Humans are Part of the Zoo

I recently read the excellent book, Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, MD, & Kathryn Bowers.

by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, MD, & Kathryn Bowers

The book was fascinating to me because it highlighted and made clear why We are Just Talking Apes and how There is Only US, There is no Them as I attempted to suggest previously. I loved Zoobiquity because it documented how similar all living things are on earth and that “we should be looking at the overlap rather than the differences” between species due to our shared ancestry.

I was fascinated as they demonstrated how other animals also have foresight, regret, shame guilt, love and revenge. These are things I thought I saw in our dogs, but I thought I was anthropomorphizing their behaviors. I guess I was not.

Similarities

Examples of similarities in the book included how all animals, like humans can Faint when scared. This led to a better explanation of our instincts that are generally only described as Fight or Flight. A true description of our reactions is “Fight, Flight, or Faint” when startled. As they documented, faking death, like when we Faint, had survival benefits and may be why it lasted through our evolution.

I thought most interesting was how they showed some behaviors that many attribute to bad character, also exist in the animal kingdom. For instance, there is a section that describes eating disorders in the animal kingdom that mirror humans eating disorders. (see Intriguing links between animal behavior and anorexia nervosa by Treasure, Janet & Owen, John) Other behaviors such as homosexuality, trans sex and even sex between species exists in other animals meaning it evolved for a survival reason and is still in our DNA.

In other examples they document the proliferation of STDs in the animal kingdom. After all, they don’t have antibiotics or any type of protection. In another similarity, they document how teenage animals act similar to human teenagers. The similarity relates to their behaviors. As explained, teenage brains don’t register danger as adults do and this may be why they take what seems to be “stupid” or unwise actions. They however explain, “These risky behaviors can encourage encounters with threats and competitions that may hurt them but actually end up being helpful for success later in life.” They even suggest that it may be more dangerous when adolescents don’t take risks than if they do. If risks are avoided, they are not prepared for life.

Overall, these many comparisons and similarities indicate that what happens are not necessarily flaws or problems of humans, it is hard wired into us. These actions are just part of our shared DNA, those actions however can also be influenced by our environment.

Sex, Drugs, &…

They also showed how animals in the wild sometimes get hooked on drugs, who knew? They also explained that animals have varied sex drives, high or low, and some animals even use some of the same techniques to attract mates as can be seen in humans. It was amazing to learn. They even suggest that an “Orgasm is not the byproduct of sex, it is the bait from erotic ancestry” that enables, or supports reproduction.

There were some unpleasant things in the book. A disturbing section explained humans believed animals did not feel. This existed until fairly recently — though some still believe this, especially about fish. Humans had the false belief that animals could not feel because we could not understand how they thought. Animals react differently to pain, some withdraw rather than vocalize it, at least that we can hear. They relate this to how many thought even babies did not feel pain up until the 1980s.

The authors discussion of pleasure and then drugs was also enlightening. They explained how pleasure and rewards initiated behaviors that helped us survive and negative emotions altered behaviors when survival was threatened. They then relate this to drugs by explaining people become addicted because drugs can falsely signal we are doing something beneficial to our fitness that helps our survival. They also provide an enlightening discussion about how this relates to and feeds addictions.

Nature or Nurture??

An insightful point they demonstrated was that it is not a Nature or Nurture answer, but a dance between each. As was explained, Nature & Nurture are not a divide but rather an endless feedback loop of information that enables adaptation. For example, they document that animals, like humans, can get fat when there is an abundance of food and no predators. They also document animals, like humans, will consume processed foods to their detriment because of the false signals created by these ultra-processed foods.

Overall, again and again, from drugs, to sex, to relationships, they document how these are issues for all in the animal kingdom, not just for humans. It had a copyright of 2012 however it is very current. The most current part was how it seems to have led to the development of the new World Health Organizations initiative, “One Health”.

WHO One Health

According to the WHO Website:

What is ‘One Health’?

‘One Health’ is an approach to designing and implementing programmes, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes.

The areas of work in which a One Health approach is particularly relevant include food safety, the control of zoonoses (diseases that can spread between animals and humans, such as flu, rabies and Rift Valley Fever), and combatting antibiotic resistance (when bacteria change after being exposed to antibiotics and become more difficult to treat)..

Why do we need a One Health approach?

