Amazing People, 2nd edition

In 2014 I wrote this post, Dad Our House is on Fire!…People are Amazing! I wrote this because I was in awe of the amazing generosity we experienced after our house burned down and we lost most of our belongings. As I noted in that post, despite the awful news we hear 24/7, I believe most people are good. I also believe people want to help others. Scientifically this makes sense because it makes us feel good.

To my delight, I once again was in awe of amazing generosity of others. As I noted in 2014,

“… my belief that people are amazing has been confirmed.” Again!

My belief that people are good has been confirmed again – people are amazing! This time it was confirmed when my wife and I went Lowes to pick up some lattice for our yard.

Lattice punchased at Lowes

I have a Prius which has a hatchback and almost everything fits. This time however we were about 2 inches shy of being able to get the lattice into the hatch. As we picked up the lattice to return it to the store. a gentleman, with broken English gets our attention and says, “do you need help?” We explained we did and he then offered to carry the lattice pieces in his truck to our house. People are amazing!

We loaded the lattice in the back of his truck and asked him to follow us. Of course, if you believe the news, he would have driven away with the material. He did not. He kindly brought the material to our house, helped us unload it and said he was glad to help. We offered to pay him, but he refused. People are amazing!

Overall, it was a nice, net-positive pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interaction. This is a way to practice paneugenesis because it helped generate more good, not just less bad. That act encouraged me and my wife to pay it forward, thus causing a positive pervasive ripple, as it also reinforced our belief that most people are good and kind. People are amazing!

Make it a great week by being the amazing person you know you can be. Also please share your stories of yourself or others paying it forward!

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

Trust but Verify

Hurricane “Ian” ravaged Florida and the east coast in September, 2022. Some were fatally trapped because they stayed in their houses when the storm hit land. Although most would “trust” weather forecasts, they could not “verify” it would be that bad until it was too late. That is often the issue, timing delays our ability to “verify”.

“Trust but verify” became famous, according to Wikipedia, when Ronald Reagan used it during nuclear disarmament talks with the Soviet Union. Ironically, at least according to Wikipedia, it is a Russian Proverb. This saying has become relevant in my life, can be related to actions with hurricane Ian, and may be beneficial to your life.

At least for me, it seems the universe can talk to me. This time it was about the Russian proverb, “Trust but verify”. Of course it only became relevant because I also had read Malcom Gladwell’s provocative 2019 book, “Talking to Strangers“.

Talking to Strangers

Transparency, Understanding

Gladwell’s book was very enlightening (I recommend the book and summary). WIth research, “Talking to Strangers“, in Gladwell’s trademark neutral method, documents how we are good at understanding others when they act as expected, but bad at discerning the truth when they do not act as we think they should. He even suggests it could be because of the “Friends” effect. In the sitcom “Friends”, the actors emotions, expressions and actions are all consistent and support what they will do.

In “Friends”, if they are smiling, they are happy, if they are trying to cheat or trick someone, they act suspicious. In real life, that is not always the case, only sometimes are we transparent such that our actions match our intentions. Gladwell explains the “Friend’s” effect to Jimmy Kimmel at about 2 minutes in the interview below. He also summarizes so much more. I strongly encourage you to listen to this 8 minute interview and read his book.

To demonstrate this conundrum, Gladwell documents other experiences in the book. One story discusses how Penn State’s University President, Graham B. Spanier, was fired for endangering children when Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of child abuse. He contrasts this to parents who were in the room when Larry Nassar abused their kids and yet they were not thought to be negligent. Life is ambiguous…

Default to Truth

Gladwell suggests and suspects this happens because people will automatically default to truth, or believe what is best, when people are acting as expected. In other words, we default to “Trust”. It is hard not to and it takes extreme risk and difficulty to go against the tide when others trust. The second part of the proverb, “Verify”, is what we should do but it is complicated by timing and effort.

This is a proverb because we want colleagues and supervisors to think the best of us, or to Trust us. Think how horrible it would be if people automatically assumed the worst in each situation. In other words we should “Trust”. If we didn’t trust, Gladwell seems to justifiably suggests without implicit trust the world would be a less desirable place for us all.

Verification takes extra effort and those steps may also cause us to find out things we do not want to know. This happened in the pandemic when people stole funds as highlighted in this NYTimes Daily Podcast, Why Was Pandemic Fraud So Easy?

During the pandemic, an enormous amount of money — about $5 trillion in total — was spent to help support the newly unemployed and to prop up the U.S. economy while it was forced into suspension. But the funds came with few strings and minimal oversight. The result: one of the largest frauds in American history, with billions of dollars stolen by thousands of people. Guest: David A. Fahrenthold, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, focused on nonprofits.

Summary of 9/27/2022 NYTimes Daily Podcast

It got Personal…

Recently, I did not adequately “Verify”. The “Friends” effect impacted me. I didn’t adequately verify people because I could not imagine why a group I was working with would not be telling the truth. Unfortunately my “default to truth” and failure to adequately “verify” has slowed and damaged progress on plans I had to Practice Paneugenesis on a much bigger level.

Though this this attempt to “Optimize the process” did not work, I am finding a better way to reach my idealized outcome so we can generate comprehensive improvements by being nudged to create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefit.

We want to provide people with a GPS for life that will nudge them to efficiently use resources such that they lead a fulfilling, regenerative life that will also create regenerative communities. This BeWell’r Web will work like a forests mycelium in roots of plants and trees that enables plants to be healthier through efficient use of the forests resources.

