The National Wellness Conference is an anomaly. I have been attending since 1998 and each year it is an amazing experience. I learn a great deal and come away with many new ideas – I hope you will join us this year in Minnesota.
For the last several years I have had the opportunity to present. Each year my presentations are a learning experience for me because I always propose ideas related to what I am learning about in books I am reading or studies I am conducting that could contribute to wellness. I must do this because submissions are due almost a year before the conference. If they are accepted I then figure out how to make what I learned into a good presentation. This has helped me learn so much. For example, this year I am presenting: Serendipitous Wellness: Can We Cause it to Happen? and Prevention Can Never Create Wellness: Here is what does.
With regard to the Serendipitous Wellness presentation I was reading about luck, serendipity, Steve Jobs and of course wellness and thought they must be related. I learned a tremendous amount and believe the evidence is clear – we can cause serendipity as it relates to wellness if we are prepared. In this presentation, I will share what I have learned. With regard to the Prevention Can Never Create Wellness presentation, this is similar to many other presentation proposals I have submitted over the years about the need to cause and create wellness by focusing on more then prevention. Previously those presentation had been rejected – this year it was accepted. I had thought it would be a very easy presentation to prepare since it is the focus on my entire career, however, I found it far more difficult than anticipated. In developing this presentation, I learned a tremendous amount about what can possibly create wellness and how it can and should be measured. I will be sharing what I learned in this presentation. Below I have shared the write up of what I am presenting for each, if you are interested.
I hope to see you in Minnesota at the NWC, if you there please stop me and say hi. I am also going to make one more post about what the NWC has meant to me and my career. Make it a great summer!
Presentation Descriptions for June 15-18 National Wellness Conference
1. Serendipitous Wellness: Can we cause it to happen? – at 1:00pm on 6/15/2015
Serendipity, a word coined by Horace Walpole in 1754, is the occurrence of chance beneficial events. Serendipity is associated with the surprising discovery of penicillin and also can be applied to wellness. At this presentation you will learn strategies like those used by late Steve Jobs to organize your work environments, develop communication styles, and lead a life that makes serendipity more likely. Even if you don’t create serendipitous wellness, you will learn how to build a better life.
Serendipity, a word coined by Horace Walpole in 1754, is the occurrence of chance beneficial events, or fortunate happenstance. Serendipity is associated with the surprising discovery of penicillin and other discoveries and it can also be applied to wellness. Wellness is progress toward a desired life, and this presentation will discuss how to cause serendipitous wellness or chance good things to happen. The current understanding of serendipity and the title of this presentation are purposely misleading and incomplete. Serendipity is misleading and incomplete, because the full definition explains how good events, such as discoveries, occur by accident AND sound judgement and perception. The presentation title is misleading, because if serendipity is luck or happenstance, how can it be caused to happen? In a similar way, some believe Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink” misled readers by encouraging the reader to trust their gut without first developing the requisite expertise. Of course there is no way to guarantee a desired serendipitous outcome, but evidence suggests the probability of it occurring can be increased just as we can make it more likely someone can become a high performing “Outlier”. In other words, luck plays a role, but serendipity is not entirely reliant on luck. This presentation will explain how to influence what and when the unexpected happens by choosing how we develop ourselves. Serendipity, after all, is the interaction between chance and the prepared, which means serendipitous wellness becomes more likely when we are ready and able for it to happen. While being prepared cannot guarantee serendipitous wellness, without preparation, it is unlikely. This presentation will outline strategies like those used by late Steve Jobs to organize your work environments, develop communication styles, and lead a life to make serendipity more likely. Of course, even if you don’t create serendipitous wellness, these ideas will help you will build a better life.
2. Prevention Can Never Create Wellness: Here is What Does! at 2:30pm 6/16/2015
By definition, prevention is the action of stopping something from happening. Therefore, if prevention works, nothing happens. Although, prevention is important, it cannot create positive health or wellness. Even without a prevention focus, multiple fields create better outcomes that also prevent without focusing on what to avoid. This presentation will review the evidence of these effective positive strategies and provide you with an idea of how to use these ideas in practice.
By definition, prevention is the action of stopping something from happening or arising. Therefore, if prevention works, the anticipatory actions result in complete avoidance of the undesired event; or, simply put, nothing happens. Although, prevention is important for stopping the bad, it cannot create the good – positive health or wellness. While it is morally imperative to stop bad things, such as disease, depression, infirmity etc. from happening, doing so, does not directly result in good things happening. Wellness is a positive outcome, and research has demonstrated in fields such as education, business, and health that by working to create positive outcomes better than previously experienced, a more effective way to create desired outcomes and prevent is used than one that focuses on what to avoid (i.e. prevention). In the field of business, W. Edwards Deming demonstrated that creating the positive of higher quality was not only the most profitable way to conduct business, it was also the most effective way to avoid and prevent waste, problems and costs. Cass Sustein and Richard Thaler demonstrated that public policy that “Nudges” people toward making better choices for themselves and society not only helps them and society function better, it also prevents and avoids many difficulties. In health, Aaron Antonovsky demonstrated that moving toward health with salutogenesis, or the study of the origins of health, not only creates better health or wellness, it also helps prevent or avoid diseases and infirmity. While prevention cannot create wellness, multiple fields have demonstrated that using strategies to develop and create positives better than current experiences is effective, and a byproduct of these positive strategies is prevention. This presentation will review evidence documenting the effectiveness of positive strategies and the outcomes generated that do more than just prevent. You will leave with an idea of how to use these ideas in practice.