Competency, Capacity, Creativity, Improvement

Let me help you “C”(see) how Competency, capacity, and creativity are cited by experts as a path to improvement. For more ideas about this, see the post Capacity Enables Creativity and Crisis Mitigation.


For years I have been making steel-cut oatmeal for breakfast. I cook the oats with raisins, flax, hemp, and chia seeds. I then serve it with fruit and granola, after which I top it with maple syrup. I love it. Generally, I put 1.5 cups of water with the oats in a pot to boil. I then go back to the sink to get more water and add water as needed while I cook the oats. In the end, I add a bit more water, sometimes having to go back to the sink for more water. I leave it to simmer while I do 10 minutes of yoga (see 🧘🏻‍♀️🧘🏽‍♂️🧘🏼‍♀️MorningYoga is Great🧘🏻‍♀️🧘🏽‍♂️🧘🏼‍♀️) and stretching to start my day.

INSIGHT! This morning I realized, WAIT!, I could just fill my water container to the 3-cup level, pour 1.5 cups in when I start, and add as necessary while cooking. Doing this saves me from having to back to the sink for more water after I start cooking. Sure, not a big deal. However, this creative, helpful insight only occurred because I was very competent at making my breakfast.

What could be possible as you become more competent at your job and elsewhere? Practice creates habits so we can do things without thinking. Since I didn’t have to focus on “how” to make breakfast, it gave my mind “white space” to be creative. (see Generating Great Ideas with “White Space” from Exercise) My creativity was unleashed because my mind had the capacity to think in a better way. If I had been struggling to learn this skill, that insight would not have been possible.

Enables Improvement

I am not sure how to categorize this. However, I have found other ways to increase my capacity and improve my efficiency. Really what I am doing is multiplying time. See Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…. That is, I am doing things today that enable me to do more tomorrow.

Locker Room Efficiency

I often left my lock in the gym after my workouts. After my workout, I could get distracted by my phone, friend, or something else when I got dressed. Inevitably I often left my lock in the locker room and had to purchase a new one. This meant not only buying a new lock and needing to remember a new combination. To solve this problem, I started visualizing myself taking the lock off the locker and immediately putting it on my gym bag. I visualized this whenever I would think of it and also when I would put the lock on my locker and when I would take it off the locker. So far, it has been great, I now automatically put my lock on my bag right away. Now, even if I talk with others, get a text or call, or am thinking about other things, I take my lock. I made securing my lock a habit, and it helps because habits are What We Do Without Thinking.

Another improvement that enabled improvement was suggested to me by my wife. During the pandemic, my family all did 10 minutes of yoga together online with Kasandra and her 30-day challenge, even though we often were in different locations. In doing this, sometimes we would miss a day or want to do two sessions. My wife said, why don’t we just line up the day with the day of the month. Wow, so simple and likely because she wasn’t as concerned about knowing what to do. Now I always know what day I am working on in a 30-day challenge.

Build Competency

As I tell my students, it is vital to become really good at what you do. When you are good, you become more creative and effective. Tony Dungy helped his SuperBowl winning football teams to automatically do the right thing on the field. This then gave the players the capacity to adapt and adjust as needed – it worked. When we are more competent, we have more capacity. Therefore, if or when things change, we have the capacity to adjust as needed.

So Simple?

So simple? The examples I provided are simple everyday examples. If this is possible daily, what is possible in your work and in your life? Get really good at what you do. Become super competent and more capable. Becoming good at what you do will unleash creativity and ideas you never knew you had. A by-product of being competent is creativity and improvement. These results help you become an even better version of yourself,

Becoming really good at what you do can help you feel good and proud of yourself, which is selfish. It will also help all those around you, which is selfless. It is also likely to inspire others to do good work, which has been referred to as elevation. This also means your actions are pervasive. Doing this means you can start doing regenerative, net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. I look forward to hearing about how your competency enables great new ideas for improvement – please share how you generate comprehensive improvements.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.
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AI is Loose: Is Bard Better?

The artificial intelligent search engine wars are starting. Microsoft has plans to use OpenAI and Chat GPT with Bing. I tried out that search engine with my Powerful Chat GPT Good?? post. As noted, it was not very accurate, though it did capture some good information.

To compare, I tried out Google’s Bard. You can try Bard and use Google’s AI by putting as your URL. It notes all over the page that is experimental. They also encourage us to provide feedback on the information provided to improve their responses. I did a search by asking, Can you tell me about paneugenesis?

In the first few searches I did, others were given credit for the concept of paneugenesis. However, after providing feedback about the factual errors, new searches with the same query correctly attributed the concept of paneugenesis to me. It learned fast.

Is Feedback Considered Accurate?

