Leadership and the Environment

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296: Solutions have to work for everyone

Ep. 296

In this episode I describe how important I consider the accessibility of my personal behavior solutions -- a matter of integrity, not to be confused with behavior to influence others, which is a matter of leadership.

Here are my notes I read from for this episode.

Access and its importance to me. Food available in food desert. I spend nearly no money on fitness. Yes, I live in a nice neighborhood, but I don't make much more than the average American. I treat Greenwich Village as a village -- that is, I try to meet my neighbors, local farmers, local shopkeepers, and not try to escape every few months. I don't buy expensive things like Marie Kondo sells. I buy little I don't need. My most exotic recent vacations include a ten-day meditation retreat a bus ride away and a train trip across the country.

My top food habits include foraging for food within walking distance, though some berries a subway ride away, and getting the most abundant and cheap vegetables in season. I eat more beans than almost anyone. I carry bags with me and sometimes containers and bring food home from events. I make my own sauerkraut and vinegar, which take minutes to prepare. I buy nearly all my clothes from thrift shops. I rarely eat out, nor do I waste money on soda, coffee, or doof, which most Americans spend thousands of dollars a year on. I don't spend money on a TV or any subscriptions and use my cell phone's hot spot for wifi. I air dry my clothes on a drying rack.

I haven't flown in years, saving more thousands of dollars. I don't think I've spent money on alcohol in years -- nothing against it, I've just come to prefer my calories come with nutrition. I haven't bought a book in years but read what I can online without paying or borrow from the library. I borrow about two or three books a month.

computer used, all free software $50 month for phone, internet, everything podcast not making money but costing nearly none while creating purpose $50 for microphone and a little for hosting. More for editing. Books cost little to write, substitute for tv My two couches I got free from neighbors, as anyone in New York City can if you check CraigsList free. For that matter, my mattress I got for a couple hundred dollars that way too. My kettle bells too. I scan CraigsList for months to find them and then pick them up by subway. you get the idea

I still buy things

no car or payments on it, under $20 week on subway some will say I was privileged no matter what they are reason for 2016 election result and maybe next one mom loved on welfare street, hence the 5 muggings, not particularly privileged. learned to connect with women on personality not spending money.

Picking up garbage for an hour while taking a walk. common practice because I trained myself so it makes me feel clean.

I cut my own hair. I used $1.90 in electricity last month and put my bill online to see.

For those who don't know, PhD physics programs pay tuition and give a stipend, so I incurred no cost there. If anything an opportunity cost in not earning money for the pay for equivalent work had I gone into finance or engineering. I'm still finishing paying for the MBA. I went to a public high school. I got into Columbia on my merits. My dad went there, but since Harvard wait-listed me, where I had no connections, I figure I didn't get in for legacy reasons.

My father's father made enough to pay for Columbia undergraduate and some of my apartment's down payment.

All of this adds up to accessibility. I know the tug to say, "Oh, something about him is special that makes it easier for him." Well, How to save I just mentioned is available to everyone. My splurges include my rowing machine, which I bought about ten years ago, and my kettle bells, also going back years. I bought them all used from CraigsList, including taking a 62 pound kettlebell home by subway.

If everyone can't do anything I do, I look for what everyone can. A solution that doesn't work for everyone doesn't work. Of course, food and vacation opportunities vary by location and climate, so I don't propose people follow my solutions exactly so much as the process and attitude to apply in their lives to solve for themselves what I've solved for myself in my life.

Not watching TV is available to everyone, as are bodyweight exercises and drying your clothes without a dryer.

If you think I have some way to do what you can't and you assign it to privilege, look inside yourself. What can you do besides judge others?

More Episodes

7/5/2020

356: I was assaulted again this morning. Can I talk about it?

