Spotlight on Spotlight

I just watched the movie Spotlight and was inspired by the determination and integrity of the Boston Globe reporters while simultaneously being disgusted by the betrayal and deceit of the situation. I am still processing all I saw and its implications. I am grateful that the Boston Globe reporters Sacha Pfeiffer, Mark Rezendes, Walter V. Robinson, Marty Baron, Ben Bradley Jr., and Matt Carroll were able to put a “Spotlight” on the bad. My hope is now the focus moves toward creating good. If our focus is on what went wrong, we can only fix the wrong. While fixing what was wrong is important, I know we can do better.

To do more, as I write about extensively, we can turn our focus to an Idealized Outcome and determine what that could be. We then must do what is necessary to create conditions and align with people to create that desired outcome. As our new reality evolves, we must continuously monitor it to document progress toward what we want is being made. If we see it is getting off path, corrections, or continual improvement efforts are necessary. This is an ongoing opportunity.

With regard to the Spotlight story, the ideas the church has of helping others have a better life are good, however as was shown in the movie, they got off track. To me another important realization from the movie is the value of INDEPENDENT investigative journalism. While google is great and has improved life for many, the diversion resources from journalists is a concern.

My focus to create all good, selfish, selfless, synergy through the practice of paneugenesis is renewed. Paneugenesis means to generate comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits. To practice paneugenesis we can:

1. Operationalize an Idealized Outcome – envision a better tomorrow and work to make sure all involved parties can see what is to be created that is better than what can be now. W. Edwards Deming explained that to operationalize means that we all have to seethe same vision of the future we are to create. It needs to be understood, how the idealized outcome can be created most likely will only by hypothesized, and not be known or even believed possible by many. The how must be discovered.

2. Discover Precursors – In the discovery process we must learn what must exist to make the idealized outcome a reality. When Kennedy said we would be to the moon by the end of the decade, he didn’t know how but knew what he wanted to happen. In this stage we must determine the necessary skills, abilities, traits, and environments that must exist if we are to realize the desired idealized outcome.

3. Optimize the Process – Here we must work to develop and create those required precursors that will enable the idealized outcome to be realized. During this phase it is likely much will be learned as many incorrect assumptions will need to be overcome. As Edison said after “failing” 25,000 times when creating the lightbulb, “…creating the light but has 25,001 steps.”

4. Plot Progress – During this phase it necessary to continually measure progress toward creating the desired outcome by determining progress in the creation of precursors and or idealized outcome. Evidence needs to be gathered to suggest desired progress is ongoing, which inspires people to keep working, and if not work should be done to correct the path being used to create a new and better reality.

The work done during each of these phases will give those making these efforts new skills and abilities to do what has not been done before. New skills, abilities and knowledge are  necessary ingredients to create something that did not and could not have existed before.

I look forward to enjoying a better tomorrow!

Interesting Video’s about the story behind Spotlight:

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

We can Shape Perceptions

So much of what we do is shaped by what we perceive. Our perception is our reality. Most theories used rely on  perceptions – perceived threats, perceived risks, perceived benefits and most importantly by perceived consequences. We generally are only willing to take action if we perceived positive consequences are possible. Government, society, media, and leaders of organizations shape our perceptions.

As I tell my students, if people you work with are not interested in taking action to improve their lives or to work hard, then these people don’t have  clear perception of positive consequences is possible. As Abraham Maslow made clear, man is motivated to make progress and met needs are unmotivating. It is our job as health professionals to clarify the positive progress that is possible and to show them how to make and document progress.


The idea of progress and perception confusion was driven home to while reading Steven Pinker’s 2011 book, “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violences Has Declined“. Though I have not finished the book, it is long, the premise is to document how we are significantly less violent now than we have been. That premise is hard to accept with news that highlights violence.He works to rectify this misleading perception in the first chapter. To me what made his point best was when he provided an imaginary 1976 Commencement speech. I encourage you read this speech and reflect. If you are like me, it will help shape your perception:

1976 Commencement Speech

“Mr. Principal , members of the faculty, family, friends, and Class of 1976. Now is a time of great challenges. But is also a time of great opportunities. As you embark on you lives as educated men and women, I call on you to give something back to your community, to work for a brighter future, and to try to make the world a better place.

Now that we have that out of the way, I have something more interesting to say to you. I want to share my vision of what the world will be like at the time of your 35th reunion. The calendar will have rolled over into new millennium, bringing you a world that is beyond your imagination. I am not referring to the advance of technology, though it will have effects you can barely conceive. I am referring to the advance of peace and human security, which you will find even harder to conceive.

To be sure, the world of 2011 will still be a dangerous place. During the next 35 years there will be wards, as there are today, and there will be genocides, as there are today, some of them in places no one would have predicted. Nuclear weapons will still be a threat. Some of the violent regions of the world will continue to be violent. But superimposed on these constants will be unfathomable changes.

First and foremost, the nightmare that has darkened your lives since your early memories of cowering in fallout shelters, a nuclear doomsday in a 3rd world war, will come to an end. In a decade the Soviet Union will declare peace with the West, and the Cold War will be over without a shot being fired. China will also fall of the radar as a military threat, indeed it will become our major trading partner. During the next 35 years no nuclear weapon will be used against an enemy. In fact, there will be no war between major nations at all. The peace in Western Europe will continue indefinitely, and within five years the incessant warring in East Asia will give way to a long peace there as well

There is more good news, East Germany  will open its border, and joyful students will sledgehammer the Berlin Wall to smithereens. The Iron Curtain will vanish, the nations of Central and Eastern Europe will become liberal democracies free of Soviet domination. The Soviet Union will not only abandon totalitarian communism but will voluntarily go out of existence. The republics that Russia has occupied for decades and centuries will become independent states, many of them democratic. In most of the countries this will happen with not a drop of blood being spilled.