Many of the same microbes infect animals and humans, as they share the eco-systems they live in. Efforts by just one sector cannot prevent or eliminate the problem. For instance, rabies in humans is effectively prevented only by targeting the animal source of the virus (for example, by vaccinating dogs).

Information on influenza viruses circulating in animals is crucial to the selection of viruses for human vaccines for potential influenza pandemics. Drug-resistant microbes can be transmitted between animals and humans through direct contact between animals and humans or through contaminated food, so to effectively contain it, a well-coordinated approach in humans and in animals is required.

We can Do More

One Health is a great start, however it seems to only focus on how we can better avoid, treat and or prevent problems. In my view it does not put enough emphasis on how health is created and improved.

From my reading it became even more vital to work towards generating comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and EVERYTHING benefits. All living things are connected and the aim of all living things must be to live in a way that makes life more livable.

Natterson-Horowitz & Bowers seem to agree, at the end, they explain:

The fate of our world health doesn’t depend solely on how we humans fare, rather it will be determined by how ALL patients  on the planet live, grow, get sick and heal.

Natterson-Horowitz & Bowers in “Zoobiquity”

Let’s create all good, we can’t wait for people or animals to become patients, we must proactively work to make life more livable and better for all.

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@gmail.com

Its Go Time: The Meteors Coming

As made clear in “Don’t Look Up“, the recent Netflix movie, we do not have time to debate, It is Go Time. The movie is a great analogy of current times and a cry for critical thinking and action.

It requires reflection and optimism that we can make a difference. We also must believe our action can make a difference. As Israel Zangwill reflected:

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

Israel Zangwill, English dramatist (1864-1926).

Daily news seems to express concerns that it could be too late, including in this recent Washington Post article:

Satellite images show the Amazon rainforest is hurtling toward a ‘tipping point’

Of course, what option is there? The ONLY option is to do good, feel good for doing good and be regenerative, not just sustainable. Review of the interconnected world clearly demonstrates, the world wants to regenerate. The awesome thing is that the only way we can save ourselves is also the best way to create the best life for everyone and everything. We all benefit from generating comprehensive improvements when we are creating net positive, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Nature does this, in all ways, including with the “Wood Wide Web”, where roots distribute resources most efficiently so trees make up a healthy and vibrant interdependent forest. The trees don’t fight for survival, they share to create overall success. That is how nature works.

We are nature, we can do this. We want to do this, well most of us, look at how the world is helping the Ukrainians and sharing resources. For more examples of how this works, see What goes down, must go up?, Survival of the Fittest Misleading, Strategic Alliances are Powerful, Trees & Forests Can Help Us!?, Tree’s to Nuts to People – ALL Connected SuperCooperators and many more. Please share how you are creating comprehensive benefits.

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

Moving Toward Better in 2022

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

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

The snake and the buttons for downloading data in R shiny | r-critique.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Pathogenesis to Salutogenesis for Public Health

I had the good fortune of being paired with Dr. Leslie Hoglund at Old Dominion University for a presentation at Nuisance Flooding Conference in April of 2021. Later that year,  at the 2021 Public Health Innovation Summit & Showcase, she made this powerful 14 minute presentation, From Pathogenesis to Salutogenesis: Unraveling & Redesigning Public Health. In this presentation she explains why and how health professionals should focus on generating more good, not just less bad. I encourage you watch her presentation because these ideas apply to all of us.

Dr. Hoglund explained how and why using a salutogenic approach would be more effective for public health efforts at generating comprehensive improvements by focusing on creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless synergistic interactions through their activities to promote health. If you agree and like it, I encourage you to share this with everyone and especially all the health professionals you know.

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

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.

Best Dad Ever: The Power of Language – Use it Wisely

I am wearing a shirt my girls got me that reads, “Best Dad Ever”. By all measures it is correct. I am the best Dad my girls ever had. Of course I am their only Dad. These words however can be misleading and cause misunderstanding. For instance, someone could challenge me that they are a better Dad. Of course they would be correct if they were talking about being a Dad to their children. It can get confusing. No matter how we think about it, language is powerful and we should use it wisely.