I wonder about the feedback I provided. I saw it updated with the accurate information I provided, but does that mean it could update with incorrect information? I did not want to try it to find out. Although the responses by Bard to my query provided a lot of good information, some results made things up. For instance, some of the responses created indicated that there were books about paneugenesis and community groups that work on paneugenesis. All good ideas, but not factually incorrect.

Example Bard Search

Below is a picture of the top portion of my search asking Bard, “Can you tell me about paneugenesis?” The full output of Draft 2 from Bard is posted below. Although I would word things a bit differently, the responses were good. In Drafts 1 & 3 it incorrectly mentioned books or community groups about paneugenesis. If you do a query, users can export the full output to a Google Doc.

Bard’s Response Draft 2: Can you tell me about Paneugenesis?

As you can see, it incorrectly indicated I wrote a book, “The Positive Health Revolution.” That is just a post on this website. Other than that, the information seems good. What do you think?

Sure. Paneugenesis is a term coined by Craig Becker, a health promotion expert and author of the book “The Positive Health Revolution.” It is a process of creating comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Paneugenesis is based on the principle that doing good things enables good outcomes as it simultaneously crowds out bad actions.

There are five key principles of paneugenesis:

  1. Regenerative: Paneugenesis is about creating interactions that are regenerative, meaning that they produce more good than they consume.
  2. Net-positive: Paneugenesis is about creating interactions that are net-positive, meaning that they produce more benefits than they create harm.
  3. Pervasive: Paneugenesis is about creating interactions that are pervasive, meaning that they have a positive impact on a wide range of people and things.
  4. Reciprocal: Paneugenesis is about creating interactions that are reciprocal, meaning that they benefit everyone involved.
  5. Synergistic: Paneugenesis is about creating interactions that are synergistic, meaning that they create even greater benefits when combined with other positive interactions.

Paneugenesis can be applied to a wide range of areas, including health, education, business, and the environment. When applied effectively, paneugenesis can help to create a more positive and sustainable world.

Here are some examples of paneugenesis in action:

  • A company that creates a product that is both environmentally friendly and profitable is practicing paneugenesis.
  • A school that teaches students about the importance of health and wellness is practicing paneugenesis.
  • A community that comes together to clean up a polluted river is practicing paneugenesis.

Paneugenesis is a powerful concept that can be used to create a more positive and sustainable world. By following the five key principles of paneugenesis, we can all make a difference.

The feedback I provided was that this was mostly good, except cleaning up a polluted river would not be practicing paneugenesis because it can only result in less bad. If actions were taken to make the community better than it was before, even without a polluted river, then that would be paneugenesis. I also told them I had not written that book.

It will be interesting to see how this develops and how it will impact our world. Please try out these new AI search engines and provide feedback. It is a monumental project similar to how Wikipedia was created but on a much larger scale.

Please share your experiences with this new Artificial Intelligence (AI). It appears Bard and other new AI tools can help us generate comprehensive improvements if we use them well. For these to work well, we will need to help make sure these tools help enable regenerative, net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please share how you think we can help make that happen!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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


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Hidden Gems Found

Like most people, I like finding great restaurants that serve what I want. I am a plant-based eater. Although I can generally get plant-based meals, meals prepared for plants rather than as a substitute are better.

The Happy Cow app has been fantastic. It has helped me find great restaurants anywhere I have been in the US. It is worth the $3.99 on the Apple App Store or Google Play. It is also available on a computer at Another nice feature was the thank you letter I received after I wrote a review for Zizi’s Vegan at Berry Brook. This restaurant was one of the gems Happy Cow helped me find.

Gems Found

Recently I was in Charlotte, NC. I went to the Trader Joe’s and then was hungry for lunch. On my Happy Cow app, I found choices less than 1 mile from my location. I went to Zizi’s Vegan at Berry Brook. Although they also have a food truck, I visited their location in a health food store. It was hard to find because it was operated from a small kitchen inside a health food store.

The cook was very friendly and told me he developed the recipe for his burgers by trying it with his kids. The burgers were great, made with good things (Delish wholesome burger from lentils, wild rice, portobello, shiitake, beets, spinach & seasoning. Lettuce, tomato, onion, and veganaise. Served on an organic whole wheat bun). The burger was also quite filling. They were so good I got another for dinner and one for my daughter. She also thought it was great.

Other Gem

Another gem I found was when I was picking up my wife from the RDU airport. We wanted to stop at a close restaurant before driving home. Once again, I used my Happy Cow app, which showed me many good plant-based options. I generally also look at the ratings on the app, and they have proven to be very accurate. Again, the restaurant options were close by. We chose a highly-rated Thai restaurant, Champa. It also was great.

Happy Cow Practices Paneugenesis

The Happy Cow app has helped me generate comprehensive improvements by being able find a restaurant close to where I am, which means I don’t burn excess fossil fuels. The app enables me to make delicious, plant-based food choices which we all know improves personal and planetary health. I encourage you to use the Happy Cow app to help you engage in regenerative, net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions that benefit everyone and everything.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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


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Number 2 for Good

We all know about and produce #2, yes the smelly kind. Now entrepreneurs are using it to practice paneugenesis by generating comprehensive improvements. As noted by Apple News:

This tech recycles toilet water in Silicon Valley high-rises
Within a few weeks, when someone flushes a toilet in one of San Francisco’s new high-rises, the water won’t drain into the local sewer system. Instead, it will flow into a recently installed machine in the basement, designed to treat the water on-site. After the machine is turned on next month, recycled water will travel back up special pipes so it can be used for the next flush. The solid waste—that is, poop—is treated separately and becomes a product to add to garden soil.

Read in Fast Company:

Aaron Tartakovsky, CEO of Epic CleanTec, is taking what most of us see as waste and not only reusing it again, they are using the nutrients to grow healthy soil that can then grow healthier plants. Healthier plants mean we can be healthier. Without question, these solutions are generating comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions with water to benefit everyone and everything.

Are you using EPIC Clean Tec where you live? If you are, please share your experience. We look forward to hearing from you.


Craig Becker

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


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Square Roots are a Critical Mass

Most of us promote ideas and attempt to transform people toward better methods. While it seems we must get all to agree or help those least interested in change, a more straightforward approach is recommended. We should help those interested, not those predisposed to be obstinate. This distinction is essential and is what I teach my students when encouraging healthy behaviors. It is important to work with those interested because:

  1. Working with those who are not interested is exhausting.
  2. Only a few need to change to bring about widespread change.

Critical Mass

Critical mass is defined as the minimum amount of fissile material needed to maintain a nuclear chain reaction. However, as discussed by Everett Rogers in Diffusion of Innovations, a critical mass is the minimum size or amount of something required to start or maintain a movement. The size of a critical mass to start movement has been shown to be quite small.

The best explanation for this concept was captured by Dr. W. Edwards Deming. He is cited to have indicated a critical mass is the square root of an organization. To learn more, I recommend the Deming Institute podcast, In Their Own Words, episode “What is the Critical Mass for Transformation?”

That means if the organization has 100 people, only 10 people need to be followers. If the group is 3000, only 55, and if it is 30,000, only 173 people need to be converted to start a movement. Understanding this, enables us to realize change can happen. This also highlights why Myron Tribus advised we should:

“Preach to the masses, work with volunteers.”

Myron Tribus

What does this mean?

This means change can happen, and we don’t have to change everyone, at least at first. A small critical mass will bring about widespread change. Although we still should promote to all, we should focus on the most receptive to generate comprehensive improvements, not those that require vast resources because they are uninterested. Getting a small critical mass started can start a movement, and improvements will evolve from interested people that create net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Derek Sivers demonstrates all these important lessons about gathering a critical mass to create widespread change in his 3-minute TED presentation, How to Start a Movement. Siver’s excellent talk is also posted at Lets Start (Continue) this Positive Health Movement.

Please share how you start a movement by working with a small group of interested people. As Margaret Meade said long ago,

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead


Craig Becker

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


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More Diversity Benefits

Science, Quickly

In a surprising way, the April 3, 2023 Science Quickly podcast from Scientific American, Open Offices Aren’t Working, so How Do We Design an Office That Does? highlights the benefits of variety. These benefits were also explained in George Musser’s article, Fixing the Hated Open-Design Office, in , .

The insight is hinted at in his subtitle, Open-office designs create productivity and health problems. New insights from Deaf and autistic communities could fix them. As was discussed on the podcast, “…(we) design better for the center when you learn from the margins.” He suggests we flip the script because:

 Normally, accommodations are thought to be well, we’re gonna kind of tweak the office so that this particular person or this particular class of people does better, but we’re giving something up. And I think we need to invert that entire narrative, that designing for variety actually improves the office for everybody.

George Musser on 4/3/2023 Science Quickly Podcast

Understanding this design principle means that designing at the margins provides a method to benefit everyone and everything. These beneficial concepts were also explained in Architecture Creating All Good and Its the Environment Stu*?#!

This means these designs at the margins are a way to Practice Paneugenesis because it generates comprehensive improvements. These designs create net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic benefits so everyone and everything benefits.

To better understand the possibility of all inclusive design, I recommend you listen to Science Quickly podcast from Scientific American, Open Offices Aren’t Working, so How Do We Design an Office That Does? I also recommend a reading of Greg Musser’s article, Fixing the Hated Open-Design Office, in , . Please share how you can use these ideas to improve your environment.


Craig Becker

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


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Amazing Impossible Science

Impossible Science, as designed, developed, and presented by Jason Latimer, is something we all need to see. It is incredible and wonderful. It helped me realize our potential. As he explained,

“The only thing separating the possible from the impossible was the individual wondering about the right question…Wonder changes the world.”

