National Parks: Great Tax$ Use!

As the Family Circus comic explains, National Parks are a hard act to follow. I had the good fortune of visiting many national and state parks this summer. My wife is Swedish and now that she is a citizen and living in America – she wants to see it all. I am glad she has pushed us to make these trips, on the way to a family wedding. I am better for it. We visited these state and national parks (I added a few pictures):

  • White Sands, the gypsum is interesting
  • Zion – the Narrows were an amazing hike
  • Coral reef
  • Arches,wow
  • Grand Canyon – North Ridge
  • Canyon lands 
  • Yellowstone 
  • Grand Tetons
  • Glacier 
  • Red canyon
  • Golden Gate Bridge 
  • Redwoods 
  • Pacific Coast Highway
  • and so much more…

What a wonderful benefit provided by our tax dollars for all to enjoy. The parks were and are awesome. They were clean, well run, educational, and overall better than I had anticipated. The staff was friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable. I strongly encourage all to enjoy any state and or national park you can.

I believe I am using awesome as it was meant to be used. I was awed by the grandeur and wonders of nature at the parks. It was amazing how the earth is able to adapt to what happens and the beauty created in the process. It could an earthquake, volcano or even change in temperature, everything else then adapts. The results are interesting and often beautiful. We usually miss amazing changes in nature because nature works on slower time frame than humans. Of course the earth will always be fine, however it may not be as hospitable to humans as is predicted from our burning of ancient sunlight. We must keep this in mind and listen to the experts with regard to climate change (see Stop the Death of Expertise)

Technology, however, made our visit to these parks even better, MUCH BETTER than expected:

The amazing technology that enhanced out trip was the Gypsyguide App. A person we met one of the camp sites we stayed it recommended it. The GyPSy Guide app was beneficial and educational. There are many downloadable programs for must part and they cost between $8-$20. If you are interested, you can learn more about it here at the GyPSy Guide website.

As we toured the parks, the GyPSy Guide app would provide interesting information about the site. Even though we did not have wifi all the time, it knew where we were and it provided a guided tour at Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, and as we drove the Pacific Coast Highway along the pacific ocean.

We learned so much. It made the sites more interesting. As we were driving it told us about the history many interesting facts I would not have known otherwise. For instance, we learned that most of these national parks were run by volunteer directors when they were created at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century.

The app was helpful because it would tell us to stop at MUST SEE sites and explain about each of those sites. It would mention all sites but only said some were MUST SEE. I am sure we would not have stopped at many of those sites and been asamazed as we were if we did not have the GyPSy Guide.

Although technology is sometimes frustrating, on the whole it can be quite helpful and it can be wonderful. The GyPSy App is an example of how technology has enhanced our lives. Interestingly, Dan Brown addressed the intersection of humans with technology in his book, “Origin“ (see post: The Multiple Perspectives of Dan Brown’s “Origin”).

I would say our visits to these parks created interactions that made our lives better and helped me appreciate nature. It motivated me to want to generate comprehensive benefits by creating regenerative, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. I encourage all of you to go and enjoy a state and or national park when you can. Plan for it now, don’t just put it on a list to do someday, go as soon as you can to enjoy our wonderful parks!

Seth Godin, on Seth’s Blog, offers some interesting thoughts about technological change here, Cyber Realists.


Craig Becker

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


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Trees & Forests Can Help Us!?

I recently read and reviewed a very interesting book, The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World. It amazed and inspired me. The wisdom in the trees is amazing, we can learn so much about how we can make our lives better for everyone and everything by learning how trees manage their lives. As Peter Wohllenben documents, with clarity and support, forests practice Paneugenesis because they generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Below is the review I posted on Goodreads and Google books.

Wow – what different thoughts I have after reading this book. I was surprised at how much this book impacted my thoughts. Understand I also have an informed bias. I am an environmentalist and believe we not only must live sustainably, but we also have to fix all we have broken. My reading indicates this book supported that belief while also helping me gain an even better and deeper understanding of the innate interconnections of all living beings on earth.

