The chart below, as developed by McDonough and Braungart for their book Upcycle, displays the goal of good or positive impacts being more than negative impacts.
Both positive and negative impacts are continually happening and both exist simultaneously. Most important, it is necessary to understand that negative and positive impacts are independent. I discuss how negative and positive concepts impact health in the short video, Create the Life You Want, below.
Decreasing negative does not create positive impacts just as increasing positive impacts does not decrease negative impacts directly. Indirectly however they are related because of time. There is only so much time to do things and if our efforts lead to negative impacts, there is then only enough time to make things less bad, not actually good or positive. For this reason it is important to start with a positive objective instead of one to lessen bad. The goal or aim of creating all good by creating interactions so everyone and everything (all species) benefits is necessary to allow positive impacts to overtake negative impacts. Of course as noted in previous posts, I call this the practice of paneugenesis or selfish, selfless, synergy.
By using the starting point of an idealized outcome or to create ALL good rather than rectify problems, good or positive impacts are more likely to overtake negative impacts. In my discussions, I often point out examples in life when positives have a larger impact than negatives. The positive impact of Deming and his quality management efforts is an example that allowed business efforts to have positive impacts that overtook negative impacts. In health I have documented where salutogenesis efforts enable positive impacts to overtake negative impacts, and in policy the practice of libertarian paternalism has shown that we can “Nudge” society in ways so positive impacts overtake negatives. The most recent example I have come across is that of Upcycling or to create beneficial environmental impacts as outlined by McDonough and Braungart in Cradle to Cradle and Upcycle.
Another powerful example of efforts that result in positive impacts overtaking negative impacts is the work of Carol Dweck in education. Her efforts have focused on the idea of the growth mindset rather than the traditional set mindset. To learn more I encourage you to read her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success and listen to her recent TED Presentation below, ” The Power of Believing You Can Improve.”
Each of these efforts are profoundly important and helpful, however, to me what is most important and valuable are the similarities of the many efforts to Create Good, not just cause Less Bad. My upcoming posts will focus on these connections and how our efforts can create more good, not just less bad!
Enjoy – Happy Holidays. I look forward to hearing how you will make 2015 a More Good Year, not just a Less Bad Year!