Ep. 356
While I was jogging (actually plogging) along the Hudson River around 7:30am, a person not wearing a mask stepped into my path, blocking me, saying the person's shoes had been stolen. The person seemed to let me pass, but then threatened me and threw a bottle that shattered at my feet as I ran past. I kept running, the hair on the back of my neck standing up and my adrenaline high. I don't know if the person had a weapon.I describe more and some of how it affected me in the audio.I was first going to say I was threatened since he didn't touch me. I'm not a lawyer so I looked up the definition. According to FindLaw.com's page on Assault Torts and Injury Law:legal scholars define assault as an intentional attempt or threat to inflict injury upon a person, coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm, which creates a reasonable apprehension of bodily harm or offensive contact in another.Notice the words “attempt” and “threat” above. In tort law, assault does not require actual touching or violence to the victim. We use another term for the touching or contact: “battery.”Here are the notes I read from:The story from this morning runningHappens all the time, not daily but throughout my lifeI don't think he did it because black, but I suspect were I not white it may not have happened. Can't say this time.When I stayed in AtlantaFriends say, you can say to us but careful with othersShared about mugged childhood, but still happeningMaybe there is a secret white suburban life I don't know aboutRecently white friends have started sharing how they've been muggedConsistent with Dov's saying how sharing stories will lead to others feeling they can share tooThat's all background. Here is my point: every time I bring up suffering or being threatened, while I may get some listening, the other person always says, remember others have it worse---not that person, not even someone with their skin colorSo they don't know from experience but they're telling me as if I haven't heard before, and they're presuming to know my experienceI don't know anyone's experience but mine, but everyone absolutely everyone dismisses it without asking, presuming it's the caricature in the mainstream.When I hear white people talking about BLM, George Floyd, there's always this mea culpa. Maybe they are guilty, I don't know. I never hear them speak about their problems. Maybe they have no problems, maybe I'm unique, but that people open up with me when I share and they hear I'm not white supremacist or racist---though in today's world white people even mentioning race without saying how they are allies or something making up for guilt or things like that---then they tell me about their experiences, but they insist on my respecting their confidence, which of course I do.So much of what I hear from white people sounds so similar andinauthentic, I don't think they're being open, honest, or candid. Maybemany are as privileged as they say, but people have told me about being attacked, their lives threatened with weapons, and so on.I think about risks maybe not every day, but all the time. And when Idon't, some guy walks into my path, throws a bottle at me, and threatens me.For a while I feared sharing messages like this because people mightsuspect I'm turning into a white supremacist. I came to terms that ifpeople think that about the opposite, I can't let their preconceivednotions hold me from acting for equality."White Like Me," Eddie Murphy's Saturday Night Live sketch I referred to
7/2/2020

354: Harvard Global Health Institute Director Ashish Jha, part 1: Front Line Pandemic Leadership

Ep. 354
If you've followed sensible, expert advice on the pandemic, you've probably read or seen Ashish Jha in the New York Times, The Atlantic, CNN, Washington Post, and everywhere. On Tuesday he testified to the US Senate.He's Harvard's Global Health Institute's Director. Over 200,000 people have taken his online Harvard courses, which you can for free. Over 80,000 took Ebola, Preventing the Next Pandemic and over 120,000 took Improving Global Health: Focusing on Quality and Safety. As it turns out, we were college teammates on the ultimate frisbee team.I'll link to a few top articles by him. With so many interfaces between the pandemic and us---health, government, research, policy, etc---you can read a lot of his views and experiences from different sources.I wanted to bring the personal side of leading on the front lines and top levels of a pandemic---how do doctors and public health experts feel about people not following advice, facing triage decisions, how to be heard, and what affects a doctor personally. We talk about leadership, the intersection between the pandemic and the environment, which overlaps with his directorship and courses, and more.By the way, he created his Ebola course five years before this pandemic and predicted much of it, as did many. If predicting what's happened so far isn't enough reason to follow his advice, I don't know what is. Let's wear those masksAshish's faculty profileCoronavirus Testing Needs to Triple Before the U.S. Can Reopen, Experts Say, NY Times article quoting AshishIn the W.H.O.’s Coronavirus Stumbles, Some Scientists See a Pattern, NY Times article quoting Ashish Pandemic Expert Dr. Ashish K. Jha ’92: “We Will Get Through This.”How We Beat Coronavirus, The AtlanticHere's the reason we are still shut down right now, CNN video