bet.

On the other hand, there’s more than a 95% chance that the sea levels in Miami will be significantly higher in ten years. Is that a bet you want to take the other side of?

As soon as we can begin discussing probabilities, we can sit on the same side of the table and refine our estimates and our risk profiles.

But certainty? Certainty is another word for stalling.

Stumbling in the dark

Learning is complicated.

While we’re doing it, it’s easy to imagine that those around us are completely sure of themselves, moving forward in a well-lit space.

In fact, if you visit a growing company, a useful school or anywhere that growth is happening, you’ll quickly see that everyone is stumbling forward in the shadows.

That’s part of the deal.

Everyone wants to be connected 

 

But we hesitate to be the connector.

Everyone wants to be trusted, but we hesitate to trust.

And everyone wants to be respected, but we often fail to offer our respect.

What an opportunity.

(Posted January 12th, 2024)

Breaking news: the average vegan taxpayer in the USA pays $264 per year for beef and milk

Vegans don't buy beef and milk. How could that be so?

 

The U.S. government currently props up the beef and dairy industry with $38 billion in subsidies each year (other calculations put this number on the low side). With 144 million individual income tax payers in the U.S., dividing that out, the average taxpayer, whether they eat beef and milk products or not, is paying an extra $264 each year for their beef and dairy.

On top of that, PBS reports that livestock production, primarily cows, produce 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

The cows are killing us, both from the inside and the outside. As well, they are embezzling money from us leaving most of us clueless.

Here's what Seth sayeth:

 

The beef tax 

 

We’re all paying it, every day.

In the US, taxpayers subsidize the cattle industry with billions of dollars of tax money each year. Most of that goes to pay for feed crops, but there is also a huge allocation of public land for the grazing of cows. About half the land in the entire country is just for cattle.

In addition, a significant portion of the climate problem is directly caused by the effects of bovine respiration as well as the clear-cutting of forests for grazing worldwide. It’s like someone is dumping manure on your living room carpet and asking you to pay for it.

The end result is that whether or not you eat meat, you’re paying for it.

Beef is more expensive than we realize. And it’s also significantly less convenient than we give it credit for. Climate refugees, storm-damaged assets, the loss of life and homes… these are directly caused by the one billion cows that humans raise each year.

What would happen if we simply charged a fair price for the beef and milk that people consume?

The industry has done a great job of persuading people that beef is cheap, convenient, easy, luxurious, wholesome and benign. It’s none of those things.

I wonder how long it will take us to realize just how much it costs us.

(posted September 25th, 2022)

Our stories are all we really know 

Joni Mitchell wrote, 

“Rows and floes of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way

"But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

"I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all”

We’d like to believe that our experiences are aligned with the world as it is. They can’t be. Everything we encounter is filtered through what we know. And what we know comes from the very human cultures we inhabit.

 

When someone rejects you for a job, they’re not rejecting you. How could they be? They don’t know you. Instead, they’re rejecting their story of you, the best approximation they had combined with the complicated story they (all of us) tell ourselves about our needs, dreams, and fears.

We take these stories and we compound them. We sharpen them, rehearse them and turn them into an augmented version of the world as we see it, not the world as it is.

If it’s not working for us, the best thing we can do is begin to do the very hard work of telling a new story, a better story, one that’s more useful.

The clouds are up to us.

Where do jobs come from?

 

It must be more than a coincidence that there are almost enough jobs for everyone–a billion more jobs on Earth than there were a generation ago.

Unemployment is debilitating and a real problem, but even high unemployment in many countries still means that most people have a job. Many times, it’s a job that didn’t exist before they had it.

Jobs exist because people are productive. When their productivity produces more value than the money they are paid, someone keeps the difference. Actually, two someones: The customer gets some of the benefit and the organizer of the job gets the rest.

Viewed this way, it’s easy to see that jobs aren’t a bureaucratic niche to be filled. They’re the opportunity for value to be created.

Find the value and you will find the job.

See The joys of helping others.

What are the carrying costs? What are the carrying benefits?

These are important questions to ask in helping to create Now-Next Integrity.

The carrying benefits of Smokey

I recently bought a ragdoll kitten (born April 6, 2022). She cost $600. I could have easily gotten a kitten either for free or at least for much less money. But here was the calculation I used that made it easy for me to shell out $600 for Smokey, making her a better deal than any other cat I could have gotten.

A cat will live at least 15 years. Dividing $600 by 15 years, means that I get to enjoy a cat with the great temperament and looks of Smokey (because she is a ragdoll) for only 11 cents a day. These carrying benefits of buying Smokey last for over 15 years, when the benefits allocated day by day. For me, that's the steal of the century! There are other carrying costs of having a cat, like food and cat litter, but those would exist regardless of what kind of cat I had.

Here's what Seth sayeth about carrying costs and carrying benefits.

Carrying costs

 

How much does a puppy cost?

At the shelter, maybe you need to put up a hundred dollar fee or donation.

But that’s tiny compared to food, vet bills, time spent walking, chew toys, yak bones, bully sticks, groomers and those ridiculous dog costumes… perhaps $20,000 if you add it all up.

Yet we tend to focus on the cost of acquisition.

Twitter is free. Oh, it’s not. It’s not free at all. It costs a fortune in time and brain space.

Putting your business online is cheap. A simple web page. Except it’s not. It’s hundreds of thousands of dollars in management time and salaries.

Announcing the carrying costs up front is a great way to avoid hiding from them.

Carrying benefits

 

Compared to easily-overlooked carrying costs, carrying benefits are practically invisible.

Pay once, but come out ahead over and over again.

There are habits, assets and learnings that seem too expensive right now.

And so we simply stick with our status quo.

When we take the time to itemize the carrying benefits and write them down, understanding the accumulated benefits over time, they’re harder to overlook.

To undo the chronic habit of creating crises and urgencies in your life, check out under promising and buffers.

The next train

It’s not a luxury, it’s a choice.

We can build slack into our lives. We can create cycles so that we don’t need to dance with a crisis around time on a regular basis.

If there’s another train after this one, you don’t have to fret.

If the deadline for the project is tomorrow, not today, you don’t have to sweat it.

If the guests aren’t arriving for an hour…

Sometimes, we choose to use the urgent crisis as fuel. We set up our lives around creating these deadlines, reminding ourselves that if we cross that line, we’re dead.

And then we allow the world to do it to us. To create urgencies simply to take our attention and focus.

Productivity is a measure of the value of what we ship in the time we’ve got to invest. It’s not measured in drama.

It’s possible to do great work without putting everything in jeopardy.

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