The Tip Of a Horrible Iceberg – 7 Takeaways No. 177

Being OK with being yourself. Vet bills. Pragmatic passion. You need other people. Screechweasels. Being an adult. Silly bear.

A woman and a bear sitting around a campfire in the woods at night. The woman appears relaxed and is casually dressed, interacting peacefully with the bear. The surrounding woods are dark, with the gentle glow of the campfire casting light on their figures, creating a serene and somewhat surreal atmosphere.
(Image: DALL-E 3)

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1. “When did it become not ok to be a human?”

How to feel sure of yourself in a world that tells you not to – Annie Scott – (Midlife Mess with Annie Scott)

Here’s the upshot:

every time something is labelled a ‘condition’, it’s another strike against our ability to feel good and confident about who we are

The “condition” that got Scott’s attention is procrastination. She’d run across a self-help “guru” offering to “fix” procrastination.

If we live in a world where procrastination is a thing we’re being told to worry about… well things can’t really be that bad.

Generalizing, the self-help “industry” (from corporations to individual influencers) has a vested interest in making us feel bad about ourselves in order to sell us solutions. Even when those things they try to make us feel bad about are simply a normal part of being human.

Do this: “… every once in a while maybe it’s healthy to look at what we’re ok with about ourselves.”


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2. “Big-money investors have noticed.”

Why Your Vet Bill Is So High (Gift link) – Helaine Olen – (The Atlantic)

As a longtime pet owner, this is something I’ve been seeing for years. Individual, independent veterinary clinics get purchased by large multi-national chains, and prices go up and quality … well, it’s unclear. The article covers in more detail, but I’ve experienced situations where — particularly in emergency situations — more procedures are suggested than are actually necessary, or even appropriate to the situation. The rumor is some chains have a minimum — you don’t walk out without paying at least X, regardless of the situation.

It gets worse, at a much more personal level.

vets working for large corporations reported more pressure to generate revenue, whereas veterinarians working for independent practices reported higher levels of satisfaction

It’s worth noticing that the veterinary profession also has a higher than average rate of suicide, in part, perhaps, because of this pressure to do a disservice to the clients they’re wanting to serve.

Do this: Love your (hopefully independent) vet, and treat them well. We do.

#capitalism #veterinarians

3. “You can’t live off your love for something”

The Fallacy of Passion – Lawrence Yeo – (More To That blog)

Yeo unpacks passion, beginning with the trope that we should all “follow our passion”. The problem is not all passions pay the bills. “Do what you love and the money will follow” is misleading at best.

It’s not enough to follow a passion. It’s important to understand how that passion’s results can relate to other people.

Not only do they have to follow their passion, but they also have to convince others that their passion is worth paying attention to.

It’s the latter half that can make or break a passion-based lifestyle.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have a passion that also pays the bills. Not all are as fortunate.

Do this: “Follow your passion, but embrace the sacrifices that are required to make it viable.”


4. “You can never be truly self-sufficient”

Safety is other people – Kasra – (Bits of Wonder blog)

This essay discusses something that I think we all take for granted. We are all, every day and in innumerable ways, “standing on the shoulders of giants”. Those who have come before, those who exist today, to make so many things in our daily lives a reality. Our lives depend — depend — on other people.

… people are at the root of many of the biggest dangers that we face. But the only thing that protects us from that danger is yet more people: kinder, more thoughtful, more caring people.

It’s easy to look around and see all the exceptions, all the “bad” people doing “bad” things in one form or another and be tempted to lose hope. And yet, the silent and overwhelming majority are exactly those people quietly working to make society, and everything in it, possible.

Do this: Remember, you’re not alone.


5. “Self-righteous anger only hardens a person’s position”

Thinking About Screechweasels – David Gerrold – (Patreon, public post)

Gerrold uses a couple of clear examples to make an interesting ultimate point about our sometimes seemingly irreconcilable differences:

It’s really about raising a person’s consciousness. And the more I consider that process, the more I realize it’s about connecting with that person’s sense of empathy. Once a person is able to empathize with your circumstances, they become part of the solution.

Changing minds isn’t easy. As I read that, I thought to myself “this assumes the person I’m connecting with is capable of empathy”, since it seems so many are not. If there’s a constructive way out, empathy is at the root.

Do this: Have empathy.

#empathy #screechweasels

6. “Reliableness … is the single most predictive factor of how you’re going to do in any job”

Are You as Conscientious as You Think You Are? – Angela Duckworth & Mike Maughan – (No Stupid Questions podcast)

This is a fairly wide-ranging topic, but what caught my attention was a section on reliability (considered a part of being conscientious).

So, reliability, to me, is one of the most absolutely essential things in anyone that you work with. I value reliability more than almost anything because it says if I hand you a task, then I don’t ever have to think about it again. So, I think that that is incredibly important and also somewhat rare. And I think that there is something about the idea of conscientiousness as well, that you handle hard tasks and you just dive in.

It’s certainly a critical skill. It’s something I’d emphasize to people just entering the workforce, for example.

But here’s the thing: even if you don’t work for someone else, say you’re self-employed, reliability matters just as much, perhaps even more. Your ability to show up for your self consistently and reliably can make or break an endeavor. As I write this, I realize it’s about even more than just work, but reliably showing up for yourself and others in all aspects of life.

Do this: Work on your reliability.


7. “Explanation is not justification”

Grow the F*ck Up: How to Be an Adult and Get Treated Like One – Sarah Knight – (ebook)

I finished this book recently, and the combination of wit, philosophy, and practicality definitely appealed to me. I know I can benefit from “adulting” better.

being an adult means accepting that sometimes you just hafta do things that may not feel so good

One problem that I realized, though, is that it’s almost impossible to give this book as a gift without seeming to insult the recipient. And yet, I know of many who could benefit.

Do this: Be an adult.


8. “It’s the tip of a horrible iceberg.”

Things I Learned From My Father – Leo A. Notenboom – (Personal blog)

Spurred by a post by James Fell, and the current “man or bear” kerfuffle, something my father tried to pass on to me came to mind.

I remember few of the conversations between us. Of those I do recall, I don’t always remember the exact words.

But I remember one word very clearly.


Do this: Have some respect.


Additional Interesting Links

What I’m Reading

In progress:


A full list of my common sources is on the sources page.

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