This function of nature through the root network in a forest was dubbed to be the “Wood Wide Web” by “Nature”(August, 1997). The “Wood Wide Web” is a communication network that shares information through its fungi with all in the forest about how to best use its resources so the forest can thrive. The video below shares the vision for our BeWell’r Web that will help create healthier people and thriving communities:

What do you think? Please share your thoughts.

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

Going in Circles is Better?

We often think that going in circles means we are not making progress, however, although it is not perfect, going in circles around roundabouts is a better solution. Like the idea of a circular economy, these circles provide personal and planetary benefits: How roundabouts improve traffic safety and lower carbon emissions

Although roundabouts only mean less pollution, less gas burned, and less accidents – the more good about roundabouts is that they enable faster transportation as they completely eliminate the need for traffic lights. Here is the story about roundabouts in Carmel, Indiana:

While my goal is to generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive reciprocal selfish selfless synergistic interactions – roundabouts seem like a move in the right direction. What do you think? Please share your thoughts

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

Article Published – Short SWPS

With the help of my talented colleagues, our article about the 7-item Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS-SF) was published in Global Health Promotion.

Title: Development and field test of the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale – short form (SWPS-SF) in U.S. college students, (PMID: 35897155 DOI: 10.1177/17579759221102193) by Craig M. Becker1 , Hui Bian1, Ryan J. Martin1, Kerry Sewell1, Michael Stellefson2 and Beth Chaney2

Abstract: Survey research is important for understanding health and improving practice among health professions. However, survey research can have drawbacks, such as overuse and excessively lengthy questionnaires that burden respondents. These issues lead to poor response rates and incomplete questionnaires. Low and incomplete response rates result in missing data and reduced sample size, damaging the value, usability and generalizability of the information collected. To address issues related to response rates and improve health research, shorter surveys are recommended because they impose less of a burden on respondents and are useful with larger populations. Health- related surveys also often focus on the factors leading to ill health without dedicating equal attention to factors supporting positive health. This study developed and tested a short form (SF) of the validated Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS), which measures causes of health (rather than causes of disease), using responses from 2052 college students. The participants answered questions about their demographics and completed the SWPS and a perceived health assessment. Statistical tests demonstrated the SWPS-SF had significant relationships with the full SWPS, health status, and Grade Point Average (GPA). Statistical tests were also used to establish cutoff scores that had a high true positive and low false negative rate. These cutoff scores demonstrated a relationship of higher performance and better health. These promising results suggest this short test can provide valid information without burdening the respondents. Authors recommend additional tests be completed to validate the SWPS-SF.

This scale provides a helpful screen tool that can accurately assess health, that is well-being not just the absence of disease. While more testing is needed, the article noted, “This study developed a short form of the SWPS, and initial evidence suggests it can provide valuable data for participants, health professionals, and health researchers. This short, complementary tool will provide data about health-causing actions, address the pathogenic bias, and improve response rates due to its short format.” The full article can be accessed on PubMed here.

The SWPS-SF provides a quick way to screen for peoples behaviors that indicate health improvement from beneficial, physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, vocational, and environmental actions. Feedback, as can be provided to professionals and individuals, has been shown to help people improve behaviors and it provides professionals with information about how to nudge them toward better actions. The data can also be used to help design a health promoting environment.

The SWPS-SF is a tool that when used should help generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to talking with you.

BeWellr,

Craig M. Becker, PhD

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Contact me: BeWellr@bewellr

Science Simplified but Confused?

I talk about science often in these posts (see Science is Our Only Way Forward, Science, Beauty, Evolution, and Progress, Updated: “The Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition”, and many others.) Although I mention it, I need to let you know how I understand science.

Findings from science should be objective, that is they can be replicated by others and they represent reality. While earning my PhD I remember a simple and powerful statement that described the scientific process that helped me and I thought it could help others.

Science DESCRIBEs, so it can PREDICT, which means you can then IMPROVE and then based on what you learn, you can EXPLAIN phenomena. Each level forward builds on the previous.

DESCRIBE: Tell us what happened based on influencing interactions

PREDICT: Be able to say what will happen when variables interact

IMPROVE: After understanding the situation, or being able to describe the phenomena based on related interactions – then it can be predicted what will happen. This knowledge enables the future to be altered or improved. Improvement can happen by manipulating some of the variable interactions described.

EXPLAIN: Knowing what did or did not improve the outcome enables an explanation of our reality. For example, I ate excess calories than I used so I gained weight.

Improvement CONFUSION????

The confusion I see is in the area of improvement. While correcting a problem such as putting out a fire, curing a disease, or even stitching a cut, it is not true improvement because it does not improve beyond our starting point or reference. These actions end a bad with treatment but do not cause a good beyond where we were before. See Resilience is Not Always a Virtue, If that is all it is for…, Best Practices are Contraindicated for Improvement and others.

Kahneman and Tversky explained this by suggesting giving money to poor people was not seen as help, but just a chance to catch up. This then was not improvement but helping level the playing field so improvements could be made.

For instance, my organization is BeWell’r, LLC and our work focuses on helping people(college students right now), organizations and society not just be well, but to be Well’R. This means better than they could have been before. We help people make better choices by efficiently nudging them, via the BeWell’r Web, to use community resources such that they can lead a regenerative lifestyle that helps them become better as they simultaneously also build a stronger, regenerative community, meaning everyone and everything benefits. The BeWell’r Web works like a forest which uses the “Wood-Wide Web” as discovered and explained by Dr. Suzanne Simard. (see Strategic Alliances are Powerful)

Stability then Improvement

As Dr. W. Edwards Deming explained in his quality management seminars. The first goal is to lessen the variance so stable outcomes can be produced. Once a consistent process produces a similar outcome again and again over time, then improvement can be made. If improvement attempts are made prior to stability, it is hard to know if the improvement can last or if it was a real improvement and not just chance. He used simple process behavior charts to document stable processes.

What Does this mean? Scientifically

This means science should first provide a DESCRIPTION of an occurrence or a phenomenon by understanding how it happened. The description should describe the interactions that created that occurrence. Based on that understanding of the situation, a PREDICTION about what will happen can be made. If one does not like the prediction, an IMPROVEMENT can be made by altering some of the interactions described.

As an example my daughter wants to run a marathon. She first had to be able to describe her current state and ability by reviewing the interactions that led to her current reality. Knowing she wants to have more endurance she studied training methods and changed her workouts to hopefully improve her running ability. If she is able to complete a marathon she will be able to explain by saying doing these type of workouts and having good nutrition improved my ability beyond what it was before, even in the best circumstances. In other words, this improvement would be better than she would have been even on her best day – that is true IMPROVEMENT.

I use science to generate comprehensive improvements by discovering and engaging in net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. When I discover these interactions that generate comprehensive improvements such as An All Good Simple Clean Up,A Way to Practice Paneugenesis, and others I share.

Please share how you use science to generate true comprehensive IMPROVEMENTS. I look forward to hearing from you.

BeWellr,

Craig M. Becker, PhD

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Contact me: BeWellr@bewellr

Is Lists “Voltage Effect” Flawed?

This post was co-written with Quality Management and Deming expert, Allen Scott who also used information gained in personal communication with quality management and statistical expert Don Wheeler, PhD.

I have tremendous respect for John List, PhD and many of his recommendations. I have read a lot of his work and heard him in presentations. I have also listened to him on Freakonomics. After hearing a review of his new book on Freakonomics, “Why Do Most Ideas Fail to Scale?” (the book is “The Voltage Effect: How to make good ideas great and great ideas scale“), I got a copy and read it.

Good Ideas

There are many great ideas contained, most specifically about why ventures may not scale. For instance, he emphasizes it is important not to be misled by false positives. This is when good results happen but it is not with a representative sample, thus falsely showing the idea may be successfully scaled. He documents how this happened with Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign, explaining why it was not as successful or even validated. He also explained the importance of knowing the intended audience. Here he cited an example where McDonalds had sampled devoted McDonald’s customers to test the new “Arch Deluxe” rather than testing it with the typical customer. He explained this was why the “Arch Deluxe” was not a successful new product and why it was important to use true customers, not devotees.

He also explains that when scaling it is important to know if it is the chef, the leader, or the ingredients that make the product successful. As he explains, it is easier to scale ingredients than people. Here he also explained the importance of spillover effects. As he made clear, small issues become more prominent when ideas are scaled. This can be documented from “General Equilibrium Effects” based on the theory. This theory explains how expectations can be disrupted because when one area changes, all areas change to adapt to that change. As an example he explained how when Uber raised driver salaries in hopes of helping them earn more take-home pay, more drivers then drove for Uber. The increase in salary increased the number of drivers and this led to less rides being given per driver. This meant the drivers did not earn the desired raise. This was a great example of General Equilibrium Effects.

He also explained that intervention spillovers can be positive or negative. As a positive example, he explained the spillover of Herd Immunity happens when many people in the community are vaccinated. He also warned that if costs were too high, it cannot scale. While many ideas were good, as I kept reading something was nagging at me and something seemed off. It was not until I got to Chapter 7, and when he began to focus on how to scale, that I realized what was nagging me.

Fatal Flaw?

What was nagging me was that the book was about improving the parts without accounting for the whole system and the dynamic interactions or “Systems Appreciation” in Deming’s Profound Knowledge. To compound his inattention to the whole system, he also failed to account for environmental impacts of any venture. It was as if he equated the impact on the environment at a cost of 0. The environment must be accounted for because the environment is an asset upon which every venture and all of us are dependent. Treating nature with no value encourages its misuse. Ventures should operate such that it supports regeneration because this can be the only way to ensure true value and improvement as it supports ongoing viability and profitability for everyone and everything.

System Improvement

As Dr. Ackoff explains, (see this powerful presentation titled, “If Russ Ackoff Had Given a TED Talk“) a system is not a sum of its parts but a product of its interactions. Further he explains if improvement of a system is done by improving the parts taken separately, you can absolutely be sure the performance of the whole will not be improved. This is what I believe is the fatal flaw in List’s book. He discusses methods to improve the parts without improving the system. In Dr. Deming’s terms, he does not have an “Appreciation for a System”.

One example he discussed in the book was about investing on marginal returns or the area that had the biggest return on the last dollar spent. This may work sometimes, however it mistakenly encourages management by results or managing by watching the scoreboard rather than continually improving the process. Managing by results will result in higher and higher variance, higher costs and lower profits. (see Red Bead Experiment) In the book Dr. List even relied on a faulty example, explaining hiring more people did not produce the same returns because the new group was not as productive. This mistakenly placed responsibility on the people, rather than the system from which results are generated.

Understanding Variation – Contribution from Allen Scott which also cited information obtained in personal communication with quality expert Don Wheeler, PhD

In The Science of Using Science: Towards an Understanding of the Threats to Scaling Experiments, John List, et. al. states, “Policymakers are increasingly turning to insights gained from the experimental method as a means of informing public policies.” They argue that knowing when evidence becomes actionable requires information about the population and the situation. Further they suggest this type of information is vital to knowing if scaling will work. 