Jason Latimer

Incredible Opportunity

I was amazed, awed, and grateful for the opportunity to Jason Latimer at the Arizona Science Museum in March 2023. I can’t put into words the awe-inspiring feelings generated by watching his amazing presentation. What impressed me was his continual message that he did not want to trick us like a magician; rather, he wanted us to wonder and…ask the right question. As he noted often, “It’s the right question that changes everything.”

Girl Scouts


Jason Latimer, World Champion of Magic and the Curator of Impossible Science, will change your understanding of what is possible!

Impossible Science LIVE’s unique blend of science and magic takes audiences on the journey of making the impossible possible through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. From the foundation of all science and discovery to the leading edge of technology and innovation, this live performance demonstrates how the right question changes everything. Latimer integrates all fields of science into mind-blowing illusions that will inspire your sense of wonder.

Learn how to see beyond the illusion! Challenge your understanding of engineering and physics as Latimer walks through solid objects. Discover the power of curiosity and chemistry as Jason forms water into objects. From bending light with his hands to drawings that come to life, you will not want to miss this wonderful science experience.

“Our next cure, next technology, or next revolutionary change will come from a question that has never been asked. It’s a wonder that changes the world. It’s the right question that changes everything.” —Jason Latimer


When I went to visit the Arizona Science Museum to see, Dogs! A Science Tail, I noticed a poster for “Impossible Science.” Their response was that it was a great show and I should attend. Surprisingly, we had not seen it advertised previously. It seems they have improved the advertisements now – which is great!

The show was great because it was LIVE. Jason Latimer himself performed for 45 minutes. I strongly recommend you see him live if possible and if not review his many YouTube videos and subscribe to his channel.

The “tricks,” which were actually science, were amazing. While you can see him push balls through glasses on the YouTube video below, I saw him do it LIVE – WOW!

l also saw the airplane that flies forever, an amazing card trick, bending light, shaping water without a container, and so much more. Many are shown in the TED talk and more below.

GREAT TED TALK by Jason Latimer

If you do nothing else, watch and be amazed by his TED Talk. As you will see, he asked the right questions, and that made all the difference.

TED Takeaways

For me, there are multiple takeaways from his talk, and below are a few I found especially important:

At about 2:45 minutes: “…What are these new rules and what is ultimately possible?…”

For me, this is the mindset needed to generate Idealized Outcomes, the first step of the Paneugenesis Process. For this, we must wonder what could be but is not possible now. He did this later in the presentation when he controlled and shaped water. Which we thought could never be done??

At about 4:35: “…The right question changes everything…”

For me, this means we must constantly use and develop critical thinking skills.

About 9 minutes: “…The internet is incredible. The accessibility to information is undermining wonder…we gave the internet its answers…despite all its information, despite all its answers, (it) doesn’t think. It doesn’t wonder where the information came from and it does not challenge what it knows. Search engines do not determine what is right or wrong, just what is relevant…”

at about 10:50 minutes: “…most of the wrong ideas were true at one time…”

at about 12 minutes: “…the world was not shaped but its answers, it was shjaped by its questions…”

For me, he was promoting that we all can do good.

Creating All Good

From my perspective and understanding, he is the ultimate producer of all good. He teaches us how to continually improve the process to generate better results. He helps all of us be better versions of ourselves. He helps us rediscover wonder by asking the right questions. His work can help us redefine what is possible. Right now, a new version of better, beyond the absence of problems, must be created. By using what Jason Latimer teaches us with Impossible Science, these methods can help us imagine how to create a better future and how to generate idealized outcomes.

New Idealized Outcomes will generate comprehensive improvements that will be created through net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Jason Latimer helps us understand how we can Practice Paneugenesis!


Craig Becker

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


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Chunking Helps

Chunking, or taking a piece of the whole, focusing on it can help us get more done. Initially, chunking was developed to help with memory (see this post on how it helps some studying ). Chunking this the process of grouping related bits of information together, which reduces the number of “things” to manage. Let me explain it also helps us get more done.

We all want more time to do what we desire. Being a time multiplier, such that we get things done today that also makes tomorrow more efficient, helps (see Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…). Language has enabled us to save time by being more efficient. Language allows us to express our thoughts and share ideas succinctly.

The Value of Measurements

The 2023 book Beyond Measure: The Hidden History of Measurement from Cubits to Quantum Constants by Vincent James has helped me understand that measurements are a language. The language of measurement allows us to cooperate, collaborate and get more done. Katie Hafner remarks in the Washington Post Review of this book:

…Sometimes a book happens along whose central question is at once so profound yet so utterly simple it takes your breath away. Such is the case with James Vincent’s deeply engrossing “Beyond Measure: The Hidden History of Measurement From Cubits to Quantum Constants…”

Review by Katie Hafner, Washington Post, November 30, 2022

While measurements help us organize life, chunking makes life even more manageable. In essence, it is taking part of the whole and focusing on that part. One could think of how a calendar chunks time measurement to make it more manageable Calendars are a human creation to derive structure from the natural world.

