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It’s not always a crisis

I was recently struck by this post on Dan Cullum’s blog. A lot of my professional time is spent explaining to people why something isn’t a crisis, and why they ought not to be panicking about it. It’s not an easy skill, but it’s one that I think I’ve become quite good at over the years.

I find it much harder to do the opposite, and convince someone that something is a crisis when they’re not treating it as one. This applies as much to things that are small and specific (‘this approach to this problem is fundamentally unsafe’) as to things that are large and general (‘the planet’s climate is becoming incompatible with life’).

This is a nut I haven’t cracked.

It strikes me that this is not dissimilar to a challenge I faced in clinical medicine. One of my strengths was my ability to reassure people, to address and calm their fears. But, like most doctors, I struggled with convincing people to change their behaviour, particularly when they judged it to be acceptable, no matter the risk to their personal health.

It’s not always a crisis, but sometimes it is, even when you think otherwise.

The image at the top of this post was generated by Midjourney.

This post was filed under: Post-a-day 2023, .

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