This topic is of great importance. For example, the most important conversation is the one you have with yourself. What you tell yourself can only be contradicted by yourself. Nobody can jump in your head and change your mind unless you let them. These means what you say to yourself carries meaning – choose your words wisely. You can let others in your head by reading and watching TV. That happens a lot now during the election campaign. I encourage you to think about how candidates use words to send messages, inaccurate or accurate depending on how it is used. What is important about the language is what it causes people to do and how it impacts their actions.

One way that words trigger actions is when they remind us of values. Schwartz identified 10 Basic Values. I encourage you to review his article about those value at An Overview of Schwartz Theory of Basic Values. As he demonstrates, we all have these values, just at differing levels. He also explains these values can be triggered by words. The power of these values varies by our role in life – parent, teacher, consumer, marketer, owner, worker, etc.

The ten values he identified are grouped by Openness to Change, Self-Transcendence, Conservation, and  Self-Enhancement included:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These values were used by Edward Bernays to incite a consumer revolution where he showed organizations how they could more easily sell their products if their products were associated with deeply held values such as power or freedom. He outlined how to do this in his 1928 book, “Propaganda”. The book and video also documents how he used false science. He falsely used science by creating an experiment with an expected outcome. He used bad science to falsely support an objectively bad choice, bacon and eggs. I encourage you to watch the video below to learn how he did this. In other words, he was NOT using words to promote #SelfishSelflessSynergy, but you can.

  

I was reminded of the power of words while reading Kate Raworth’s excellent 2017 book, Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist”. In the book she uses the example of calling people consumers or citizens and how those words dramatically impact how people think and act. As a consumer it means people can only express your potential by buying things, but as a citizen it would inspire people to take actions to be a good member of society. Words are powerful, we must use them carefully and also carefully think about how they are being used.

Here is another example of powerful words that may impact thoughts and actions as written by Umair Haque:

Don’t you think there’s something wrong with a world where Amazon, Inc is a “person,” but the Amazon isn’t? Without personhood, the worst amongst our species — the profiteers and predators — is free to treat nature and the animals just like they once treated slaves: maim, abuse, and annihilate them, until they’ve been used up. – Umair Haque

As you know, my focus has been attempts to use words that will generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. I look forward to hearing how you use your words to generate #SelfishSelflessSynergy or comprehensive improvements. Please share your thoughts below. Thank you.

Be Well’r,

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Improve Your Life and Contribute to All as a Side-Effect

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.

Winston Churchill

Doing the right things is Selfish, Selfless, Synergy.  Although the movie is called, “EndGame2050”, it is not how to end the game but how to start living better so everyone and everything benefits. Remember, as explained in The Inner Game of Tennis Provides a Focus for Life“, playing competitive games are really just advanced collaboration because it helps participants perform their best, or better than they would otherwise. “EndGame2050” gives us clues on how to have the best life that also contributes to everyone and everything.

For those that follow, you know I continually promote comprehensive improvements. One thing that may not be as clear is that the most effective way to generate comprehensive improvements improves our lives. It makes sense that what is best for us is also best for the planet. In other words, what is best for each of us, selfish, is best for others, Selfless, as it benefits everyone and everything else, Synergy.  #SelfishSelflessSynergy

In another education, sober movie, EndGame 2050 ends by explaining the specific actions we can take to make our lives better that also benefit the planet. Remember, not only do you get to feel good, you also get to feel good for doing good! This means we feel even better due to secondary beneficence.I encourage you to watch this movie. Remember the beginning is difficult to watch.

This means the movie promotes ways to Practice Paneugenesis because it will help us generate comprehensive improvements by helping us see how to generate pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please promote how you generate comprehensive improvements that make your life better! We all look forward to hearing from you. Please share…

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

Creating a Positive Ripple from a COVID-19 Response

If we look at most of our actions, doesn’t seem like we spend a lot of time fixing what we broke? Accidents happen, however we should learn from them and do better next time. Issues like the environment, however, is something we know about. Instead of finding ways to make it better, we stop at fixing what we broke in the hopes it get back to how it was. As noted in, “Best Practices are Contraindicated for Improvement”, Dr. W. Edwards Deming explains that fixing what we broke is like putting out fires.

This approach of fixing things to make it like it was is also unrealistic because it assumes things are static, they are not. Our world is dynamic and when anything changes, everything changes because as John Muir observed, everything is interconnected:

Understanding our interconnectedness means that when we throw a rock in a body of water and it creates waves and ripples that spread and impact all that surrounds it. COVID-19 has demonstrated, in stark terms, how we are all connected and interdependent. Our interdependence and the interconnectedness of everyone and everything provides a solution that can provide not just a powerful ripple, but a powerful tsunami of future pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions from which everyone and everything can benefit in a way that would exceed expectations.