Checklists Chunks

Another example of chunking is making a list. As I learned in Atul Gawande’s “The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right” (see my review on good reads here or below), although creating a list (checklist) takes time to set up initially, it saves time and improves our ability to get things done.

MY REVIEW of “Checklist Manifesto”: This was a good book. It was a reminder that having a checklist is good for making the basics more effortless. Using a checklist frees our minds to do so much more. Despite their documented significant benefits to pilots, surgeons, financial investors, and all involved, he highlighted much hesitancy in professional areas to use checklists. Gawande was also able to integrate how to use checklists while also using successful leadership and management strategies. It is a good read and a great reminder of how simple checklists can help us function better as we avoid easy mistakes from inattention, absent-mindedness, or overconfidence.

Craig Becker’s review of Gawande’s “Checklist Manifesto” on GoodReads

Measurement Concerns

While highlighting the benefits of measures, we must remember economist Charles Goodhart’s Law, as paraphrased by Marily Straythern, “When a measure becomes a target, it fails to be a good measure.” In other words, measures are only guides and assistants. Also, although I am encouraging chunking, it is vital to remember how each chunk contributes to the whole. As a reminder, Russ Ackoff explains in this powerful 10-minute presentation below how we must focus on the whole, not just the parts, to make things better.

Helpful Measurement Chunks with Caveats

Although measures are not perfect, they can help. As I learned, the language of measurement helps us become time multipliers while enabling us to communicate, collaborate and work better. In other words, using measurements can help us generate comprehensive improvements. Measures help because they help us understand how to create net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Please share how your use of measurements helps you practice paneugenesis or create all good.


Craig Becker

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


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Meaning from Meaninglessness

Meaning and purpose are powerful forces in life for me. For that reason, I have discussed these concepts on this blog with these posts,  Its All Meaningless! Here is How to Create Meaning!; Making Sense of Chaos, Meaninglessness, Disorientation; Randomness & Creating Outcomes; Everything Happens for a Reason! Make it Good! and in others. Despite my attempt to address these ideas, I thought David Foster Wallace’s commencement address (video) below made an even more powerful statement.

I hope this video inspired you to create meaning in your life. I do this by working to generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please share what this video motivated you to do. Thank you.


Craig Becker

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


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Need More Good Progress(DD#1)

I am reading Austin Kleon’s short book, “Show Your Work.” His book recommends a daily dispatch that shows your work and documents progress. For years, I have been developing techniques, strategies, and practices to generate more good, not just less bad. I need to do more, so I am adopting his strategy of posting regular work dispatches. Here is an overview of my progress to date.

More Good Progress…so far

I have been working on this task for over 30 years. My mission is to emphasize more good focus for the long term. Less bad is essential in short-term, acute situations. I have yet to hear that people disagree with this effort, but the idea has not diffused or circulated as needed. The focus on less bad or less pathology dominates our world. Therefore, I will use Austin Kleon’s advice and post my work to hold myself accountable.

During my efforts to date, I have been working as a professor since 2001 and have a Ph.D. from Arizona State University. I have about 100 national and international publications and presentations about how to create or cause good health, which, as research has also demonstrated, effectively prevents or ends bad health…as a by-product. This work is summarized in the linked publication about the paneugenesis model, “Going on Offense to Promote Health Promotion Gains.” Additionally, the linked 2019 article by colleague Dr. Michael Stellefson discusses this idea by categorizing these efforts as a promotion of “Chronic Wellness.” For more, see the article, Planting a Tree Model for Public Health: Shifting the Paradigm Toward Chronic Wellness

If you are interested and have time, below are some links to presentations, papers, and online resources to my work. The best way to learn about my work is the 17-minute linked presentation, Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad. I gave this talk to the sustainability committee at East Carolina University (ECU).  

A short linked paper, “Creating Positive Health: It is More than Risk Reduction,” describes my approach to generating positive outcomes and not just avoiding bad results. Another published linked paper, “Salutogenesis 30 Years Later: Where do we go from here?”,  is about salutogenesis and describes how using this health-causing or creating framework/theory could help. A comparison of the traditional pathogenesis approach and salutogenesis is available in the often viewed (over 35k views) YouTube video: Pathogenesis & Salutogenesis with this 2021 update. I have also posted this video, Exceeding Expectations, about how to do better than not bad.

My work has resulted in developing the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale for Young Adults, Adults, Older Adults, and Arabic populations. I have also worked on a childhood version for schools to improve health and education. If you are interested, see this article, Pilot Assessment of the Scholar Checklist: A Tool for Early Childhood Health & Education.