The book nudged me to see trees, and plants for that matter, as living beings, but on a different time scale than us. Trees live 500 to 1000 years so they change slowly. This slow rate of change has caused us to see trees as things, rather than living beings. Wohlleben makes a strong case for how and why trees are living beings. He even got me to understand how trees may have emotions and feelings. As he states and makes clear, “… Trees are not competitive crusaders but members of a connected, related community system.”

I was amazed over and over again by the hidden capabilities of trees and forests. Trees also form a community and are connected. They also help each other, even other plants thought to be competitors because it is the whole, the forest, that takes priority. I was continually awed. For instance, I was amazed to learn about all the natural defenses trees and forests develop to use for floods, heat and cold that are lost when trees are moved from the forest to a city.  

I was also amazed to learn how trees clean the air. Trees also react to their surroundings. Trees send out scents to attract predators or push away greedy plants or animals when needed. I was also amazed to learn if trees don’t have time to rest due to lights in a city or are not able to experience the coolness of the winter, they die earlier. It was also interesting to learn how helpful it is for the well-being of trees to have relatives, such as mother and father trees, close by. The mother trees nurture their babies, just like us. I was amazed to learn that trees also suffer from loneliness and die early when they are removed from a forest.

In other words, trees practice paneugenesis and therefore generate comprehensive improvements by making life more livable. They are act selfishly to keep a forest abundant because it provides their greatest chance for a good life, it acts selflessly by helping others when they need it, and these selfish, selfless, symbiotic actions cause synergistic benefits from which everyone and everything benefits.

Near the end of the book, he stated: “Forests are not first and foremost lumber factories and warehouses for raw materials, and only secondarily complex habitats for thousands of species, which is the way modern forestry treats them. Completely the opposite, in fact.” In a similar way, this is the point I try to make with my work focused on health. We do not first and foremost take actions and do things to prevent bad consequences from happening, and only secondarily improve well-being, which is how our “health” care system and society works now. Results document the complete opposite is the more beneficial path.

We should engage in actions that enhance our society with a systems appreciation so our actions generate comprehensive improvements that benefit everyone and everything. This is the system of the forest that Peter Wohlleben explained in his book, “The Hidden Life of Trees: what they feel, how they communicate: discoveries from a secret world”. Nature can teach us so much…

I was inspired to learn more about what the trees and forests can teach us so I am now enjoying Suzanne Simard’s book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest.

Please enjoy this short introductory video by Dr. Simard:

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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


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What is the desired end game?

A current, and highly relevant, Washington Post article, Ben Franklin’s bitter regret that he didn’t immunize his 4-year-old son against smallpox, focused on a choice that plagued him until death.

Regret is very powerful because there is usually no opportunity for a do-over. This is probably why the second of Steven Covey’s 7 Habits for Highly Effective People was, “Begin with the End in Mind”. The habit recommends we “envision what you want in the future so you can work and plan towards it.” This is also how I recommend you create all good and is the first step in of the Paneugenesis Process, “Operationalize an Idealized Outcome”.

What do you want to achieve in the end? What are you hoping to accomplish? What do you want to be known for? I use this way of thinking becauseI want to help create a better future. Everything I do has been about improving processes, most specifically the lifestyle process, so the product, the endgame, health and well-being in my case, can take care of itself. The only way to improve the outcome or the endgame is to improve the process. There is no other way. If a process already worked or the method was adequate, the desired outcome would have been achieved.

I work as a health and wellness professional. I regularly post about how to improve the process by creating reciprocal, pervasive, selfish, selfless interactions so everyone and everything benefits, an end I believe most desire. #SelfishSelflessSynergy

My research has repeatedly shown that as you improve the process by taking beneficial physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and environmental actions, you get a better life satisfaction, and a better quality of life. The end comes about because you have more capacity, more potential, better energy, improved sleep, a better social network and also, as a secondary effect, less problems. Though all problems do not disappear, when difficult things do happen, you are better able to handle those situations. This means an improved process gives people more freedom. More freedom therefore is the result of an improved process.

Applying to Life Today

What’s the goal with anti-vaccination and then resistance to masks? Is the endgame more freedom? How is that possible with this process. Not masking or not taking vaccinations cannot lead to more freedom. Evidence indicates we should adjust the process and follow the science because masking and vaccinations work.

Some people don’t want to wear masks or get vaccinations. Do they understand that not getting the vaccination is the reason we need to wear masks? In a strange twist, evidence indicates the ones being most protected by masking are the unvaccinated. They are the ones being hospitalized with COVID and are also the ones that enable it to replicate and evolve into different variants.

Begin with the End in Mind

Let’s give ourselves an opportunity to generate comprehensive improvements in the future, the end on my mind, by wearing masks and getting vaccinated so everyone and everything benefits. This process helps individuals, selfish, others, selfless, and enables us to do more together, synergy. The side effect is the end of COVID, Yea!

Another good article on the topic is Charles Blow’s 8-8-2021 NYT’s column, “Anti-Vax Insanity“. Please help by getting vaccinated and masking up so we can end COVID and then work to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interventions so everyone and everting benefits.

In a related article, Nicholas Kristof’s New York Times column, Vaccinate the World! The Best Investment Ever, recommends the US and Group 7 Leading countries help poor countries get vaccinated to enable us all to move forward. From my perspective, Kristof’s article is suggesting a Selfish, Selfless, Synergistic strategy we should encourage.

Jamelle Bouie’s August 13, 2021 column, If You Skip the Vaccine, It Is My ‘Damn Business’ highlights the connectedness of all of us and the value of selfish, selfless actions that are synergistic #SelfishSelflessSynergy. He brings into focus the role sports figures play and how we are all connected:

Wearing a helmet while bike riding, strapping on your seatbelt in a car — these are personal decisions, at least as far as your own injuries are concerned. Vaccination is different. In the context of a deadly and often debilitating contagion, where the unchecked spread of infection has consequences for the entire society, vaccination is not a personal decision. 

What do you think? Please share your thoughts below. Thank you.

I would like to thank Bill Redding for his helpful feedback on this post.

P.S. It was good to see a supportive editorial in our Local paper: Editorial: Local mask mandates will help N.C.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Method to Improve Judgements

I recently read the 2021 book, Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass Sunstein. I posted a paired down version of the review below:

“Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement” was a good surprise for me. Daniel Kahneman and Cass Sustein’s were two of the three authors of this book. Their books, Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast & Slow” mentioned in many posts such as Unique Well-Being Influences of Experience and Memory) and Sunstein’s “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, & Happiness” (also discussed in many posts) were both great books. This book for me was an extension of those works and how to use the ideas presented in those books more effectively. It certainly shifted my thinking from believing it was just bias that could cause errors, to understanding how our diverse thoughts can be more effectively coralled in ways that result in better judgment. The book also helped me understand why noise is an unseen and therefore uncorrected problem and why a focus on improving our decision process can help.

Nate Silver’s book, “The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—But Some Don’t” differentiated the signal from noise in the data with a focus on recognizing the signal. This book explained more about the noise. It explained how “Noise” can cause errors when we use our mind as a measuring instrument. Noise, which can happen on occasion, because of hunger, other concerns, and inattention to details can lead to all of us generating different judgments, even to the same situations. These different judgments lead to increased variance. More consistency, a suggested goal, could occur by lowering the variance through better methods or processes. Improved processes was also the main successful method Dr. W. Edwards Deming promoted to improve quality.

I also now better understand the idea of “Wisdom of the Crowds”. They also acknowledged wisdom does depend on the crowd. The idea of wisdom in crowds is how multiple views aggregated can cancel out errors. Cancelling out or averaging errors cannot happen with single shot assessments by judges or insurance adjusters. To make these single shot judgments less problematic, they recommend improving the decision process by treating those single shot judgements as recurring events. In other words, just as Deming demonstrated with quality management methods, continual process improvements should be the focus – the decision making process in this case.

