Weekly quote #3 – An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

We are so bad at prevention, simply because few direct reward acts on it. We only do it when our modern human brain can overrule the often stronger prehistorical brain mass🧠. Jonathan Haidt calls it ‘the rider and the elephant’ (just read his fantastic book ‘The happiness hypothesis’. A lack of training of that animal is dangerous.

There are many examples of an ounce of prevention:

  • We all know we need to plan,
  • sport regularly, eat healthy,
  • put a lot of quality energy in our kids,
  • start our day with the hardest tasks,
  • finish that one chronic task,
  • use sunscreen, stop smoking, etc etc.

It is only when you understand how humans act and become an observer of society, rather than a participant only, that you start preventing more than average, because you see other people’s elephants going wild. (for example yelling in traffic is a very good example of what I call a ‘lose-lose’ strategy).

The biggest problem with the climate change issue is that feedback is too slow and hence, rewards are too little. If you ask me, this big planet problem is a psychology issue, not a technology issue. There’s a lack of immediate gratification, which makes the problem so hard to solve. Can anybody come with an example of a problem of global scale that was solved with global teamwork effectively?

Preventing problems with a small, continuous effort is a very smart strategy, yet the vast minority of people understand this concept and act accordingly.

How proactive are you? Are you a preventer or a drowner? Let me know what your thougths are on Weekly Quote 3! Wim

One thought on “Weekly quote #3 – An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

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  1. Hi Wim, interesting concept. Putting that book on my to-read list 🙂 I agree a 100% that the Climate Change issue is hardly a technological one nowadays. The huge challenge is to change our behaviour (requires psychological & neuroscience insights) using our current technologies but also to adjust our socio-economic systems to better support and incentivize this behavioral change.

    Some would argue that the ozone problem was solved by effective global regulations (with the Montreal agreement). This is however not of the same scale as the problem of GHG emissions since the latter is embedded in every action we take in a carbon-based economy. See also these interesting blog posts on the carbon footprint of everything: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/series/the-carbon-footprint-of-everything

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