Moving Toward Better in 2022

It was reported that former President Barack Obama would often say, “Better is good…” . It seems he was suggesting progress was important. What does that mean? Is better, actually better, or does it depend? From what I am learning, the phrase “Better is good…” is incomplete. Are the parts better or is it a better system? Better parts generally result in short (acute) and not long-term (chronic) improvements. To make 2022 truly better, the parts must be made better ONLY in ways that improve the whole system. Isn’t that Selfish, Selfless, Synergy so everyone and everything benefits? Our actions in 2022 must not just make the part better, that better part needs to make the system better. #SelfishSelflessSynergy

As Peter Senge explained, we do not perceive reality, we only see the world based on what we know how to perceive. This means we don’t perceive the reality of things we do not already know. This idea is made clear by the joke about the blind men and the elephant. We understand our part without always understanding what it means to the whole. Systemic thinking can help us work to be better in 2022.

The snake and the buttons for downloading data in R shiny |

As Russell Ackoff explained, we have spent most of our time finding deficits or problems with parts and improving parts, as we see it, without improving the system. As Deming and Ackoff have shown us, optimizing parts without improving the system can destroy the system. So what can we do?

Dr. Russell Ackoff explained that we need to stop just solving problems and instead disSOLVE problems by creating a better system. Composting represents a simple example I have written about often. In this situation, instead of focusing on decreasing food waste, I think about “growing soil” by using food scraps as an input to healthier soil. Of course, this action eliminates food waste or “disSOLVES” the problem with a better system as recommended by Russell Ackoff.

As I posted before, Will Allen did this and didn’t just fix the parts, he created a whole system of growing soil, providing jobs, offering healthy food, building community and more from which everyone and everything benefits (see Growing Healthier Food, People and Communities). In other words, it is really it’s all about the ripple (see It is All about the Ripple) of the interactions within the system. The question for 2022 is how we can apply this to all that we do.

Although I knew of Russell Ackoff and read a couple of his books I now am realizing the depth of his genius. For me, this means I will learn more from Dr. Ackoff from his many books, articles and presentations so I can better understand how to generate comprehensive improvements.

To wet your appetite, I posted a 10 minute presentation of his entitled, “Beyond Continual Improvement” and someone posted as, ‘If Russ Ackoff had given a TED Talk. I thought it was excellent. Please share what you will do to generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions in 2022.


Craig Becker

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


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Short SWPS Article Published in American Journal of Health Education

One of my main professional accomplishments has been the development, validation and use of the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS). I developed this tool to measure the presence of health and its active creation. As has been shown in this research, those who are doing the most to actively promote their health in multiple dimensions, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, vocational, physical, and environmental on this scale, score highest. Results document that those doing the most to promote health, have the highest health and higher life satisfaction.

I developed the SWPS because my review and that of many professionals agreed that health measurements were inaccurate because they were measuring and assessing for the absence of disease and risk factors, rather than the presence of health. This scale measures actions to promote health, which also can be referred to as salutogenic, or health causing actions.

The research with this scale also supported the idea that health was multidimensional, that is, many factors cumulatively contribute to an overall status of health rather than the traditional unidimensional attempt to measure health. The traditional measurement of health is unidimensional because it measures if people are engaging in risky behaviors or actions that cause disease. Traditional scales assume if you are not engaging in risky actions, you are healthy. As most of us know, just because we are not doing a specific wrong thing, does not mean we are doing the right things.

The SWPS uses the salutogenic or health origins paradigm rather than the traditional pathogenic, or disease causing paradigm. The video below explains more about pathogenesis and salutogenesis, specifically how pathogenesis is designed for acute, or short-term care, while salutogenesis focuses on regular lifestyle actions.

The scale I developed, tested, and validated with many helpful colleagues beaome the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS). The SWPS assessed for health promoting actions in the physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, vocational, and environmental areas. The research has shown that the more people engage in the health promoting actions measured, the better their health and the higher their life satisfaction. I also validated it for young adults, working adults and with an Arabic population. An older adult version has shown to be helpful but has not been validated yet.

The scale is a 25 item 7 dimension measurement. To make it more usable, with my GA, Austin Odom and talented colleagues, Hui Bia, PhD, Ryan Martin, PhD and Kerry Sewell, we developed and tested a short 7-item version of the scale. This test indicated it was a good test and we published the article in the American Journal of Health Education in 2021. The article, Initial Assessment of a 7-Item Well-being Scale (SWPS-SF) among a Sample of College Students was published online in June, 2021 here. . Here is the abstract:


Background: Shorter validated health assessment tools are needed. The validated 25-item Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS) measures health status through assessment of engagement in multidimensional health behaviors.

Purpose: To do an initial assessment of the Short Form Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS-SF).

Methods: A convenience sample of 91 college students completed an online survey that included, the SWPS, the SWLS (Satisfaction with Life Survey) and the PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire 9). Correlation analyses among these scales were completed. In addition, a chi-square test was performed to examine the characteristics of SWPS-SF including sensitivity and specificity in predicting GPA.

Results: There were significant relationships between SWPS-SF and the SWPS and the SWLS. The association between the SWPS-SF and PHQ-9 was not significant (r = −.20, p = .052). Analysis indicated that participants scoring over the 20.5 cutoff on the SWPS-SF were four times more likely to have GPAs of 3.0 or greater.

Discussion: The SWPS-SF is reasonably representative of the full SWPS, suggesting it offers a helpful method to do quick, accurate assessments of health behavior engagement and health status, more research is recommended.

Translation to Health Education Practice: The SWPS-SF enables employers, universities, hospitals and schools to perform quick, accurate complementary health status assessments.

Overall, the SWPS measures engagement in net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions that generate comprehensive improvements for everyone and everything. I look forward to hearing how you engage in interactions to generate comprehensive improvements for everyone and everything.

If you are interested, below are a few of the articles related to some of the research related to the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS).

  • Becker, C. M., Glascoff, M. A., Mitchell, T., Durham, T., & Arnold, W. (2007). Assessing Perceived Health and Associated Health Promoting Behaviors: An Investigation of Methods used to Assess Health Status. Journal of Applied Social Psychology37(2), 227–242.
  • Becker, C. M., Dolbier, C. L., Durham, T., Glascoff, M. A., & Adams, T. B. (2008). Development and Preliminary Evaluation of the Validity and Reliability of a Positive Health Scale. American Journal of Health Education39(1), 34–41.
  • Becker, C. M., Whetstone, L., Glasscoff, M., & Moore, J. (2008). Evaluation of the Reliability and Validity of an Adult Version of the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS). American Journal of Health Education39(6), 322–328.
  • Becker, C. M., Cooper, N., Atkins, K., & Martin, S. (2009). What Helps Students Thrive? An Investigation of Student Engagement and Student Performance. Recreational Sports Journal33, 139–149.
  • Becker, C. M., Moore, J., Whetstone, L., Glascoff, M., & Chaney, E. (2009). Validity Evidence for the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS). American Journal of Health Behavior33(4), 455–465.
  • Al, H., Becker, C. M., Mansour-Hamdan, A., Al-Shuaibi, J., & Tharwat, H. (2013). Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale: Validation of the Arabic Version. American Journal of Health Education44(4), 229–234.
  • Anderson, L. M., Moore, J. B., Hayden, B. M., & Becker, C. M. (2014). Test-retest reliability of the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS). Health Education Research73(1), 101–108.
  • Becker, C. M., Chaney, E., Shores, K., & Glascoff, M. (2015). The Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale for Older Adults (SWPS-OA). American Journal of Health Education46, 293–300.


Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: