Dramatic events catch our attention but dramatic and important are not necessarily the same. The wise know that to do the most good possible, we should seek out the highest available leverage points, pursue the greatest return on investment, and allocate limited resources to do the most good for the greatest number for the longest period of time. 

Look at the stats below: if you were a leader in the USA in charge of saving the most American lives possible, where would you put your energy? Your time? What would be your priority?

– 480,000 deaths annually
– 300,000 deaths annually
– 88,000 deaths annually
– 98,000 deaths annually
Under 100 (non-combat) deaths annually

In order:

– Deaths due to smoking
– Death due to overeating/obesity
– Deaths due to alcohol abuse (including 10,000 auto fatalities, one third of total)
– Deaths due to medical mistakes
– Deaths due to terrorism

You are 33,842 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack and 35,079 times more likely to die from heart disease but what consumes our national agenda?

Buddhism warns us to be beware the “Second Arrow”: The First Arrow is what happens in life, the Second Arrow is the damage we do to ourselves by over-reacting or reacting inappropriately. 

Closing Quote:

“Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier