Be Led by Dreams

I had the great opportunity to attend my youngest daughters delayed college graduation from UNC Chapel Hill on Sunday October 10th 2021. This classes graduation was postponed because of COVID. The graduation was nice and the Keynote was done by the legendary coach Roy Williams. During his speech he shared a saying that drove his teams.

Be Led by Dreams, Not Pushed by Problems

Roy Williams

This captures all I am trying to do and what needs to happen. We need to create a new reality. Yes there are multiple problems, however solving those problems isn’t enough, we must create a better reality. Nature means living in ways that make life more livable for everyone and everything. We must be led by our dreams, not pushed by our problems. Below is Coach Williams message.

I also feel this saying was expressed by Chris Stapleton in his song, “Starting Over” when he sang, “…Nobody wins afraid of losing…” We need to do better, not just avoid doing bad. We must “Start Over”, better.

These thoughts were also expressed by Greta Thunberg. She Connects Climate, Ecological, and Health Crises in this short video. While she does highlight problems, moving toward, or being led by our dreams of a better life for all will crowd out the problems:

Start over by being led by your dreams – make a better reality. I am interested in hearing how you generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please share how you make it a great day, week, year, life.

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

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.

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

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!

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

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“.

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

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

National Parks: Great Tax$ Use!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trees & Forests Can Help Us!?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please enjoy this short introductory video by Dr. Simard:

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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

What is the desired end game?

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

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

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

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

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

Applying to Life Today

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

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

Begin with the End in Mind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Method to Improve Judgements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

The Incredible, Edible Straw

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

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

JIM LEAPECo-director, Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions

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

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

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

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

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

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

More Trees, More Benefits

Related to last weeks post, Reparations Mean Benefits for All, Scientific American’s June 22, 2021 article explains how we can do more. The article, “Trees Are Missing in Low-Income Neighborhoods:More tree cover would lower disproportionately high levels of heat and pollution” explains how we can all benefit by planting trees in poor neighborhoods that do not have a good tree canopy cover.

Trees cool climates and also help with climate change. Planting trees in neighborhoods that do not have many trees would be another example of generating comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Plant trees, generate oxygen

As reported in Scientific American,

…communities of color have 33% less tree canopy on average than majority white communities, the analysis revealed. And neighborhoods with 90% or more of their residents living in poverty have 41% less tree canopy than communities with only 10% or less of the population in poverty. (Greenwire, Sept. 16, 2020).

Although the Nature Conservancy explains, To Protect Vulnerable Populations, Plant More TreesIn rapidly heating cities, climate change is an environmental justice challenge, it does so much more. It does not just protect them, it creates a better environment and enables them to do and be more while it also helps all.

As summer 2021 has demonstrated, heat waves have become more common. Trees are nature’s way to cool the planet. So simple, more tree planting helps the environment by trapping more carbon, provides more home for animals, cools the neighborhood, and therefore benefits everyone an everything. Please share plans that we can participate in to help plant trees.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Reparations Mean Benefits for All

A recent July 12, 2021 New York Times Daily Podcast, “A City’s Steps Toward Reparations” helped me better understand how wonderful and needed reparations are for society. When I first heard about reparations I, I had many questions and doubts. While I thought it was a good way that we could possibly makeup for some of the horrible ways African American’s were treated, I was unsure how reparations would help. However after learning about how the reparations were done in Evanston Illinois, to subsidize housing, I realized it was much better than I had thought.

During our history, African American’s had difficulty getting and owning property, not because of what they had done, but because of redlining laws, prejudice, and as we learned, because it was stolen. I encourage you to listen to the linked wonderful NYTimes Daily podcast so you also can understand how helping others helps move society forward for everyone and everything.

A City’s Steps Toward Reparations

Success breeds success, good begets good (See Good Begets Good and Bad Begets Bad: Green Grass Theory). We must do all we can to enable people to be the best version of themselves. Helping African Americans get what was previously withheld from them will enable them to meet at least their basic needs so they can move toward self- actualization. This therefore is an example of not only how to practice paneugenesis, but how to enable Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

This would be an example of how society can’t generate comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless interactions from which everyone and everything will benefit and while all improve, we can fix some things we had done wrong.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.


Salutogenesis & Pathogenesis in ’21

After participating and presenting the 2021  6th International Conference on Salutogenesis: Advancing Salutogenesis for thriving societies in June, I had another realization about how salutogenesis can be differentiated from pathogenesis. My understanding is that salutogenesis methods can cause better, not just less bad, outcomes. Pathogenesis was developed for less bad outcomes. It works great and effectively treats disease and its precursors. From my understanding, that means salutogenesis must produce something different, not just another way to do the same thing, such as treat problems more effectively.

I realized that salutogenesis is primarily what you use daily – over the long term. I had this realization as I listened to many good presentations and had invigorating discussions about salutogenesis with colleagues. While salutogenesis produces immediate benefits related to feeling good for doing good, salutogenesis is about how to play the long and short game. Salutogenesis therefore is for chronic care, while pathogenesis, or traditional “health” care, must play the short game for emergency care. Pathogenesis then should primarily be used for the short-term or acute care.

To explain this I have updated my often viewed video, Pathogenesis & Salutogenesis. The previous video has almost 30,000 views as of June, 2021. Please let me know how you like the update and if it has helped you better understand how to effectively use salutogenesis to generate comprehensive improvements.

Here is the updated video which is also posted here and on my YouTube Channel.

For me salutogenesis is a way to practice paneugenesis because it can generate comprehensive improvements and create all good for health. Life is all about probabilities, not guarantees. Salutogenesis improves the probability of better outcomes.

We can increase the probability of generating comprehensive improvements if we work at creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. As W. Edwards Deming always asked, “By what method?”. Using the method of salutogenesis for health will help just as it will help to use quality management methods for business and manufacturing and Nudge techniques for policy.

I hope this inspires you to generate comprehensive improvements. Please share effective methods you have used that can generate comprehensive improvements so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Advancing Salutogenesis Ideas

From my perspective, research, and general common sense, salutogenesis must be the idea we use to advance society to a better place. I also believe it should be understood, while it will be less bad, creating more good is the major attribute. A better reality, not possible now must be created. Salutogenesis is the origins of health. It is the idea, concept, theory, and approach to health that from my view is about the creation of good health beyond the absence of problems. It is not a better way to treat disease or discomfort, rather it is a way to create better outcomes not possible otherwise.

Last week, June 17-18, 2021, I participated and presented (virtually) in the 6th International Conference on Salutogenesis: Advancing Salutogenesis for thriving societies (see schedule here). It had been delayed due to COVID from April, 2020. The salutogenesis conference was included with the 11th IUHPE European Conference on Health Promotion.

I was also fortunate enough to participate in the 2nd Research Seminar on Salutogenesis in Finland in 2009. I presented, “What Makes People Thrive? The Salutogenesis Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS)“. (unsure how those linked slides got online – however they are accurate. Please contact me if you want to discuss). I am happy to see the idea of thriving continues.

Upon returning from the conference in Finland in 2009, I was concerned the idea of salutogenesis was being used pathogenically. By that I mean the salutogenic techniques discussed were more focused on treatment and helping people recover than on creating a new and better reality. Which also, by definition, must mean bad things get better or become less problematic. To voice this idea, my response was to publish the linked article, “Salutogenesis 30 Years Later: Where do we go from here?“. Nine years later, in 2019, those in Europe who chose not to participate in the article I published wrote a related linked article, “Future directions for the concept of salutogenesis: a position article“.

My Presentations

Fortunately, since this virtual conference started at 3am for me, it was in Girona, Spain, I was able to send videos of my scheduled presentations (below). Each 10 minute presentation was supposed to be a conversation starter to generate a discussion about how to advance salutogenesis.

My first presentation, for the Advancing the Measurement of SOC (Sense of Coherence) section was, “Measurement of Sense of Coherence Model Constructs using the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS)“. This 10 minute presentation suggested doing studies using both the SOC and SWPS measurement tools to learn about more effective methods to direct health improvement interventions. If you choose to watch, please share your thoughts.

My second presentation in the Multilevel salutogenic intervention section was, “Health Promotion Policy Implications of Salutogenesis: Evidence from the Literature“. This 10 minute presentation was about how to advance the idea of salutogenesis beyond health. If you choose to watch, please share your thoughts.

If you watch these presentations and it generates ideas or thoughts, please share. Of course each of these ideas are an attempt to help generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. As I have noted previously, salutogenesis is an effective way to practice paneugenesis or create all good. I look forward to hearing from you about how we can advance the ideas of salutogenesis.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Make Work/Life Balance a Benefit

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, Work-Life Balance is defined as: the amount of time you spend doing your job compared with the amount of time you spend with your family and doing things you enjoy. That is confusing, by definition that means you do not enjoy time at work. W. Edwards Deming, the famous quality management expert strived to help people experience “Joy in Work”

If we are entitled to Joy in Work, doesn’t that mean work should be a benefit, not a balance? Why are we only shooting for balance? What does that mean? We should generate a Work Life Benefit! We should design our life at work with the aim to have our experiences at work and life outside of work be reciprocally beneficial. Life should be mutually beneficial and reinforcing.

