Put a Cork in It

My wife an I attended a presentation by Frank Hyman, the Liberated Gardner that was sponsored by the Pitt County Agriculture Center in Greenville, NC. It was very good. He had many helpful ideas about how to garden for good, organically and by using what you have. He discussed ideas about how to collect water in barrels to use, even how to collect extra water from your air conditioner, the benefits of using soaker hoses, and how to get better use of mulch.

An interesting mulching idea we learned was that growing herbs, such as rosemary, from the Mediterranean should not use normal compost, as we had, but gravel compost because they evolved in a dry environment. Normal compost keeps them too damp and explains why we had not been able to grow herbs very well. Gravel compost keeps the herbs from being moist or being overwatered. Using gravel compost also means watering can be done monthly.

He also explained how to use 2 inches of mulch from leftover leaves and other materials we normally send the landfill. This saves us money and improves the planet by not sending excess garbage to the landfill where it will rot and produce methane, besides the fossil fuels burned to transport to the landfill.

All of his ideas were ways to generate comprehensive improvements because they created net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions with the environment from which everyone and everything will benefit.

One of his most interesting ideas was how he used leftover wine corks as a compost (as explained in the video and picture below.

Wine cork compost for tree

His presentation beneficial things that are easy to do and good for everyone and everything. He said he was a “lazy” gardener, but not really lazy it was his way of describing that he did not want to spend too much time working and more time enjoying his garden and the food it produces. I encourage you to review his material and attend one of his sessions if you can, it was very helpful.

Please share any gardening tips you have so we all can benefit! Thank you.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

“Think Again” Very Helpful Book

Front Cover

Adam Grants book, “Think Again: The power of knowing what you don’t know” is a very good and helpful book. Especially for the current times. As James Lovelock exclaimed,

“We live at a time when emotions and feelings count more than the truth and there is a vast ignorance of science.”

James Lovelock (in Revenge of the Gaia)

For some reason, I did not think I wanted to read Grants book, however, I am now glad was able to “think again”and read it. As we all aware, sometimes we become stuck in our beliefs and are hesitant to rethink because we are afraid it can make us look bad.

The book helped me learn to embrace confusion and to be excited when I found contradictory information. It also helped me rethink about “Rethinking” and it enabled me to realize that when I discover thoughts could be better, it was a good to change my thoughts. This was one of the best things I got from the book.

The ideas in this book also resonated with me because I remember I had heard about how one of my hero’s, the management guru Dr. W. Edwards Deming would regularly “think again” about his successful ideas. Even though he was highly successful, he never wavered from rethinking his ideas and update them so was able to continually improve.

The podcast,“I Make No Apologies for Learning” by Ron Moen and Cliff Norman for the Deming Institute document and demonstrate how Deming would continually think again about his work. The podcast is based on the response he would provide when people noticed his message had changed and evolved after he would “Think again” and learn. He wanted all to yearn to learn so they could think better. I encourage you to listen to this podcast.

   Artwork for Ron Moen and Cliff Norman of Associates in Process Improvement (API) - "I Make No Apologies for Learning"

“I Make No Apologies for Learning”

Ron Moen and and Cliff Norman Podcast

In the podcast they explained that Deming was not always easily accepted because he challenged peoples core beliefs and inspired them to think again. However, as they explained, thinking again took a lot of effort and many were not willing to make that effort. For me, it has been significantly beneficial to “think again”.

While it is impossible to list all the wonderful ways Grant inspired me to rethink with this book, I will mention a few that were helpful to me, please see if any may help you:

  • Doubt is helpful because you question your methods
  • Task conflict helps find better ways, no conflict means apathy
  • Question how, rather than why which also makes it less controversial
  • When not able to entertain different ideas, “What evidence would change your mind?”
  • To many facts will dilute their impact and audience gets defensive
  • Ask, can we debate about the ideas, not emotions
  • Acknowledge common ground in any debates, it can invite rethinking
  • As facts change, change your opinions
  • Challenging core beliefs causes emotional reactions
  • Confidence is the result of progress, not just its cause
  • Work to IMPROVE, not prove oneself
  • Seek to evolve ideas rather than confirm tehm
  • We need to rethink because of the accelerating pace of change in the world
  • A debate is not a war but a dance where you don’t always lead
  • Use curiosity and ask questions
  • Asking questions helps people rethink
  • Uncertainty signals confident humility and can increase your credibility
  • Contested views leave people with blurred vision and guards to be set
  • The act of resistance fortifies our psychologic defense system
  • Good communicators make their audience, not themselves feel smart
  • Acknowledging complexity disrupts overconfidence and spurs rethinking
  • Our beliefs are shaped by our motivations and desires of what we want to believe
  • Skeptics are scientific and can entertain new ideas
  • Deniers are dismissive and often twist facts to fit beliefs
  • Limitations are holes in the research but portals to future discoveries
  • Emotion should be in conversations, restricting them stymies rethinking
  • Inspiring messages are scrutinized less and often forgotten, need to invite rethinking
  • Respond to confusion with curiosity and interest
  • Confusion is a cue that there is new territory to explore
  • Happiness is more about frequency of emotions than its intensity
  • Meaning is healthier than happiness
  • Often people overemphasize pleasure at the expense of purpose
  • Enjoyment wanes, meaning tends to last
  • Passions are developed more so than discovered
  • Happiness depends on what we do, not where we are
  • Interest doesn’t always lead to effort and skill, sometimes it follows
  • Aiming at something or someone else to improve often leads to happiness as a side effect
  • Questions to ask ourselves about our ideas:What leads to that assumption?
    • Why do you think that is correct?
    • What might happen if it is wrong?
    • What are the uncertainties in your analysis?
    • What are the advantages to the idea?
    • What are the disadvantages to the idea?

