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The “right” and the “pragmatic”

This is (slightly modified) from a blog post by Marco Arment, writing about the entertainment industry:

Relying solely on yelling about what’s right isn’t a pragmatic approach to take. It’s unrealistic and naïve to expect everyone to do the “right” thing when the alternative is easier, faster and cheaper for so many of them. The pragmatic approach is to address the demand.

I came across this quote via Jonathan Rothwell’s blog post, and, in truth, I’m fairly ambivalent about the entertainment industry.

Yet the sentiment of the quote (perhaps better expressed in the full article) – the importance of marrying the “right” with the “pragmatic” – is applicable in so many areas of life, not least public health. And yet, it strikes me as an often forgotten, or perhaps often ignored, tenet.

It’s easy to say “lose weight”, “drink less”, or “stop smoking”, and we all know that such messages are right. But all have a multitude of maintaining habitual behaviours and causal factors, and maintaining the status quo is all-to-often “easier, faster and cheaper”. The secret of great public health interventions is to turn the “right” choice into the “pragmatic” choice – and, in truth, we’re not always great at doing that.

Marrying “right” with “pragmatic” can be hard, and requires seeing a problem from multiple points of view. It’s easier to concentrate on the “right”, but it rarely works. We all need to get better at making out solutions pragmatic, even if it means approaching problems in unfamiliar, unusual ways.

Here endeth the lesson.

This 1,541st post was filed under: Health, Quotes, , .






More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th February 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 31st December 2016)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 30th November 2016)

Photo-a-day 180: Springs (published 28th June 2012)

Photo-a-day 190: Ouseburn and a foxglove (published 8th July 2012)

This Blogging Month: August (published 31st August 2005)

Mini-Quiz (published 23rd September 2004)


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