If you are interested in learning more about these scales, I linked an article validating my positive health scale, “Validity Evidence for the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS).” I have also linked an article about how focusing on generating more good helped us understand what helps students thrive. The study used the SWPS to measure the process, and what we learned about the student’s lifestyle process and it relates to doing well is described in the”What Helps Students Thrive” article.

Other videos about my work are available on my YouTube channel. In addition, this is a link to this blog on Positive Health Leadership, where I explore many related topics in over 400 posts. This blog also can be reached at Please contact me if you have any ideas, thoughts, concerns, complaints, suggestions, or questions or are interested in learning more. 

Now What??

Unfortunately, I have not made desired progress in transforming society toward more good, not just less bad. However, I will forge ahead, and I hope you will help. My current efforts focus on disseminating these positive health ideas and practices and assisting people in adopting these practices. I will use the Diffusion of Innovations Theory to guide my future work. I hope to publish a related article soon.

Please share any advice and contact me if you want to help at,, 252-328-5312, or on this blog. I look forward to hearing from you about how we can work together to generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.


Craig Becker

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


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Foundation for More good??

I recommend our focus be on generating more good, not JUST less bad. I am now reading the 5th edition of the classic, “Diffusion of Innovations,” ©️2003, by Everett Rogers. It has been good. On page 69, I thought he did an excellent job of pointing out why more good can be more effective than JUST less bad. He stated: (emphasis added by me)

… A preventive innovation is an idea that an idnividual adopts at one point in time in order to lower the probablity that some future unwanted event may occur. The unwanted future event might not have happened anyway, even without adoption of the preventive innovation, so the relative advantage is not very clear cut to the individual at the time they are urged to adopt by public health programs. Also the prevented events do not occur, and thuse they cannot be observed or countedFor these reasons, preventive innovations…have a relatively slow rate of adoption.”

Everett Rogers, PhD – p. 69 “Diffusion of Inovations” 5th Ed.
Diffusion of Innovations, 5th Edition: Rogers, Everett M.: 8601300412962: Books

What do you think? Do you agree this provides a good foundation for why the focus should be on more good, not JUST less bad? Please share your thoughts on the best ways to move forward. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.


Craig Becker

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


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Manifesting a Good Message

I know it is an impossible show and could not happen. However, I found Manifest, a series on Netflix, an interesting show. I look forward to its continuation on June 2, 2023. What I found most interesting in the series was the repeated message that everything is connected and that we all are on the same lifeboat. The often repeated message in the show is that we should help everybody do well because we all do well when we all do well. This is also the finding of my research. According to my work and many others, we are all connected, and the ripple effect of doing good causes good that ripples out.

If you are one of my readers, you will see how this also relates to yesterday’s Post, about Stephen Post’s book, “Why God Things Happen to Good People.”

In other words, Manifest seems to promote the creation of all the good messages I send out. This message is that all good can be accomplished by generating comprehensive improvements. I note that this is the concept of Paneugenesis – which literally means creating all good. Practicing paneugenesis is accomplished by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits (see video below). Please share how you generate comprehensive improvements by practicing paneugenesis!


Craig Becker

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


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Why Good Things Happen

As a takeoff of Harold Kushner’s fantastic book, “WHEN Bad Things Happen To Good People,” Stephen Post offers WHY Good things Happen to Good People. (see Everything Happens for a Reason! Make it Good! for a discussion, I posted about Kushner’s book). In grad school, I led a discussion about Kushner’s book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” Only then was it brought to my attention that the title was not WHY, but WHEN. WHEN does not explain; WHY does. A change from when to why is profound. Even so, throughout Post’s book on Why Good Things Happen, he cites supportive research his Institute for Research on Unlimited Love (IRUL) sponsored.

Dr. Post does a fantastic job documenting why and how good things happen to good people for taking beneficial actions. At the end of the book, he suggests this is ultimately selfishness because we get the most for ourselves by giving to other people. “Why Good Things Happen to Good People” is a good read that reinforces how being a good person helps others as it also helps us. I thought he especially did an excellent job helping us learn how to be better listeners and better communicators with each other.

Throughout the book, he suggests 40 ways to give love – 10 areas in 4 domains (Family, Friends, Community, & Humanity). His 10 ways to capture Love include:

  1. Celebration – gratitude through ritual
  2. Generativity – generating love
  3. Forgiveness – freeing the self from guilt, pain, rumination, and bitterness
  4. Courage – confrontation with caring, what he calls Carefrontation
  5. Humor – used to convert pain to joy
  6. Respect – civility, acceptance, reverence, and appreciation
  7. Compassion – empathetic, emotionally caring
  8. Loyalty – loving over time and difficulties
  9. Listening – giving attention and foundation of relationships
  10. Creativity – the spontaneous, joyful expression of life

All of these 10 suggestions provide great ways to share love. For each, supporting research evidence of “Why Good Things Happen to Good People” is provided. Of course, he is also saying good people should do these 10 things.