To exceed expectations, the solution to the COVID crisis should build a better future that as a by-product also treats COVID-19 and prevents future similar events. If the event is not prevented, actions taken should leave us more prepared for anything similar. The actions we take are more than just the interaction, it is all the related ripple effects.

      Sometimes the power of the secondary benefit can change the world.                                                                  –        Colin Vaughan

In other words, we need to aim to  create more good, not just less bad or what I call +3.

Creating more good, not just less bad also means we can be what Rory Vaden calls a time multiplier. This means we do things that create more time. Rory Vaden explains this in his powerful TED Talk “How to Multiply Your Time”(for more see Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…).

Creating a Greener Future for a better tomorrow that also ends COVID means we are time multipliers. Taking this type of actions means we complete tasks in ways that gives us more time in the future because our time what be spent fixing things that we break.

Rhiana Gunn-Wright’s, Director of climate policy at the Roosevelt Institute, (@rgunns) April 15, 2020 New York Times Opinion piece,”Think This Pandemic Is Bad? We Have Another Crisis Coming: addressing climate change is a big-enough idea to revive the economy” explains how we can be time a time multiplier by addressing COVID-19  and Climate Change together. She explains…

Addressing climate change doesn’t have to slow down the economic recovery…it can push it forward. No one knows the depth of the recession, (and)….rebounding from an economic disruption this large requires an equally large spike in demand and production.

Understanding this, she sugggests…

Now is the time to create policies that provide immediate relief to communities, such as federal assistance to transition homes and businesses to renewable energy; give “green” fiscal aid to states; and fuel economic recovery with the creation of federally funded green jobs.

We are already spending the money – lets use it wisely by creating a better, more sustainable world. It would be idiotic to put things back the way they were. Focusing on Climate Change and COVID-19 lets us use the funds in ways that helps us now with jobs and meaning as we builds a better future for all. This can happen by making the solution a…

…climate-focused economic recovery 

As most will agree, we don’t want to just survive to struggle, we want to thrive! The Green New Deal, provides a framework for actions that can provide useful and productive jobs that also help all of earth’s inhabitants live and do better.

Of course, for us to thrive we need to get past this pandemic. However to not just jump from the frying pan to the fryer, we must build for a better tomorrow. A thoughtful COVID response will begin to restore and revitalize our natural world while we overcome this pandemic. A climate focused recovery’s beneficial by-product should also leave us more protected against future problems.

Be strong, be smart and be safe as you work to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone you can safely interact so everyone and everything benefits.

Thank you for reading, please comment below and contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Logic of Ending Pandemic Response Team

Breaking News:

Did Trump Administration Fire the US Pandemic Response Team?

I ran the White House pandemic office. Trump closed it.

According to FactCheck.org® regarding plans to defund public health agencies prior to the coronavirus outbreak, they stipulate (see Fact Check.Org for more detail):

Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts: It’s true that the president’s proposed budgets have included funding cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — but Congress hasn’t enacted those cuts.

In other words, it is not clear what exactly happened.

This is not a democratic or republican issue. Logically, why should we fund an agency and people only to respond to an emergency? From an efficiency standpoint, it would be a waste money. After all, since capable people are working, we could just mount a defense if something happens. Calling on them only when needed keeps them working on other matters until necessary. That is logical.

This the paradigm or current way of thinking for our “acute”, fix it when its broken, health care system. This thinking also dominates much of our lives. Regular Harvard Business Review contributor and author Umair Haque makes this clear in his multiple publications. By default, the fix it when it is broken or pathogenesis, problem origin thinking, has captured our thought and action process. This seems to be how things are done and how the system is designed.

Multiple promising alternatives seem to provide a better way. Umair Haque outlines a better way with better processes and outcomes in his many publications such as, Betterness: Economics for Humans, The Betterness Manifesto – Harvard Business Review, The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business and on Harvard Business Review: The Awesomeness Manifesto.

Based on these works, my work and that of many others, evidence suggests a better way exists. On December 7, 2014 I also suggested a better way when I commented that team to respond to emergencies seemed inefficient in my post, Evolve Maintenance to Improvement to Create +3’s. In this post I noted,

Maintenance means to maintain what we have. Of course that is good and better than making things worse and may be needed when something doesn’t work. From another perspective, it may be valuable to not see this as a problem but as an opportunity. These situations are an opportunity to create better if the focus is on true improvement and the aim is to create a +3 so everyone and everything benefits. Recall +3 relates to Exceeding Expectations.

A way to put this idea into practice is to evolve maintenance programs, groups or people to Continuous Improvers. As I have often discussed, the paneugenesis concept and model’s basic aim is to produce gains and make things better than they could be otherwise.

To put this into practice, I have my students do projects aim is a thriving, better than possible now outcome. I explain, the outcome should mean things are better than they could be even if nothing unforeseen happens. This challenges them because topical issues in their chapters include Disaster Preparedness, Violence Prevention, Smoking Cessation, Physical Activity, Sexual Health, Eating Well, Substance Safety, Injury Prevention, Oral Health and Organizational Wellness. Some topics that are health promoting such as physical activity, eating well and sexual health seem direct, but others related to injury, violence, or cessation are not.

All however pose a challenge because just because we are physically active or eat well – they must develop a process and desired outcome that would document a thriving organization. In our rich society, positive outcomes are expectations. Everybody knows health promoting actions should be done. They therefore have to design a project such that everyone and everything benefits and the by-product is the topic they are assigned.

Great results included bringing construction management, interior design, and public health students along with many others to develop unused spaces in dorms that were on the basement level. Creating a basement area through student driven projects would provide great learning experiences for the students as it developed a network or professionals on campus. This process would create a study area for students not available previously that they could use on a daily basis. Then, as a by-product, these basements provided a place to go if a disaster happens. The process also created networked group of professionals ready and able to respond to a disaster, as a by-product. If in the future a disaster did not occur, these actions have still made it better for all.

Another project proposed transforming unused space on campus into an eSports arena. Computer programmers, interior designers, construction management, marketing students, and business students all could be involved to develop skills while creating a state of the art eSports program. This eSports program however would utilize active programs to increase physical activity as it also made social interaction more likely thus generating physical activity and social interaction as a by-product as it created and built a better campus.

For other topical areas, a caring community’s by-product would be violence prevention, a more walkable campus would increase interaction and physical activity whose by-product would be injury prevention. The ideas are endless, the difference is that the starting point is the idealized outcome of a better community than is possible now, not the problem hoping to be avoided. Thinking of the problem to eliminate may not make things better unless it is the aim.

Other examples created a desirable community through the development of skills necessary to enable a better life with a by-product of less problems and the by-product capability to handle problems that do occur. As noted by Steven Pinker, reason overcomes violence.

The processes that result in “Betterness” and “Awesomeness” as described by Umair Haque is what I call Paneugenesis because it generates comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. In other words, ending the Pandemic Response team makes sense if we use the prevailing style of management. Unfortunately that method focuses on what to after it breaks so it is not as effective as focusing on how to make things better than before by using the Paneugenesis Process whose by-product also leaves us more prepared.

The Netherlands used this approach in the 1950’s after a flooding. Please see the 60 Minutes story and others of how they created a better community that as a by-product, also prevented flooding.

 

Please share your thoughts below about how you will create improvement, not just maintenance. Thank you.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Thank you for reading, please comment below and contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Terrorism Cannot be Prevented Or Eliminated

As we have learned, we cannot kill all the terrorists. Of course when we do, as with Al-Qaeda, a new version of it, as happened with ISIS, evolves. In other words,

Terrorism Cannot be Prevented Or Eliminated

Killings, sanctions, and or isolationism cannot get rid of terrorism any more than angioplasty or stents can get rid of heart disease.  These approaches are as illogical as saying not having an aspirin caused your headache or not having a doctor made you sick. Right now all we are doing is reacting bad situations with techniques to treat the symptoms. For a short time, some times, they end the symptom but then, eventually, usually in short order, the symptoms and more reappear.

The original issue, terrorism, heart disease, or anything we try to prevent, eliminate and or treat, will reappear because the Precursor’s or causes of the issue are still present. The conditions that led to that outcome are still present so it has to reappear. Unless a new reality is created, old symptoms have to reappear.

As we have learned, education and women’s empowerment are the best ways to move society forward, and as a by-product, also effectively end terrorism. This works because education and empowerment creates a new, “Idealized” reality where more is possible than what existed previously. The same is true for health. When people discover a plant strong, usually near vegan eating style, develop stronger relationships with people and the environment, and become physically active, they create a better life. In addition, the secondary by product, as demonstrated by Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn’s study’s have shown, the also reverse heart disease.

This is a backward way of saying working to create something better, a new reality using the Paneungenesis Process is also a more effective way to prevent problems than efforts aimed at only eliminating undesired outcomes. In other words, a focus on Creating More Good, Not Just Less Bad isa  more effective way to have less bad. Which also, most importantly, if done correctly, benefits everyone and everything.

As a reminder,

Practice Paneugenesis using this 4 Step to Process

  1. Operationalize Desired Idealized Outcome
    • Determine an Idealized outcome that is better or improved from what is possible or able to happen now
    • Must incorporate Systems Thinking so the outcome benefits are on multiple levels without any seen harm to other levels
  2. Discover and Develop Necessary Precursors to make Desired Outcome Possible
    • Research to discover what must come before idealized outcome, what must be true for desired outcome to occur
    • Assess current process to discover and learn current processes used or must be created to manifest ideal outcomes
  3. Optimize the Process to Develop Skills and abilities that make Precursors possible(this is Green Grass philosophy, its designing a process to help grass grow)
    • Develop good practices (append existing or start new processes)
    • Forget about what you should avoid
      • ONLY Focus on doing what makes desired things happen
    • Nurture, encourage, engage in and reinforce helpful actions
    • Update unneeded, outdated or inappropriate actions to ones that created idealized vision
  4. Plot Progress to document, demonstrate, and celebrate Improvement
    • Measure and document process progress moving forward toward idealized outcome
      • Note specific ongoing processes completed that cause movement forward
    • Plan and develop next steps to enable continual improvement

We cannot prevent or eliminate terrorism, though we can lessen some fo the things that we don’t want. However, if we want a better tomorrow, it can only happen by moving toward a new reality and this is something new that must be created.

Creating something new and better will necessarily push out what we do not want – it has to or the new reality will not exist (see Green Grass Theory)

I have noted this before in Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant! and to move forward we must Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad. I look forward to hearing how you create a better tomorrow, please share your successes.

As you know, I will work for progress by generating comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, or by practicing paneugenesis.  I look forward to hearing about the progress you help generate.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

If you want to contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Living, Thriving, & Healing…Can it be simple?

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. – Confucius

My career has been focused on working to do what can cause desired outcomes.  Is that the same thing as healing? As an athlete I worked hard to improve my performance.  As a student I studied hard to learn the material and to become educated.  As a professor and research I investigate to discover if doing good, causes good.  As it turns out, it does.  This may seem obvious and straightforward, however many times we do the opposite.  In business we seek to cut costs to improve service – how is that possible?  Quality management demonstrated if we focus on improving quality, a positive chain reaction results from which everyone and everything can benefit.

As noted in August 21, 2019 Post, Top CEO’s Refocus on More than Profits…Hurray!, many are realizing we must seek to profit the system, not just an organization. This was what Deming consistently emphasized and is why those using his quality management methods have been successful. One of Deming’s messages in Profound Knowledge is: Appreciation for a System . This emphasizes that we are an interactive system, rather than a set of discrete and independent departments or processes governed by independent circumstances. When all the connections and interactions are working together, tremendous benefits for everyone and everything can be achieved.

Elisabeth Rosenthal’s book, “American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back” everyone should read. It outlines the opposite of working as a system. Here is a NYT review. It provides an example of how we have made things complicated. What has happened in healthcare has also been cited as what also caused the recent financial crisis. In these situations, rather than work as a system, multiple independent groups attempted to maximize their benefits and profits instead of promoting the system so all could benefit. The result, we all lose.

Her book is eye opening, obvious, evident, disturbing and problematic.  How did this happen when so many are doing what they think is best.  It is an example of what both Deming and Ackoff meant when they said doing the best work is not helpful if you are doing the wrong things.

This story is also outlined in this movie, “Healing Cancer from the Inside Out”. It is available on Amazon and below on YouTube when posted. First is the trailer, then the movie.