Their writing seems to suggest more than experimental methods are necessary. Their concern, relying only on the scientific method can lead to a vast waste of resources, a missed opportunity to improve peoples lives, and a diminution in the public’s trust in the scientific method’s ability to contribute to policy making.

Actionable Evidence

Dr. Walter A. Shewhart in 1924 at Bell Labs developed process behavior charts to determine when evidence becomes actionable. These charts could identify appropriate statistical evidence by separating the noise from the signal. These charts provided an observational improvement method that plotted data over time. 

In Understanding Variation: The Key to Managing Chaos, by Dr. Donald J. Wheeler he documents that process behavior charts work and have been thoroughly proven. Further, it seems hard sciences can use the experimental methods and hold many variables constant, however social sciences must deal with unknown cause and effect relationships. These unknowns make the decision to scale problematic without more information. In such an environment, observational studies are needed rather than experiments.  If a test program is broad enough and predictable, reliable evidence will be gained about scaling. If however the evidence is localized and unpredictable, the evidence will be problematic. 

As explained earlier, List suggests this in his book, “Voltage Effect”, when he explains misleading evidence and false positives lead to misinformed choices to scale. As he explains, observational studies can be better than experiments when deciding to scale if they are representative enough to be predictable.

The problem as I see it is the assumption that we will know all of the important factors.  Experimentation cannot identify the unknown factors, only observation does this.

Don Wheeler, PhD

Real-Life Example

For example, despite experimental evidence about the value of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), observation studies of over 8000 women over ten years showed that post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy changed the likelihood of heart-attack from 2% to 3%. This study made it clear that HRT benefits did not outweigh the risks.

For more on experimental studies versus observational studies, see the recent Quality Digest article by Dr. Wheeler: Different Approaches to Process Improvement Does your approach do what you need? We also recommend Dr. Greger’s review of this topic in his linked short Nutritional Facts.org July 4, 2022 vlog post, Observational Studies Show Similar Results to Randomized Trials.

Quitting Shouldn’t Exist…

Another concern I had with List’s book related to quitting. Dr. List emphasizes the need to get better at quitting and the need to quit. I am not sure why he chose to describe it as quitting. He was equating quitting with failure, but failure doesn’t exist (see Failure Doesn’t Exist…). The drive to succeed and do well for most entrepreneurs would stay the same, thus the aim would not be consistent with quitting. This is why the idea of quitting is a confusing reference. For instance, using his personal example, he explained that he chose not to make a difference by being a professional golfer, but as a professor in academics. Thus by his own admission, he did not quit wanting to make a difference, he just pivoted.

To me pivoting, a term used often by the NSF iCorps program and others, is a better way to encourage entrepreneurs and is a method to help them succeed and scale. A pivot should occur when an entrepreneur discovers, after researching the idea, the market and customers, that the idea is a no-go, or not a good idea to scale. After discovering the idea may be problematic, it is recommended they pivot to a variant or alternative. From my perspective, this is better terminology than quitting and allows the entrepreneur to carry forward the many assets and skills gained toward the pivoted aim of the venture.

While I do encourage you to read Lists book, “The Voltage Effect: How to make good ideas great and great ideas scale“, please keep in mind, any venture must contribute to systemic improvement. I am concerned List did not adequately account for the system’s impact, especially when parts are maximized as he suggests. This was a bit confusing since he did discuss “General Equilibrium Effects” and then ignored it throughout the text.

As Russ Ackoff makes clear, simply improving the parts cannot improve the system. As we all seek to make our contribution toward comprehensive improvements, it is recommended we focus on creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please share how you practice paneugenesis.

BeWellr,

Craig M. Becker, PhD

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Contact me: BeWellr@bewellr

Sources: (added to keep me straight right now!) remove/change later

  1. https://bfi.uchicago.edu/working-paper/the-science-of-using-science-towards-an-understanding-of-the-threats-to-scaling-experiments/
  2. Wheeler, D. J. (1993). Understanding variation: The key to managing chaos. Knoxville, Tenn: SPC Press.

Multiple Green$ Benefits

More green is usually good.

  • Greens in the form of vegetables are good for our health
  • Green behavior is regenerative or at least better and can help everyone and everything
  • Green in form of money can be good and helpful

This post is about how all 3 of these benefits will accrue from this simple action.

Many of us eat greens as spinach, lettuce, kale, mustard greens etc. While these greens are good for us, taste good and are delicious, they do not stay fresh long. Composting old greens is better because in time they turn into useful soil, but it still wastes money.

A Better Idea

We found a more useful solution. When our greens start to go bad, we put them into the blender and then freeze them. As frozen small pieces of greens, they are easy to add to a smoothy.

My bag of chopped greens and a scooper to add to a smoothie

We keep freezing old greens simple. When ours greens start to go bad we put the old greens in the blender with a little bit of water, if necessary, and mix. After the leaves are chopped, we place those leaves in a bag and put them in the freezer. I also put a scooper in that bag so I can easily scoop out a helping for my smoothie.

I really like doing this in the summer because I find Smoothies to be great summer snacks They are refreshing, cool and also provide a healthy serving of vegetables. If you are interested in more techniques, this page, How to Freeze Spinach, shares more options.