I was surprised to learn that the powerful impact of anchoring was so pervasive. Anchoring seemed to be a repeated issue or source of errors. Anchoring, as has been shown, happens in situation when the first event, such as a price mentioned, becomes the anchor or reference point from which all else is measured or judged. One of their suggestions to counter anchoring is to use base rates as an anchor. 

It was also explained how anchors are formed from first impressions, first statements and more. After an anchor is established, generally without our conscious recognition, we then use confirmation bias to distort new information so it fits that anchored or our original impression. We do this because we seek coherence. It seems none of us likes to be confused so we attempt o create coherence.

Noise is a very good book that helped me understand how our built in biases such as anchoring, planning fallacy, present bias (endowment effect), confirmation bias , substitution of easier answers for more complicated questions, overconfidence, loss aversion, availability and others impact our judgement. They also offered many ways to improve our judgement. Specifically it seems they are suggesting we slow down so we can use our logical brain, rather than our intuitive brain to make better judgements – what they call Decision Hygiene.

Basically, their generally suggestions to make better judgments, and be more accurate, are to take an outside view by determining a base rate, structure judgements based on several independently determined assessments (independence of assessments is vital), resist premature intuition (to avoid the anchoring effect), and then aggregate multiple independent judgements prior to making overall judgment. They also emphasize the superiority of relative versus absolute judgments. In other words, if you are interested in improving your personal or organizational judgments, I recommend the book, “Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement”.

An important lesson I was reminded of from reading this book was not to let one area be most important. As we build a better life, it all matters. As I show in my work with the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS), all areas in our life can make a meaningful contribution to helping promote personal and planetary well-being. In other words, my research and that of many others has shown that we can help generate comprehensive improvements by creating reciprocal, pervasive, selfish, selfless, synergistic physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, vocational, and environmental interactions that help everyone and everything benefit. The missed point, often because of the push for significance in research, is that the results are from the longer term accumulation of impacts and all contributions matter. If you are interested, you can review any of the peer reviewed articles I have published with colleagues. To access, you may need to go to libraries and use Google Scholar. A recommended search is Becker, CM, salutogenesis, health, and well-being.

Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about promoting selfish, selfless, synergy so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.

The Incredible, Edible Straw

Believe or not, we can generate all good by using a creative and innovative spirit with straws, as started by Asava. As most of us know, the problematic impact of plastic straws has been in the news. Straws, however, are only a small part of the problem and may cause others as noted by Stanford.

Banning straws may confer ‘moral license’ – allowing companies and their customers to feel they have done their part. The crucial challenge is to ensure that these bans are just a first step.

JIM LEAPECo-director, Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions

There are better options. For instance I learned of an option when I was traveling through Utah; Kanab Utah to be exact. When I was there, we stopped at the Asava Juice shop to get a healthy smoothy. When we stopped there, they provided a an edible straw rather than a paper straw or a recyclable straw, or even a straw made from recycled material.

From my perspective, this is a step in the right direction. It was a good straw with regard to functionality. While the straw was made from Agave or sugar, not the healthiest alternative, there was no plastic waste. To instill continual improvement, the next step would be to make the straw from a healthy ingredient grown from regenerative agriculture.

To me an edible straw represents progress, thank you Asava for making me aware of this creative and innovative alternative! Now we must ask, what can be done to make those straws more beneficial to person and planet? Asava helped me discovered the start of a way to generate comprehensive benefits with straws.

The next step should be to develop an edible straw that provides good nutrition and comes from regenerative agriculture. Incredible, edible straws would provide a pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless synergistic interaction from which everyone and everything would benefit.

Please share other solutions that generate comprehensive benefits and your ideas for the next step to create incredible edible straws that generate comprehensive benefits.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.