Thinking again can help us generate comprehensive improvements through the creation of net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, or by practicing paneugenesis.  I look forward to hearing about the how you thought again and were able to generate benefits for everyone and everything.

Please share what you learned when you thought again so we all can benefit! Thank you.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

James Lovelock is Amazing

James Lovelock is over 100 years old now and wrote this book at 100. As I posted on Google Books and Good reads for a review, I was fascinated by the fresh ideas and the overwhelming logic and science provided in this book.

Lovelocks book, Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence, provided a fresh look at everything. While I already had agreed with his Gaia Hypothesis, that earth is a self-regulating organism, he provided more evidence about the Gaia Hypothesis and also what comes next. The book helped me rethink many things, including what I assumed was an accepted fact, that the anthropocene period, where man is the driving force, was bad. He instead helped me think that his may be the stumbling steps of evolution. He also introduced what should seem like a crazy idea, that we can evolve to cyborgs, as a non-controversial logical next step. This book is more hopeful than most and helped me see his hypothesized future as not just logical, but exciting.

While this book supported ideas of how we can move forward, it also supported the ideas espoused by Jane Benyus that we should live in ways that make life more livable for everyone and everything. James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis proponents of the Gaia Hypothesis explained the conditions necessary for life are created and maintained by life itself in a self-sustaining process of dynamical feedback. We do this and improve our living conditions by living in ways that make life more livable for everyone and everything.

We are part of the natural system and as a part, it is imperative we live in ways that improve the system, rather than destroy it from our use. This was also was promoted by Russell Ackoff who I highlighted in my Moving Toward Better in 2022 post.

As posted previously, this 10 minute presentation , “Beyond Continual Improvement” was posted as, ‘If Russ Ackoff had given a TED Talk. In thishe clearly explains why we should only build better parts if those parts also improve the whole.

Please share how you improve parts that can help generate comprehensive improvements through the creation of net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, which means the whole system benefits. Thank you.

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

Wellness Days Generate More Good

My former Ph.D.mentor and and dissertation chair at Arizona State, Dr. Bill Arnold, recently sent me this NBC News article, “Employees are tired, stressed and burned out. That’s why I give mine ‘wellness days” with the header, “Your Point”. The article makes the point I promote that employers should treat employees as adults and give them freedom to use their days as desired. If employees are misusing the policy, attention should be directed toward a better culture. Work should be rewarding, as Dr. W. Edwards Deming often explained:

image of quote by Dr. Deming: People are entitled to joy in work.

To enable people to have a better work experience, to enable joy, employees should be provided “general leave” days, rather than sick days, to use. If people are sick, then those general leave days are used for sickness and cannot be used for desired activities. This policy therefore rewards people who are healthy by giving them the opportunity to have days off with pay to use as desired. This type of “Wellness Day” Policy can generate more good, not just less bad or fewer sick days (see Beyond Order and Status Quo). This policy will also encourage people to strive for higher levels of health, which will also benefit productivity and research shows also results in less sick days, as a by-product.

In other words, give employees wellness days so they can use those days to fulfill their potential. After all:

Are we living in Orwellian’s world? Why should we only paid for a day off if we are sick? Doesn’t this policy reward sickness?

Of course providing for sick days is important, which a General Leave Policy also accomplishes, but more is needed. People need days outside of work for importantthings in life such as attending a child’s performance, a child’s graduation (personal experience), or going to see a fantastic exhibit. All these things are important to help the employees have a better life. Keeping employees from doing what they want will negatively impact their productivity and attitude about work. This policy also means when they will miss work, it won’t be a surprise. With his policy employees will plan for the days missed which will also boost productivity when they miss without preparation. The policy highlighted in the article described their wellness days as:

With our five annual wellness days, we encourage people to stay out long before they become ill, no questions asked. If they do decide to share what they did, we love hearing how the concert, bike ride or time with their kids helped them recharge and feel even better.

The idea of Wellness Days is similar to the famed Google 20% time rule that encourages employees to spend 20% of their time on whatever they want. They trust the employees to do the right things and the payoff has been powerful (as noted in the linked article below).

Google Says It Still Uses the ’20-Percent Rule,’ and You Should Totally Copy It: Do they still really do this at Google? In a way, it doesn’t matter. You should copy it regardless

The idea is pretty simple: It’s that you, or a team, or a company–anyone, really–should divide your time working, so that at least 20 percent is spent exploring or working on projects that show no promise of paying immediate dividends but that might reveal big opportunities down the road. 

“We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20 percent of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google,” co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin wrote in 2004, before the company’s IPO. “This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner.”

A Wellness Day policy that provides paid time off work for general leave, rather than sick days, is a way practice paneugenesis because it is likely to generate more good, not JUST less bad. Wellness Days are more likely to enable employees and their organizations to generate comprehensive improvements because they will now have the capacity to create net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please share wellness days policies that work and also let us know how they have helped. Thank you.

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

A Part to Improve the Whole

Last week I posted about the need to improve individual parts in ways that benefit the whole (see Moving Toward Better in 2022). I provided the example of composting as a way to do this because it grows healthy soil, eliminates waste, benefits future plants, can provide jobs and healthy food while also providing other ecological benefits.

In all I do, I try to improve the whole, or generate comprehensive improvements by creating parts or interactions that are net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless and synergistic so everyone and everything, the system, benefits.

A Simple Example

As an example, my wife purchased a water bottle that is carbon negative in production. It works great. I have attached pictures. I like this example because it shows how we can contribute to a better system by how we live daily, not by doing something extra. Engaging this in acts like this is a way to practice paneugenesis because it can benefit everyone and everything as we can feel good for being part of the solution. Please share how you improve the system with your parts.

SmartShake Eco-Bottle

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com