Fascism too will vanish from Europe, then from much of the rest of the world.. Portugal, Spain, and Greece will become liberal democracies. So will Taiwan, South Korea, and most of the South and Central America. The generalissimos, the colonels, the juntas, the banana republics and the annual military coups will depart  the stage in most of the developed world.

The Middle East also has surprises in store. You have just lived through the 5th war between Israel and Arab states in 25 years. These wars have killed 50,000 peopled recently threatened to drag the superpowers into a nuclear confrontation. But with in 3 years the president of Egypt will hug the prime minister of Israel in the Knesset, and they will sign a peace treaty that will last into the indefinite future. Jordan too will make a lasting peace with Israel. Syria will engage in sporadic peace talks with Israel, and the two countries will not go to war.

In South Africa, the apartheid regime  will be diminished, and the white minority will cede power to the black majority. This will happen with no civil war, not bloodbath, no violent recriminations against former oppressors.

Many of these developments will be the results of long and courageous struggles. But some of them will just happen, catching everyone by surprise. Perhaps some of you  will try to figure out how it all happened. I congratulate you  on your accomplishments and wish you success and satisfaction in the years ahead.”

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

20 Quotes from Children’s Books Every Adult Should Know

Stumble Upon sent me this link and as a lover of quotes, I wanted to share. Enjoy:

20 Quotes From Children’s Books Every Adult Should Know


It’s interesting how some of life’s greatest lessons can be found in children’s literature. And chances are that we did not realize this back when we were kids. Sometimes it’s only when we’re older that we learn to fully appreciate and understand the poignant words from our childhood entertainment.

Here’s some of the best quotes from books we used to read.

1. A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

2. Dr Seuss, Horton Hears a Who

3. Aesop, The Lion and the Mouse

4. A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

5. Roald Dahl, The Twits

6. Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You’ll Go

7. Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic

8. Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

9. L. Frank Braum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

10. A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

11. E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

12. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

13. J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

14. Shel Silverstein

15. Roald Dahl, The Minpins

16. Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

17. P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins

18. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

19. Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

20. A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

Share the wisdom with your friends, everyone loves a good quote.

Celebrating with Dad on his 84th Birthday!

I was fortunate enough to be able to celebrate my Dad’s 84th birthday with him and my mom this past week. Luckily my Spring Break always falls around his birthday so I take that time to visit. This year, as usual, we had a good time. Many say I am like my Dad, I hope I can be as good a father to my girls as he is a father to me. He has helped me by teaching me to always do my best and by being a good model to follow. To show our similar thinking, twice while I visited we put on similar clothes. One day I had on my ECU T-shirt only to find had chosen the same shirt. ECU represents East Carolina University where I am a professor. The next day I found we both wore  MIT T-shirts. MIT represents Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the school he graduated from in 1953.

How he handled the situation after my near fatal car accident demonstates how he always helped move forward. The car accident put me in a coma when I was 17. Despite the situation, he believed I would be fine. I wrote about that experience in, “The Power of Positive Health: Why I am So Passionate about Wellness” if you want to learn more about what happened. In that situation…

The doctors did not recommend I go to college because they didn’t think I could make it. Interestingly, my parents never lost hope. I had previously applied to college and had taken the SAT’s early. While I was in a coma, my acceptance letter came from Purdue. In the belief I would be fine, my father went ahead and completed my application and sent it in assuming I would go to college that fall despite the fact I was in a coma when he completed my papers.

To celebrate his birthday we went out to dinner. While we were celebrating his 84th birthday another family was there to celebrate their daughters 2nd birthday. In seeing the baby it reminded me of my girls and how fast they have grown up. They are now 19 and 17 about to be 20 and 18. Where did the time go? Although I addressed this issue in a previous post, What did I used to do with all My time?, the little girls parents told me something to capture that concept even better:

                   The days are long but the years are short.

To me it is a great reminder to do all we can to create interactions to benefit everyone and everything now because all the time we have is today. I look forward to hearing about how you made today great with Selfish, Selfless, Synergy!


Be Well’r,
Craig Becker, PhD

Does Empowerment for Health Beat War on Cancer?

In the article, “Salutogenesis 30 Years Later: Where do we go from here?” colleagues and I published in 2010 in International Electronic Journal of Health Education we began:

Mother Theresa stated that she would not participate in a march against war but would participate if the march were for peace. Such a march would not only empower people to end war, but also help them move toward peace. In her view, the process of creating peace was different than merely ending war. In the same way, health professionals should work to facilitate health rather than merely limit disease.

We started this way because research and results suggest it may be more effective to focus on what we want to create rather than what is to be extinguished . Brain research has shown we can only effectively focus on one thing at at time. Take the classic Selective Attention Test below:

This same logic can now be applied to Cancer. This linked recent Fast Company post asked the question, “Why Do We Still Describe Cancer as a ‘Battle’ or ‘War’?” Research is questioning if the war analogy is best. Some, as in this op ed piece, suggest it is not a war AGAINST cancer, a disempowering stance, but an empowering effort to create health. Recent research linked here suggests both may have value.

To me the choice is simple, I look for what can empower me to live an have a better life. My focus in life is how I can generate comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits through Selfish, Selfless, Synergy. The practice of paneugenesis. What do you think? I look forward to hearing how you contribute! Make it a great day, week, life!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker