Jerry, James & Kelly Help Us Get Things Done

I try to make at least on post a week. As with all things, sometimes other things take priority but I know I want to get things done. This week, I was having trouble because I had stayed up late and was tired. I remedied the situation by remembering advice I got from Jerry Seinfeld. Then I remembered the 10 Minute Rule recommended by James Clear and Kelly McGonigal. This post is the result of that strategy.

I am fan of James and Kelly’s work and I am also a HUGE fan of Jerry Seinfeld. I am excited the shows will be shown in Netflix. I often say, everything I wanted to know I learned watching Seinfeld. With my colleagues at work, we used to always come up with a scene from Seinfeld to support a work situation. Jerry helps us know we need to be rested. Below is his bit and after that is a longer interview and how sleep relates to willpower.

Well that is amusing, but how do we get things done. Kelly McGonigal, PhD gives us a strategy, “The 10 Minute Rule” in her book, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It. James Clear shares the same strategy in his book, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones.

The 10 minute Rule, as shown in the video below, helps get things done. As they explain, the ten minute negotiates what you do. Here is how it works. If you know you have a paper to write or presentation to prepare, or anything you need to do, but want to procrastinate, use the 10 minute rule. You use it by saying, “I will do the project I am avoiding for 10 minutes (set a timer) and if at the end of the 10 minutes you still don’t want to do it, give your permission to put it off. Either way, at least you will have done 10 minutes of things that need to be completed and you may find you get into and get it completed. It is remarkably helpful.

Please give it a shot and let me know how it works. I am interested in hearing how you are able to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, at least for 10 minutes. This can help you make it a great day and week.


Craig Becker

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


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Repeated Message: Need More Good

It seems every day I get hit with more messages telling me the same thing, we need more good, not just less bad. We can do things that not only benefit ourselves, but also leave everyone and everything else better. Transactions where each side just trades goods, is not enough, our transactions must have positive ripples. Even President Biden’s plans seek to “Build Back Better”.

Overall, I am continually learning we can be better when doing good. For example, last week I saw, “Kiss the Ground“, a movie that demonstrated how farmers, food, nourishment and society can be better through better methods. My wife shared something that makes her life better and also improves our world. I also read an excellent journal article by Ilona Kickbusch, PhD, Visioning the future of health promotion , that explained there are better methods needed for the future and was how she was visioning this for the future. I keep hearing we can do more good, not just less bad.

When I say it must be more good, not just less bad I mean the more sustainable, selfish, selfless, synergistic way of doing. For example, my wife changed from dairy creamer to almond milk creamer and she prefers the almond creamer, its better – selfish. Choosing almond rather than a dairy based creamer is good for the environment and animals – Selfless. My wife, getting a better morning brew and the opportunity to feel good about herself in a better environment means she can have a better day and help more kids – she teaches – synergy. Only when it is more good, will we stick with changes and only then will we want to look for more ways to be more good, not just less bad.

Kiss the Ground” is a movie about better soil, which makes better food, enables farmers to earn more money, can capture more carbon and makes better food. The food nourishes us more, which means we want more of this food that the farmer feels good about selling, because he knows it also benefits the environment, so he wants to make more of, etc. etc. it goes round and round of more good, not just less bad.

In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, Halbert Dunn devised of the concept of Wellness. He explained wellness must be:

Strong enough to activate devotion of time, resources, and energies toward understanding and culturing health in a positive sense

Halbert Dunn (1959, High Level Wellness for Man & Society)

As he stated, Wellness, which I define as progress, (See Experiencing Wellness = Progress Toward Desired) must be strong enough to devote time, resources and energies toward it development. I think he meant that its achievements should mean enough to us that we want to work toward its achievement.

For example, the 2021 JAMA article, Association Between Structural Housing Repairs for Low-Income Homeowners and Neighborhood Crime by Eugenia C. South, MD; John MacDonald, PhD; Vincent Reina, PhD, showed fixing up house, not only gave people a better place to live and a better life – the better community also had less crime. Could it be because people watched out for their neighbors, had more pride of ownership, or other reasons. Yes! More good, is has more of an impact than less bad.

In my own way, it has been my focus to Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad as I explained in this 17 minute presentation I made to my university’s sustainability committee.

Creating more good was also what McDonough and Braungart highlighted in their book Upcycle (see Concept: Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad). Seventh Generation CEO Jeffrey Hollander also emphasized less bad is not enough to generate more good.

Over and over evidence continues to document that we should focus on how to create more good, not just less bad. To make things better, we have to also fix what we broke. Either way, it is the best thing we can do because we will be making a contribution, Selfish, that others will benefit from, Selfless, and then there will be a better world, Synergy. #SelfishSelflessSynergy

I continue to work to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions from which everyone and everything benefits because it makes my dash – , valuable. The Dash is the poem written by Linda Ellis where the dash represents the time you were alive (i.e. like for my dad, 1932-2019) He made his dash valuable.

I am hoping these posts will inspire you to make your Dash even better by engaging in selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions that help everyone and everything. Please share how you generate #SelfishSelflessSynergy!


Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.
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Making Sense of Chaos, Meaninglessness, Disorientation

The question of what our lives mean causes us all to pause. In my continuing quest to understand, besides my work and talking with colleagues, I read Chaos: Making a New Science ©2008 by James Gleick.

by James Gleick

I thought understanding more about Chaos would help because it espouses to make universal laws about complex behavior. It also helped me understand that many things we take as fact, such as when the comet will next pass or the when the next eclipse will occur, is only a prediction, not statements of fact. It also explained, research scientist are not innovators but problem solvers under NORMAL conditions. These solutions do not account for outcomes when things are not as expected.

Chaos is a new way of seeing that requires one to renounce much of the past. This was refreshing, since many things we used to believe were wrong. (See Undoing Project book by Michael Lewis and related posts Undoing Needed because Mental Illusions Impact Us, More Undoing: A Beneficial Drug Policy, To Improve: “Undoing” Needed to Create Better!) Overall, Chaos is in search for understanding deterministic disorder. Yes, the whole idea is disorienting.

Chaos is about dynamical or changing nonlinear systems which are counterintuitive. It is said to have developed because more and more scientists felt reductionism, which is the compartmentalization of science, or the studying of isolated parts rather than the whole, was an impediment to their work.

The book explains that work in chaos has changed our view. While we had thought simple systems behave in simple ways, and complex behavior implied complex causes; now scientists know simple systems give rise to complex behavior and complex systems give rise to simple behavior. Thus counterintuitive. They also explain, “Life sucks order our of a sea of disorder”. In other words, we make life work by causing order, for the short term. Reading this Chaos book answered many questions, however, like when I got my PhD, it ended up raising many more questions then it answered.

We all want life to mean something, however that depends on the time and scale we consider. If consideration is for 1 day or 100,000 years, that means our actions have meaning or they do not. This conversation about meaning and life is one I have had with many colleagues I respect, such as Don Ardell. In our discussion of his new proposed Law of Wellness, he shared this good 5 minute presentation he did for Ignite Tampa 2015 about Life, Meaning and Meaninglessness:

While I agree with all he says, I thought the emphasis should be adjusted toward what we can do to make meaning and purpose now, in the short term to give our lives direction and purpose. Recently I also watched/listened to a TED conversation with astrophysicist Katie Mack about the origins of the universe that turned out to be relevant but caused even more disorientation. If you are interested, you can see/listen to it at TED: The Mind-Bending Reality of the Universe.

She also shared a poem she wrote in 2019, Disorientation: A Science Poem by Katie Mack. I found this counterintuitive stanza relevant:

…I want you to believe that the universe is a vast, random, uncaring place, in which our species, our world, has absolutely no significance. And I want you to believe that the only response is to make our own beauty and meaning and to share it while we can…

Katie Mack

I personally want to have a positive impact on the world, which can be seen as selfless. However I want to do that so I can feel good about myself, which is selfish. I also aim to create positive pervasive and reciprocal interactions so they are synergistic.

My reasoning suggests to me, we should all attempt to engage in Selfish, Selfless, Synergistic interactions (#SelfishSelflessSynergy) to generate comprehensive improvements that benefit everyone and everything. What do you think? Please share…

PS – I also came across this note by 9/11/2021 note by Seth Godin that I think captures these ideals:

Seth’s Blog: From Seth Godin

We are not astronomers

Unlike most of the sciences, astronomy is always done at a distance. You can see the stars, but you can’t do anything about them. Sometimes the media would like us to believe that we’re all astronomers, simply passive witnesses in a world out of our control. Sometimes the media would like us to believe that we’re all astronomers, simply passive witnesses in a world out of our control. But the world is never out of our influence. Remembrance, connection, possibility, invention, empathy, insight, correction, care and justice are all up to us. We not only observe, but we make changes happen. Our participation (or apathy) leads to a different future. The ocean is made of drops. And the drops are up to us. Who else is going to care enough to make an impact?

SEPTEMBER 11, 2021

Please share your thoughts, and most importantly, please engage in #SelfishSelfessSynergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.


Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.
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Strategic Alliances are Powerful

According to Suzanne Simard’s excellent 2021 book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest, that reviews her powerful, replicated, scientifically valid research, “Diversity matters and everything in the universe is connected.” Throughout her book she explains how forests generate magic through synergy. As she points out, we have missed the power of synergy and mistakenly simplified societies and ecosystems because our “Reductionist science” has been looking at the individual parts rather than the whole.

From my reading, Dr. Simard is saying that nature innately practices paneugenesis, or generates all good, by being reciprocal and helping all be better. Although not a perfect analogy, I realized something I teach, strategic alliances, may be even more powerful than I had thought. Even though I stress the importance of building them and keeping them as working professionals, I had no idea that they have their bases in evolution and ecology. I had stressed that strategic alliances were great because they not only help involved parties, now I know that when they are done right, they have even more powerful synergistic benefits than I had realized.

Strategic Alliances help generate WIN-WIN-WIN outcomes. Strategic Alliances can be defined as:

An agreement between two or more individuals or entities stating that the involved parties will act in a certain way in order to achieve a common goal. Strategic alliances usually make sense when the parties involved have complementary strengths. 

What I found most fascinating was how she was able to show us that forests are like sentient beings because trees, animals and even fungi perceive, relate and communicate. She also showed us how forests cooperate, make decisions and remember which demonstrates wisdom and intelligence.

Over eons, forests built and continue to build multiple reciprocal pervasive synergistic alliances with other trees, plants, animals using mycorrhizal fungus networks so all are better. I strongly encourage you to watch her TED talk, “Natures Internet: How Trees Talk to Each Other ins a Healthy Forest“. It provides a good summary of her book, but it is important to also read her book, “Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest“.

Wood-Wide Web

In the August 1997 Nature issue, her article, “Net transfer of carbon between ectomycorrhizal tree species in the field” described how the forest “talks” to all its inhabitants so it will efficiently use its resources so it can thrive. The Journal, as noted on the cover, dubbed the forests communication network as “The wood-wide web”. The Wood-Wide Web is how they create their strategic alliances.

Robin Sen on Twitter: "@andyheald @JohnWeirFC Example of tight #forest OM  (=log) #nutrient cycling driven #diversity via unseen root #mycorrhiza  #fungi we can eat!" / Twitter
August 1997

Natures Wisdom

As Jane Benyus made clear in Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, we need to learn from natures 3.8 billion years of experience. (see Parallel NOT Linear Means Create Positive AND Prevent Negative and Biomimicry 3.8). Dr. SImard demonstrates many of natures genius in her work. In my simplistic ways, I have been trying to put these ideas into action with paneugenesis or actions that create all good. To learn more, please review many of my posts that include ideas of how to build synergistic relationships with people, practices, nature and organizations.

Dr. Simard optimistically documented how we can generate more good by helping nature do what it will do automatically. I encourage you to build strategic alliances with everyone and everything because as Dr. Simard’s work has demonstrated, like the synergistic relationships in nature, together we can generate MUCH more good, not just less bad. Please share how you have built and are building strategic alliances to generate more good!

On September 5, 2021, the Guardian Posted this supportive editorial, acknowledging we are all connected:

When Trees are at Risk, so are We

Book by Jason Gruhl

I am currently reading about Chaos Theory and in my reading they cite this about Gaia Hypothesis and something I hope to explore soon in future posts, please share if you have any insight:

James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis proponents of the Gaia Hypothesis in which the conditions necessary for life are created and maintained by life itself in a self-sustaining process of dynamical feedback

James Lovelock and Lynn Margolis


Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.
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