Better Listening Suggestions

He offered many communication suggestions, which I thought were especially good. A couple I have been working on using include using my mirroring ability to be able to better empathize with what others experience. This, he suggests, may also help me better understand. Another way he suggests improving communication is by repeating back emotional words heard and asking for more information to better connect. Using this, he suggests a way to empathetically probe without judgment. He suggests this method can help us all connect better. I like these suggestions and will work to use these ideas. Have you used these techniques? Please share how they work for you.

Belonging Insight

Another insight I liked was about belonging. As I have seen many times, one of our most basic human needs is to belong. Interestingly, Post says when we change, such as to a quadriplegic from an accident, or even more simply, when entering a new group, we will feel as if we don’t belong.

Throughout life, we often change into different kinds of people. A person may be newly married, become a college student, or do any other new activity. We don’t feel like we belong when entering a new area because it is different. The feeling we experience, according to Post, makes us feel like an outsider and alone. He says it is at this point we want what we had yesterday — that is, to feel like we belong. In other words, he seems to be saying we are experiencing what Kahneman and Tversky called Loss Aversion and want what we had yesterday. There are many interesting and helpful suggestions throughout the book. It was better than I had expected.

Below is Dr. Posts TED Talk, “Its Good to Be Good“.

It is All Connected

Sometimes art imitates life, and other times, life imitates life. Well, at least I often see things in shows I find meaningful. A meaningful concept I recently saw was the repeated message in the Netflix series Manifest, that it is all connected. As I have noted many times, it is all connected.

Capturing the idea of connection, at the end of his book, Post says this is all about selfishness. As I noted in the review I posted on GoodReads and Google Books, “…While all this is good, we must also ensure these actions do good for the environment, or all will suffer. I hope he pushes for not just selfishness but selfish, selfless, synergy, so these promoted interactions become net-positive, pervasive, and reciprocal so everyone and everything benefits,” as I promote with the Paneugenesis video below. Everything is interconnected, so we must generate more good by generating comprehensive improvements. True selfishness is selfless, “…if you understand how the world works” stated President Clinton in the 1-minute video below.


Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.
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Need to Bring the Cradle Home

We need laws that encourage, support, and reinforce organizational behaviors requiring corporations to take care of their products through their full lifecycle.

I have written about the “Cradle to Cradle” rather than “Cradle to Grave” care discussed by McDonough and Braungart in Cradle to Cradle and Upcycle. Their books discuss the life cycle of products from the beginning, Cradle, until they are not used anymore and disposed of, Grave. Their concept was to use products until the end of their useful life. When products cannot be used anymore, the products should be “upcycled”, not trashed, so the materials from the product can be used again. See Concept: Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad.

Overall they are referring to the organizations that extract material, then manufacture a product to sell, which eventually ends up as waste. Their concept was for organizations to be responsible for the products and all it took to make them until the end. The end, however, should be an “upcycle” where it is used for a greater purpose or at least where it is used as recycled material for new products, so more virgin material does not get extracted. While I understood this intellectually, I did not understand what it meant until I picked up garbage on our beautiful Greenways in Greenville, NC.

While picking up garbage on the Greenway, I realized there was no way to trace back these waste materials. Of course, many would suggest we should just more severely restrict people from dumping their garbage. That solution, however, is unlikely to work. Penalizing people is a day late and a dollar short. After all, nobody likes being told what to do to cause less bad. They want to be responsible for more good.

Hard to See Financial Benefits

At first glance, the benefits of being responsible for products from the cradle to the grave are hard to see. These benefits are what Kahneman & Tversky would call mental illusions. In reality, with effort, having organizations be responsible for their products through their lifecycle can be financially beneficial for them as it also benefits society, as a by-product. In a Karma-like fashion, organizations that do good for society get more business due to the good feelings generated by their efforts. This is true and has been documented by Interface, Inc., a modular carpet company (see We Must Make It Better – Saving the Planet not Enough!)

Action Needed

Right now, we only have cradle-to-grave legislation for hazardous materials. Why don’t we do it for all materials? People are supposed to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, and since corporations are considered people, they should be held to the same standard. Upon reflection, however, this would not be a problem but a benefit. Being a better steward of their business and the materials used would yield less expensive operations, better processes, better use of resources, and a cleaner world.

In other words, seeing all the garbage in greenways showed me what happens to the cradle if it is not brought home. (ok, not a perfect analogy) I know there is more to be done – such as advocating for new laws. However, we could begin to generate comprehensive improvements by moving toward a default standard that helps organizations be responsible for their goods from the cradle to the grave or, ideally, cradle to cradle. This means we should push for legislation, laws, studies, and more that document the benefits to organizations, people, environments, and more when actions upcycle used goods, not just cause less waste.

