Breaking the Law

Being able to do the right thing is the ultimate privilege. Or so Clinton told himself whenever the guilt was most acute. His peers didn’t have his problems, couldn’t even imagine his problems, and would never suspect Clinton of being anything other than the well-bred, blue-eyed law school student he so adroitly played. He was those things – handsome and, indeed, a second-year at University of Chicago – but the debts were too much for Clinton to ever remain any narrow set of things. His classmates, with their optimism and just figure it out attitudes, couldn’t grasp that certain mistakes can’t be undone. And that if you corner yourself as tightly as Clinton had, you can only pick from bad options.

That’s what Clinton was currently doing with his latest scheme that would surely fail. It was only a question of when. Because if you can ride a scheme for long enough, the bust is survivable. You move on. You become a different set of things.

Something about wants

Yet, most are still left wanting – a state of being endemic to humanity. Two explanations are generally proffered. First: people pick wants that are far too ambitious. Think of the obese person aiming for 100lbs of shedding or the unpaid intern expecting to be salaried at $200k/yr in 16 months. Incredible turns are indeed possible, but compelling them into existence almost always requires tremendous work. This degree of difficulty is too easily underestimated basking in the glow of outcome dreams, and so when the grind really sets in, few have the willingness to persist. They’ll make excuses or claim they didn’t really want what they thought they did or employ any number of defense mechanisms aimed at preserving a confident self-identity. None of this erases the fact that most wants are achievable if one can avoid tapping out.

Second: whenever a want is met, a new one emerges. It happens with little things: I’ll feel good today as soon as I eat lunch – [Eat lunch] – If only I had a coffee, then I’d be content … It happens with big things: I’ll be happy once I become VP – [Become VP] – If only I was CEO, then I’d really feel great … These cycles are infinite, and only by seeing them as such does one have any chance of defeating them. Good luck with that, though. This challenge is so oppressive it takes a certain type of credulousness to think it can be resolved with a few minutes of observation and meditation. Still, this challenge remains fundamentally in the realm where input necessarily yields output.

Step to It

14, 13, 7, 4, 2. 2, 4, 7, 13, 14. Again and again and again. It’s not so bad except for 13 to 7. Mastering that jump cost me a few broken bones and pints of blood. The key, I now know, is to push off the black rock next the stairs with your toes instead of your heels, as is natural for novices. Once I got that down, I was able to put in a minimum of four hours per day.

The dividends have been life-changing. I chose the programming skill reward, which seemed obvious given economic trends, but apparently most people choose vanity skill rewards like charisma or sexual endurance. I now have a job at Google, a corporation that offers maximum schedule flexibility for Stepping, and money with lots of trailing zeros in my bank account.

It all makes me laugh that my mom had to essentially force me to start Stepping. All my life I’d tried to get better at things with practice, and all my life I’d failed to acquire any useful skills. Yet, the thought of moving up and down stairs so the NXQ3000 could alter my brain struck me as both stupid and dangerous. Now I get that my aversion was another personification of my “fear of success.” So glad that’s no longer a part of me.

I left that talk yesterday more pessimistic than ever about healthcare.
To think that there I was listening to decorated, allegedly innovative healthcare thinkers and all I heard were hackneyed ideas that were long ago disproven; I expect this from casual entrants in the healthcare discussion, not people running the benefits for 1.2 million people.
The natural place to start is the Enron-level accounting that miraculously hails increased spending as saving. Just think how laughable it would be in any other context to go from spending $8 in year 1 to $10 in year 2 to $11 in year three and hail this as savings because the rate of increase was lower.


Thank you for having the integrity, unlike xxxxxxxxx, to say what we all knew: you have no idea how to save money in healthcare.
Sure, you didn’t say it directly, and in fact presented yourself as some sage on the topic, but your own numbers don’t lie – the numbers that show you presiding over a positive healthcare spending trend every single year. Only in the backward world of healthcare would anyone dare to present such obvious increases in spending as savings.