Multiple Benefits

This simple technique provides multiple benefits:

  • We eat more greens by including them in our now tastier and more filling smoothies
  • Environmental benefits are less trips to the store and less food waste
  • We save money by not having to buy greens or other ingredients for smoothies

Overall, chopping and freezing greens is a great, all good way to generate comprehensive improvements. Freezing older greens creates a net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic benefits from which everyone and everything benefits.

Please share how you generate comprehensive improvements so everyone and everything can benefit.

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

Its the Environment Stu*?#!

“It’s the economy stu**#?!” was a famous catch phrase when Clinton ran for president and in a book by Paul Begala about George W. Bush’s presidency. As the title states, “It Still the Economy, Stupid”.

book by Paul Begala

This idea seemed to catch on because the economy seemed to be instrumental in peoples lives. Most people cared about the economy because they thought the state of the economy would have an impact on their lives.

Research continues to document that the things around us, such as the economy, greatly impact what we do and what we think. From a more general perspective, it’s not the economy, it’s the environment that is most influential.

Social Cognitive theory (also referred to as Social Learning Theory) explains how thoughts (cognitions), behaviors, and the environment continually influence one another. As any one of these factors changes, so do the others. Therefore, when we alter the environment, our thoughts and behaviors will also change, reciprocally. It is what is referred to as reciprocal determinism. If you are interested in learning more, you can watch this short video.

The power of the environment drives many recommendations. The simplest recommendation is to have healthy food in your house, prepared, and it will more likely be the food you eat. This simple point was driven home for me when I saw how we changed our home environment for our new puppy. For some reason he liked to play with our bolt cap covers on the bottom of the toilet (see pictures). To solve the problem, we put out toys and removed the bolt cap covers. He now plays with better toys and we don’t have a problem. All of this happened by “simply” changing the environment. How can you change your environment to get the outcomes you desire?

Simplicity, however is sometimes overrated, there is always more than one causal factor and this alone make simplicity incomplete. Still, Einstein was a fan,

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Albert Einstein

For a great discussion on simplicity I recommend Steven Dubner & Angela Duckworth’s “No Stupid Questions“, podcast episode #104, “How Simple Is Too Simple?

Creating an Environment to Get Desired Outcomes

Preparing healthy food and having it available in my home generates a health promoting environment that makes health more likely. Making healthy food available is a time multiplier (see Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…) I find myself, upon reflection, using time multiplier options all the time. Many actions, that take time initially, can create an environment more likely to generate desirable outcomes. For instance my wife and I share the notes App on our iPhones. It took time to set up, however now whenever we run low on things, or need to get something, we put it on our shared list and we are more likely to get and have things in our environment that we need. In this way, our digital environment helps our home environment.

Idea from this post: Design your environment to make your desired outcomes more likely. The environment enables or inhibits desired outcomes. Though it will take some work initially to create the environment you want, the time spent creating that desirable environment, will save your time – as Rory Vader explains, it is a Time Multiplier.

Behaviors Become Habits

It is important ot remember that any action taken sets the foundation for a habit. (see What We Do Without Thinking, Sharing “Atomic Habits” Wisdom from James Clear … and more. The environment we live in determine if engaging in that behavior will be easy or more difficult. Understanding this means we should design your environment to make desired behaviors easier so a better life can take care of itself because as behaviors become habits, it will be what we do without thinking. Habits are also great time savers, or time multipliers.

Please share how you design you environment to generate comprehensive benefits by enabling more net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions 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.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

Questions Enlighten

To enlighten means “(to) give (someone) greater knowledge and understanding about a subject or situation”. Upon further reflection, I realized that we learn more by asking questions, often unexpected, questions that may seem to be off the topic at first.

Enlightenment was the subject of Steven Pinker’s fantastic book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (see Things are Great – And They are Getting Better…) that chronicled the amazing progress we have made and what are important factors that made that progress possible.

Ulcers from Bacteria?

An example of asking a different and somewhat off the mark questions happened when Marshall & Warren discovered that it was a bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, not stress and lifestyle that caused peptic ulcers (see this 1984 Lancet article). This amazing discovery was possible because they asked good questions. That paradigm improving work helped them to eventually win the 2005 Nobel Prize.

I learned about Marshall & Warren’ work while reading Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health ©2012 and it came to mind while attending a conference.

Screen Shot 2019-08-27 at 11.38.33 AM.png

Rabbit Hole Misdirection

As I attended a fantastic 2022 Appalachian Energy Summitt presentation about how North Carolina was going to get to net-zero carbon with transportation, a question broke our rabbit hole thinking. The discussion was about electric cars and continued with a discussion about the need for a recharging infrastructure, fast charging stations and or battery exchanges, and the need for policy. As we learned, despite available technology, without supportive policy, change is unlikely. As we continued down the rabbit hole of electric cars and their benefits, then infrastructure, fast chargers, and exchange batteries, someone asked a question: What about trains? High speed rail?

It stopped us in our tracks (pun intended). As he stated, even if we have all this, we still must drive, ugh… If we had trains, we could arrive rested, socialize, read, do work if desired and travel easily. He also pointed out the possibility of trains helping NC get to net-zero emission if done right. As I reflected, I realized how different our conversation would have been if we would have thought about what the best way would be to travel, rather than how can we just convert what we currently do toward something better. This question enlightened.

A Problem focus is limiting

Questions enlighten. If we start with the understanding we want things to be better and deprivation will never work for the long term, it will help. Deprivation means doing without. Unless we have a better substitute, it will not be desired. Seeing the new way as better requires framing and promotion. Simply eliminating a problem is less bad, not more good and it limits our thinking toward the problem, not a possible paradigm improving solution as documented by Barbara Fredrickson’s Broaden & Build Theory of Positive Emotions (see Build a Net Positive Life for ALL).

