Good Begets Good and Bad Begets Bad: Green Grass Theory

Complaining begets more complaints. Anger begets more anger. And optimism begets more optimism

Simon Sinek

Beget means brings about or gives rise to something. In that regard, one thing Dr. Dean Ornish reported, in his study of cardiovascular disease, was that anger begets anger. He explained that letting out your emotions or getting angry by yelling or in other forms did not end anger, it actually encouraged it. Similarly, positive health behavior studies cited how better food choices, like involvement in sports and time with parents brings about more desirable behaviors. These studies show that it is not just bad that begets bad, GOOD BEGETS GOOD.

A prediction is a theory. The Green Grass Theory predicts that good actions bring about or beget more good actions and the cumulative effect of these actions will create desirable results. Good, meaning productive, effective, correct etc.  actions are the only way to create a desirable result. Only improved actions can improve the process and better results are only possible from an improved process.

The Green Grass Theory prediction suggests that engaging in good or health promoting behaviors will crowd out bad behavior. Interestingly, recently there have been multiple mentions of a crowding out effect. Currently  and unfortunately, because of promotion and availability, the opposite is happening that is bad behaviors are crowding out good behaviors. To have the world we want, we need to alter this trend.

We can alter this trend with what I have termed, and written about, “The Green Grass Theory”. As previously noted in the post, Terrorism Cannot be Prevented Or Eliminated, our current approach, or prevailing style, because it simply tries to mainly lessen terrorism, without making it truly better. If we want a better tomorrow, it can only happen by taking deliberate actions that can generate a new reality.

This theory suggests that creating something new and better will “crowd out” what we do not want. Good will beget or bring about more good. If it does not, the new, better reality cannot not exist (see Green Grass Theory). In my More Undoing: A Beneficial Drug Policy post, I shared how Johann Hari demonstrated, with real-life examples in his book and presentations, that when people generate a meaningful reason to live, they have a better life. Their better life then “crowds out” a destructive drug habit. The destructive drug habit is inconsistent with their better life so it is removed like an weed in an otherwise lush green lawn. If the bad habit or weed were not removed, the better life or lush lawn could not be realized. Good begets Good.

In my Science Suggests: Focus On More Good over Less Bad post, I highlighted Dr. Michael Greger’s April 26th, 2017  Nutrition Facts video, “Is It Better to Advise More Plants or Less Junk?“. In this video he documented the “crowding out” phenomenon from good food choices when students were given a free piece of fruit. Giving out fruit free was financially beneficial, over the longer term. It was cost effective because these students continued to eat more fruit more than 3 years later than those who were not given the fruit. In other words, these good choices crowded out bad choices because we can only eat so much. To help you understand,  I encourage you to watch his 5 minute video.

Recently, on The Crowding Out Strategy to Eating Healthier. The post again emphasized the Norwegian study. The post explained that not only does “crowding out” bad choices work, it is a more expedient strategy to promote an increase in consumption of healthy items than a strategy designed to decrease consumption of unhealthy items. This is also common sense, good results can only result from good actions. Good begets good. Benefits can only ensue from better choices. Not making a bad choice does not necessarily lead to a better choice instead. A “Nudge” is needed to help them make the better choice so Good Begets Good.

The program Dr. Gregor sites was a free school fruit scheme that was introduced in Norway for grades 1 through 10. This program not only increased fruit consumption, it also had a positive ripple or spillover effect on their parents who also started eating more fruit also. Importantly, “…although the “intention of these programs was not to reduce unhealthy snack intakes,” that’s exactly what appeared to happen, the fruit replaced, or crowded out, some of the junk. As noted, “Increasing healthy choices to crowd out the unhealthy ones may be more effective than just telling kids not to eat junk, which could actually backfire.”

Promoting good is more efficient because you only need to encourage good choices. The good choices should be choices that can crowd out bad choices. This is more efficient because then you don’t also need to discourage bad choices. As noted, “…the intention of these programs was not to reduce …but…that’s exactly what appeared to happen…”

Goodresults from a “crowding out” strategy were also shared in a story outlined in Dan Heath’s new book, Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen. This example relates to excessive alcohol consumption by Icelandic teenagers. I know drinking less is less bad, however it was the promotion of more good, sports engagement, that also crowded out the bad.

This intervention gave kids more opportunities to be involved in sports. They chose sports because it was a different way to experience a “high”, as a way crowd out the bad choices. Not only were kids more likely to be more physically active, they were also spending more time with their parents, a beneficial ripple effect. These good options, sports and time with parents, “crowded out” the bad options, excessive drinking prevention being the main action of the effort.

Of course this all lines up with why Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant!(see linked post). The result of these strategies is a net-positive improvement beyond the status quo reference point. Create the life you want by engaging in good actions physically, socially, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, vocationally and environmentally and it will bring about more good actions. Good actions improve the process and an improved process will yield a better life, as a by-product.

To bring about good, do good by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic actions so everyone and everything benefits so you can generate comprehensive benefits. Creating good, by doing good begets more good and this can give your life the meaning it was meant to have. I look forward to hearing how you do good from selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions  #SelfishSelflessSynergy.

Please share how you do good…

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

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