In other words, “nudging” organizations, with better regulations, to be more responsible for their products, so they do not become garbage like I saw on the greenways could help generate comprehensive improvements. These new laws would push organizations to work like Interface, Inc, which has been able to create net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, and profitable synergistic processes from which everyone and everything would benefit.

Please share information about other organizations that have learned how to bring the cradle home by following a path to generate more good and how it has made them more profitable and better contributing members of society. I look forward to hearing from you.


Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.
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Randomness & Creating Outcomes

I read Nasim Taleb’s books, “Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Our Life and in the Markets” and “Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable“, in 2014 and 2015. I created this post a few years ago but just noticed it was not published. His books are great, and they have provided great insight. I encourage all to read his books. I updated these posts – Enjoy. Please share your thoughts when you read his work.


To me, his books explained that although hard work cannot cause success, it is a necessary ingredient. Without hard work and preparation, success at anything is less likely. In our world, the idea of random success seems unfair and is not something one can hope to occur.

Even though we want to believe hard work is enough, we know that our world is random. Too strong a belief in randomness and its influence over our life is debilitating. Despite this contradiction, we want to believe we can influence life even with the powerful and overpowering influence of random events. As Israel Zangwill, an English dramatist proclaimed,

“Take from me the hope that I can change the future, and you will send me mad.”

Israel Zangwill – Ghetto Tragedies

In his excellent books, Nassim Taleb provides an interesting perspective on the situation related to the idea of randomness and how it affects our lives. His perspective seems influenced by his work as a Trader on Wall Street.

An excellent point he explains in his books is how we are a backward looking species, and our hindsight bias makes past events seem less random than they were. Our brains automatically fill in the missing pieces. He artfully explains how our biased brain works and how randomness affects us. He often cites and uses the work of Nobel prize-winning psychologists Daniel Kahneman and the late Amos Tversky, who examined how our biases impact the decisions we make under uncertainty. They concluded that life often leads us to misread reality and have “Mental Illusions”. (see Undoing Needed because Mental Illusions Impact Us).

While he documents that we are designed by nature to fool ourselves, as Kahneman & Tversky’s work has shown, we have an opportunity to tilt the table in our favor. The opportunity exists because we evolved in a much slower moving world than exists today. As he notes, this means we are more susceptible to chance, but we can improve our chances by being prepared like nature.

As he explains, great and extensive preparation cannot and does not cause success, but it does improve the chances for success. It can tilt the tables in our favor and improve the probability of success. From my reading, it means that although hard work to prepare cannot cause success, success without hard work and preparation is unlikely.

He further explains that, unlike nature, we do not overprepare but should. Nature, in essence, prepares for the next occurrence by over-preparing for higher exposure. This is why nature builds redundancy with spare parts, i.e. 2 kidneys. Over preparing, as is done by nature, which we are a part of (see Updated: We are Just Talking Apes), also means we have the capacity to exceed expectations. This function by nature is also documented by Jane Benyus in Biomimicry (see Parallel NOT Linear Means Create Positive AND Prevent Negative)

Instead of building more capacity, we do the opposite by using leverage such as debt or worst case scenario preparation. As he notes, this type of testing cannot be only for what has already happened because the data for what could be worse does not exist. This becomes even more relevant with ongoing climate change. He calls this naive empiricism. As he explained, contrary to conventional wisdom, our body of knowledge does not increase from a series of confirmatory observations (i.e. Turkey killed 1 day, but all other days were ok, so we cannot predict).

As Yogi Berra mused:

“Its tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Some insights from these books were:

1. We are more emotional than we are rational. We can train ourselves to be more rational, reasonable, or logical; but we need emotions to be able to function effectively. Training our emotions is good but we must remember that we cannot be Spock from Star Trek because we could never make decisions without emotions.

2. Wild success is possible but we need luck. Luck however cannot happen without being prepared, and being prepared takes hard work. Like Gladwell explained in “Blink” and “Outliers”, we can trust our gut to make great decisions but that gut must first be trained well – 10,000 hours to become an expert. In other words, the age old saying that hard work leads to success is only partially right. Hard work cannot guarantee success, but without the work, success because highly unlikely.

3. A final point that has stayed with me from “Black Swan” was “the absence of evidence is not evidence of its absence.” This is something I now apply to many aspects of my life. He provides examples such as breast milk, which they did not initially see as beneficial because of what was measured. They only looked to see if problems were caused, not if benefits were gained. No evidence of benefits does not mean there were none.

Nassim Taleb seems to suggest we should work to generate comprehensive improvements by working like nature. As he details, we cannot rely on randomness but can generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits by over preparing. Please share how you overprepare and how it has helped. I look forward to hearing from you.

PS For a different perspective on the same ideas – see Its All Meaningless! Here is How to Create Meaning! and Making Sense of Chaos, Meaninglessness, Disorientation


Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.
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