This is important because we always move towards what seems better. But to get us to move in that direction, the good must be 3x better than the loss is bad (refer to Critical Positivity Line or the Losada Line). The positive must be 3x more beneficial than the loss because evolution taught us to be oversensitive to losses. We function with what experts call loss aversion. Loss aversion is part of us because it enabled us to survive. Therefore, if we want paradigm improving answers, we shouldn’t ask, what is the problem? As Einstein explained:

Image] #Einstein: We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we  used when we created them... | Einstein quotes, Wise quotes, Quotable quotes

Asking a different question enlightens because it can enable us to use different thinking. In health we seem to only ask, what causes sickness? Why are we asking that question when we want to know, “What causes health?” Asking the right questions can help us think about how to create comprehensive improvements that are much more than just not bad.

I know this realization has helped me “Think Again” (see “Think Again” Very Helpful Book) as Adam Grant suggests. Enlightening answers require better questions (see Asking Better Questions Can Generate a Better Tomorrow). Our current focus may help solve a problem but it is unlikely to shift toward true, net-positive, improvement.

As we work to make things better, the new ways will need to crowd out bad things. From my perspective, we should be asking – how can we generate comprehensive improvements? We need to be asking, how do we create net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions that cause benefits so everyone and everything benefits? For example attempts to answer this question see: A Way to Practice Paneugenesis, A Paneugenesis Process for America, Create All Good – Paneugenesis – in Prisons?, Practicing Paneugenesis – An Example and many more on this site. These examples are times when people asked questions that kept them out the rabbit hole trap.

Please share questions that help you and may help us think about how to generate comprehensive benefits. Thank you – I look forward to hearing from you.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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

Measuring for Benefits

Prevention benefits mean nothing bad happens, it does not necessarily create more good. By definition, it will just get us back to where we were before. Of course this is good, at least not worse, but why not create better? Time and again we look for errors that could have been eliminated, suggesting less errors is higher quality. Unfortunately, less errors only mean things are less bad than they could have been, not truly better. To me that type of thinking sets the bar too low.

Dr. Deming often explained it doesn’t make sense to focus on getting better at things we shouldn’t be doing in the first place. Inspecting at the end of an assembly line, he would explain, could not produce higher quality products, it could only catch errors. Quality management meant focusing on doing all the steps better, through informed decisions made possible with process behavior charts. Process behavior charts also enabled better connection between the steps so all could be done better. It matters more how things work together than how anything works independently. A continually improved process is far more effective than an improved ability to find errors at the end.

Isn’t searching for and finding errors what we usually do. We measure for errors rather than showing what could be. I thought of this as I listened to the June 3, 2022 NYTime Daily Podcast, “The Cost of Haiti’s Freedom“. I encourage you to listen here.

Shocking Information

It wasn’t so much about what they lost that sparked my interest, but later in the podcast the information they calculated about what good could have been created. If rather than paying the “double debt” back to France, Haiti could have invested in themselves and could have had a thriving island of educated citizens who would have had a better opportunity to live up to their potential and contribute. Nothing says it would have happened, but it could have…

It seems this linked Mother Goose and Grim comic strip, posted the same day as this post was attempting to make the same point. How much better can that camel perform??

As was explained in the NYTimes Daily podcast, at about minute 12, Haiti paid France $560 million dollars. Then they said, if that money had stayed in Haiti, it would be worth $21 billion dollars to Haiti which could have been used for schools and roads. That was in raw dollars, according to calculations by economists, they determined that it could have been worth $115 billion dollars if the money was used wisely. They explained that this was the opportunity cost of the money that went to France. In other words, it is what Haiti could have been – a country with electricity, water, schools and health care.

Magical Thinking…

They suggested that it was magical thinking. Is it magical thinking, or is it seeing a future that we want to create and then working to make it so? According to John List in his 2022 book, “The Voltage Effect: how to make good ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale“, this type of thinking is what was the best chess players do. They use backward induction to figure out how to create the best outcome. Is that magical thinking? No – it is backward induction or Prospective Hindsight (see Use Prospective Hindsight to Create a Better Tomorrow) It is what is used by everyone who creates better outcomes than what currently exists. It is also what I suggest we do with the Paneugenesis Process by first creating an Idealized Outcome, an outcome that cannot be now, but could be if we redesign reality to make it so.

John List explained, this evolved from Zermelos Theorem. According to what is posted on Wikipedia, backward induction is:

…is a process of reasoning backward in time. It is used to analyse and solve extensive form games of perfect information. This method analyses the game starting at the end, and then works backwards to reach the beginning. In the process, backward induction determines the best strategy for the player that made the last move. Then the ultimate strategy is determined for the next-to last moving player of the game. The process is repeated again determining the best action for every point in the game has been found. Therefore, backward induction determines the Nash equilibrium of every subgame in the original game.[5]

As explained on Wikipedia

Using Backward Induction for Benefits

Although life does not allow perfect information, shouldn’t all of us use backward induction to determine our next move? My point, in simplistic form. If we want to improve, we must start with what we want, i.e. a regenerative world, not just a sustainable one (see Getting Better as We Fix What we Broke).

We can live a lifestyle that not only makes our lives better by living it, by eating a plant strong diet, by being active with friends and family, building our minds be cooperating, and by learning and creating new methods to generate comprehensive improvements through the creation of net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic benefits so everyone and everything benefits. This is the Practice of Paneuegenesis.