We gain skills at home and work by developing relationships and understanding how to be more competent at tasks. Our increased competency in each area of our lives should make the other parts better – if they are not, some adjustments are needed. Realize, this is a choice.

The idea that the impact work has on us is a choice was explained in the Harvard Business Review Article, Work-Life Balance Is a Cycle, Not an Achievement by Ioana Lupu & Mayra Ruiz-Castro. The article explains balancing work and life is “… not a one-time activity, but rather a cycle of continuous re-evaluation and improvement.” The article however is mostly focused on how to make sure work doesn’t cause problems. They recommend using these 5 steps:

  1. Pause & denormalize
  2. Pay attention to your emotions
  3. Reprioritize
  4. Consider your alternatives
  5. Implement changes

These steps can be valuable if used proactively to make work and life mutually beneficial, not just less damaging. I recommend we change the perspective towards seeing how we develop and become a better person and actively make work a benefit, not a burden.

In other words, our aim each day should be to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions at work and home so everyone and everything benefits. As we do that we will develop not just a work/life balance, but a work/life benefit.

Please share how you create work/life benefit.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Get in the box

I noticed I had several drafts about the same theme. In all these drafts I was wondering, why do people believe I think outside the box?

Out of the Box thinking is described to be when people think in an original or creative way.

I had always assumed that thinking outside the box meant you were being creative and finding better solutions. I assumed it meant you did not accept traditional norms and that a person thinking outside the box was not doing things the way they were always done. This is accurate, in a sense, however there is more to “Outside the Box Thinking”, at least according to Wikipedia, and it all started with 9-Dot Puzzle.

What Would be “Thinking Outside the Box?

I work in the health field and my focus is on what creates, generates or causes better physical, mental and social well-being. How is that original or out of the box thinking? Couldn’t that represent in the box thinking, just from a different angle? While I don’t go directly at well-being, I focus obliquely on factors associated with improved well-being such as relationships, personal and group development, physical activity and food selection. Although the goal is not specifically well-being, it is pretty direct. We also know that John Kay explained to us why, For Complex, Oblique(Obliquity) is More Effective.

Well-being, life, health and society are about as complex as it gets. This then suggests that traditional and prevailing approaches may not be as effective as they could be. This may also may explain why traditional approaches in health, business and the environment could benefit from a different perspective. From an outsiders view, it seems they started by thinking outside the box and need a better perspective. Lets review:

For Business: thinking generally focuses around how to decrease costs and avoid problems…Instead of thinking how can we serve customers better while we also, simultaneously, clean the air, land and water from their uses. In other words how can we be multipliers of our time (see: Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…) For many, and based on how society has progressed, it appeared our “Take, Make, Waste” system was effective. However, if we take a different perspective in the box, as Ray Anderson did with “Interface”, that takes into account that everyone and everything is connected. Using this approach, Ray demonstrated how we can be even more effective, efficient, profitable as we also improve everyone and everything. (see We Must Make It Better – Saving the Planet not Enough!)

For the Environment: thinking generally focuses on how to clean up problems, using the “Take, Make, Waste” to bend nature to our will….Instead of thinking how an we work with nature as all other creatures on earth has done to live in a way that makes life more livable. The idea of living in ways that generate a “Net Positive” has been outlined by Jane Benyus, Kate Raworth and many others (see: Parallel NOT Linear Means Create Positive AND Prevent Negative, Aim to Thrive, Not Just Grow for a Better Tomorrow)These ideas have also been operationalized by McDonough and Braungart in Cradle to Cradle and Upcycle.

In Health: thinking generally focuses on how to treat diseases and or avoid risk factors…Instead of thinking how can we increase physical, mental and social well-being. The majority of the focus and effort being used by health is how to find disease and treat it. It is as if we are trying to be a day late and a dollar short with regard to improved well-being by “Thinking Outside the Box”. We could be in the box using Antonovsky’s salutogenesis and focusing on what causes health. Many of these ideas are capture here: We Need to Use the 3rd Alternative

As I reviewed this information about “Thinking Outside the Box”, a proverb came to mind:

“To change and to improve are two different things.”

German proverb

Time for a Reboot

Sometimes we need a new start, a reboot. We need a reboot because now some things are backward, upside down and confused. Let’s get in box and use a better perspective. Life is all about probabilities. It is time to turn the tables in our favor by getting “In the Box” and using a better, “Net Positive” focus and perspective that uses oblique factors related to helping everyone and everything.

A “Net Positive” results from using a Selfish, Selfless, Synergy focus. Selfish, Selfless, Synergy efforts help generate comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, or the practice of paneugenesis. Please share you engage in #SelfishSelflessSynergy so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.