This can be made more likely by measuring for benefits, rather than problems to avoid. Dream of a better future not possible now, an Idealized Outcome seen through Prospective Hindsight. Then use backward induction to figure out how to create that desired reality. It will be exciting work to generate and contribute toward creating a better world for everyone and everything. Please share how you are using the same strategy the best chess players use, backward induction, to create a desired outcome that helps generate comprehensive improvements.

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

Insight Powered by Nature

As I took out my compost this morning, I noticed more growth under a tree my wife had me clear last week. I didn’t want it to become a big problem so I pulled these small growths out before they got established. As I pulled out these small plants, I found that the roots were long and they were all connected. Wait a minute???

These connected roots meant that these plants were cooperating to be stronger, it was not survival of the fittest – it was survival of the most cooperative. This brought home many of the lessons I have posted about nature. Including Tree’s to Nuts to People – ALL Connected SuperCooperators, Strategic Alliances are Powerful, Mimic Mother Nature to Create a New Political Party, Deserts to Garden – Helping Nature Generate All Good, Standing on Natures Shoulders, What goes down, must go up?, Trees & Forests Can Help Us!?, More Trees, More Benefits, and many more.

We, us homo sapiens, the human race, are nature, (We are Just Talking Apes) shouldn’t we act like nature? It seems we can trace our successes to when we collaborate like the late Ray Anderson demonstrated at Interface where he boosted profits as he made life better for everyone and everything (see We Must Make It Better – Saving the Planet not Enough!, Did we give up? Hospice for Earth? We Need Better! and others) and we can trace our problems of waste and environmental degradation to times when we fail to act like nature. Acting like nature means we should make life more livable for everyone and everything, which also means we are living a good, vitality generating life. Personal and planetary health are connected, interdependent and necessary.

According to my weeding this morning, nature seems to be telling us, LOUD and CLEAR, we are stronger when we cooperate and work together. Being strong means finding things we can cooperate on and using that part to create a connection from which we can grow strong together. To me this means, to generate the comprehensive benefits we all desire, we must create net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions from which everyone and everything benefits.

For much of my career I had been trying to push this positive agenda with intermittent partnerships. I now have a great team of advisors and collaborators and the progress has accelerated tremendously. Like the plants I picked this morning, my experiences have demonstrated I am stronger when I cooperate with others. Please share how you found a way to collaborate and how that has made you stronger. I look forward to hearing from you.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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

Positive Adds Good

We need to reinvigorate what it means to have something positive happen. Having something positive happen means something good happens that would not be present otherwise. A good feeling, a good deed, making others happy, developing new skills and abilities. Making new connections to others with similar interests or better yet with people that have different interests. Learning something new, and so much more.

Unfortunately, many now associate positive to mean something bad does not happen. It can’t just mean something bad does not happen. That sets the bar way too low. We must do better and we should strive to do and be better.

This idea was captured by Patrick McDonnell’s May 18, 2022 Mutts comic here. Please take a look. For me a positive means to generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please share how you generate something positive.

Lets reinvigorate what positive means by causing things to be better for everyone and everything than they could be otherwise.

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

An All Good Simple Clean Up

38,973 Bar Of Soap Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

In baseball, the 4th hitter in the line up is called the clean-up hitter. The clean-up hitter is often one of the best hitters on the team. Most coaches adhere to the idea that the first 3 hitters in the lineup will be those with high on-base percentage so the fourth hitter, can “clean up” those runners on base and score runs. The hope is doing this will mean the team will not waste any opportunities to score due to the higher probability of the clean-up hitter “hitting” them in.

Clean-ups are generally good things. It means we don’t leave a mess or leave waste. In nature, there is no waste. Natures functions such that all living things: animals, plants, human and Gaia (Earth) function in ways that make life more livable for everyone and everything. Nature is not survival of the fittest but of the most cooperative and adaptive (see Tree’s to Nuts to People – ALL Connected SuperCooperators, Strategic Alliances are Powerful, Survival of the Fittest Misleading and others).

With this in mind, we human beings, who are a part of nature, should do what we can to make life more livable for everyone and everything. At this stage of our development, we really need to be living regenerative lifestyles to repair the damage we have done (see Getting Better as We Fix What we Broke, Fixing Problems is Inefficient, Ineffective & Insufficient, More than a “Whack a Mole” Life and others).

Of course life is already busy, nobody needs more responsibilities so this is a simplifying suggestion that provides multiple benefits and is a time multiplier (see Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…. As Einstein explained,

Here is the suggestion or recommendation, when we clean up, use bar soap. Yes there are body washes, shampoo, conditioners, and more, but they are all soap. With regard to the lasting impact of soap, it is generally considered negligible because it breaks down quickly. However “…although the impact of soap itself is supposedly next to nothing, the packaging can actually make a difference, according to Conservation.” Logically, bar soap has less packaging, is lighter to transport, easier to store and has less disposal issues since it does not come in a plastic bottle. See more here.

Overall, in a civil of society we should be clean, however these efforts should not harm or harm other forms of life. Using bar soap helps us be in line with nature, is simple, eliminates complexity, a key driver of quality improvement as espoused by Dr. W. Edward Deming, and therefore can improve our lives and that of everyone and everything else.

It is almost like being a clean-up hitter, using bar soap makes life better, enables us to save money and also helps us contribute toward making life more livable. In other words, using bar soap is a way to create all good, or is a way to practice paneugenesis because it generates comprehensive improvements from a net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interaction from which everyone and everything benefits. Please share your thoughts!

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

Accelerating Forward Faster

COVID has changed us forever. Never did we believe a virus could change our society as dramatically as it has. COVID has caused us to quickly move even faster than we thought possible. Unfortunately, in some ways we could be accelerating forward faster.

Our justified fear of the spread of the virus and problems associated with COVID has overly emphasized prevention by crowding out the promotion and improvement of health BEYOND the absence of disease. We can be and do better. Improved well-being amplifies the power of prevention. Prevention has been wonderful, but as I noted earlier, Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant! or at least it is insufficient when health improvement is our objective. Positive health amplifies prevention so we can accelerate forward faster.

Health is the PRESENCE Of WELL-BEING, it is not the absence of problems. Think about it, you feel good and have joy when you do things that make you feel good and or do good. Avoidance can only lead to temporary relief, not well-being.

Well being is caused by interactively developing physically, mentally and socially through conscious actions. Prevention efforts keep us from doing things. The BEST WAY TO PREVENT PROBLEMS is to be as healthy as possible. Prevention is a by-product of improved well-being. Study after study shows those engaged in health causing behaviors and thoughts in multiple dimensions, which my studies have labeled as social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, physical, vocational and environmental, benefit with improved well-being and higher life satisfaction due to the cumulative effect of these multiple well-being enhancing actions. There is no magic bullet.

To be able to prevent bad things, we must be strong mentally, physically and socially resulting from the development of those assets. Prevention, if taken alone, encourages us to isolate and become stagnant. Only when we take action can we get healthier and stronger. If you are interested and have time, I detail this in this Creating Better presentation.

Exponential growth

Another factor related to our difficulty, as Michael Lewis describes in The Premonition: A Pandemic Story, is from our problem understanding exponential growth which explains the rate a virus can spread. After all, isn’t it hard to believe a penny doubled every day for just 30 days would amount to over $5 million dollars? Even crazier, folding a typical piece of paper 50 times would end up being over 7 million miles long???? HUH?

Of course this is hard to believe, see the videos below that attempt to help us grasp the concept of exponential growth:

Exponential Growth:

Overall, we should be taking actions to enhance our well-being which will amplify our ability to prevent problems as a by-product of improved well-being. In other words, we can accelerate forward faster and experience better well-being with a side of prevention. This future will happen when we work to generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions from which everyone and everything benefits. Please share how you make your life better do 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.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

“Finance adds No value”

I recently listened to the April 2022 Deming Institute podcast, “In Their Own Words”, entitled and linked: Kevin Cahill’s Reflections on Dr. Deming and the Deming Institute (April 2022). Andrew Stotz hosted. Andrew Stotz is an awarded, successful financial analyst.

Mr. Stotz indicated how Deming’s work had impacted his thinking and career. Deming also provides a solid basis for all I do with health. His ideas about continual improvement of the process so the product takes care of itself and systems appreciation are at the basis of all I have done. Personal and planetary health are interconnected and as we continually improve the lifestyle process with an understanding of how it impacts everyone and everything – we can achieve the desirable aim of regenerative communities by living regenerative lifestyles. You will see Dr. Deming mentioned often in multiple posts on this blog and he has also been a basis for many of my peer reviewed published articles.

The part that caught my attention in the recent Deming institute podcast was when Andrew Stotz, despite being a financial analyst, said, “Finance adds no value” He went on to explian:

“Finance adds no value….Ultimately it’s the products and the service, and finance is a support function just as human resources… it’s when finance starts being the head of the business that you get into trouble…Never make the right finance decision over the right business decision.”

Andrew Stotz

This may be a stretch, however, to me his statement that finances cannot provide value is similar to how I have adopted what I learned from Dr. Deming. As I have noted, Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant! if improvement is the goal. He even states, good finances are a by-product, and cannot be the aim, just as research has shown prevention is the by-product of good health, not its aim. Prevention and problem solving only stop bad things from happening but do not make things better than where we were before the problem occurred. We could not get healthy after COVID occurred, we had to create a better life first and the protection against COVID from good health was a beneficial by-product. Those without co-morbidities have done better.

Mr. Stotz comments about finances by explaining that money desires should not drive actions, because earning money is the necessary result or by-product. These ideas were outlined in this post, Money Is a Lagging Not a Leading Indicator which demonstrated that

Money must follow, it cannot lead.

Businesses, as Kevin Cahill explains, often want to just seem to be keeping up so they go with the new management fads or “the flavor of the month” rather than maintaining a constant aim. As he notes, this does not work out well, especially over the long term. This linked 4/24/2022 Close to Home comic humorously captures this idea about just doing something because it is a current idea.

Mr. Cahill then provides a great example of the outcomes from a focus on value or money when he contrasts Apple and Enron. One company was guided by financial statements while the other was guided by providing value. Apple, which he cites from Walter Isaacson’s book, Steve Jobs, says Apple had the aim or mission to create “insanely great products”. In contrast, the now defunct Enron’s mission was to make more money. The result: Apple is worth a trillion dollars and Enron went bankrupt.

In looking back, I realized I have cited Steve Jobs and things he has done almost as often as I have cited Dr. Deming. To me both provide great examples of how we can help generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

I hope you listen to the Deming podcast and that it motivates you to study Deming’s methods. Deming was my inspiration and it has helped me a lot in my career. Please share what you learn and how you implement his ideas to benefit everyone and everything so “everybody wins” as Dr. Deming used to say!

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