Please keep in mind:

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. – Confucius

Rather than work independently, I recommend the practice of paneugenesis. This practice works to generate comprehensive improvements to creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. There is no downside to doing this. Why would we do anything else?

Make it a Great Day, Week, Year and Life!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Email me if you want to discuss: 
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Great Holiday Present for Self

Happy Holidays!  I hope all are making it a great holiday season.  If you are interested in getting yourself a holiday present, I recommend the book I just finished, Recovery Break Through!: Using muscle testing for accelerated recovery and increased performance. I see the Kindle Edition is only $2.99. Either way, I look forward to all of us working together to make 2019 a Great Year.  Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Here is the review I posted on GoodReads:

Great book. Not sure I would have believed most of what was written had I not experienced this helpful and valuable therapy. Myself, my wife and kids all have had therapy and it is as good as advertised. To me this is a much more appropriate way of care, being proactive to be better, or well’R as I promote. Approaches, as originally termed by Amory Lovins in 1975 can take a “soft path” or a “hard path”. Lovins explained the “soft path” would be with the natural rhythms of the world, like with renewable energy, and this would not have many detrimental side effects because of its compatibility with nature and our socio-political values. The “hard path”, on the other hand, for energy requires digging ancient sunshine from fossil fuels and burning it with factories and excavation, which we all know has multiple negative impacts on society. His words are prescient and this idea of a soft or hard path can be applied to most issues. In health the “soft path” is called salutogenesis or a health creation and or a health origins approach and the “hard path” is the pathogenesis approach or disease origins, fix the problem approach. The KORE “soft path” approach is important and valuable because despite doing all everything we can to be well, things still happen or as explained by this book, imbalances, and using KORE helps without causing other damaging problems or side-effects. It would be helpful to get this approach more common in America. I encourage all to learn about Dr. Brazier’s KORE Therapy.

For me this is another way to go on offense to create health promotion gains as I discussed in this interviewAdvancing Wellness Interview about Causing Health, and in this articleArticle: Going on Offense to Enable Health Gains Published.

Please share your thoughts on how you will take action to help create a better tomorrow. Lets make it a Great Holiday Season and Make 2019 Great!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Best Practices are Contraindicated for Improvement

** Valuable input related to statistical theory was provided Allen Scott for this post

The concept of “Best Practices,” is often the well-intentioned aim of many best efforts (see We are Being Ruined by Best Intentions and Best Efforts).  Upon reflection, for several reasons, “Best practices” is contraindicated for any goal that aims to continually improve.

1.  “Best Practices” is a misnomer.  Best practices means this those practices are the standard adn are what should be done.  If not, it suggests operating procedures are being done incorrectly or have there are problematic processes.  This means implementing “Best Practices” will fix problems and get things back to where they should be.  This also means these efforts do not actually “improve.”  Our goals should be to exceed expectations – see video.

2. “Best Practices” implies an end point, that is, once the best practices are adopted – we are done.  Adopting “Best Practices” cannot lead to the best outcomes, over the longer term, because conditions constantly change and these changing conditions means practices must be continually improved.  It is for this reason, practices should be assessed or monitored using Process Behavior Charts** regularly so efforts can be continually improved.  The idea of “Best Practices” runs counter to the idea of continual improvement.

3. Best practices are always contextual, that is they depend on the circumstances.  What is being understood as best practices were best for where they were developed and used but may not apply to the situation where they are being applied.

4. Even more concerning about “Best Practices” is the idea that supposed best practices are being implemented on top of current practices before the existing processes are assessed and understood.  This means efforts could be considered full scale tampering. How could it be known whether these “Best Practices” were not already being used?  Additionally, this type of tampering is problematic because we are adjusting the processes based on the results instead of first understanding the existing process.  Tampering always results in greater variation and worse results, most notably over the longer term.

Instead, study successful practices that led to desired outcomes. In addition, at the same time, it is important to learn more about current processes to see how to improve existing efforts rather than tamper with those processes.  This can be done by conducting research and empowering those involved by getting them real-time information about relevant processes by having them Flow Chart their processes and showing them how to use process behavior charts.  This information help them understand how to improve their processes as it relates to the overall system.  Improving the system will help not only with the project at hand, it will also help the organization become a national model  because it will help the organization more effectively achieve its mission and as a by-product have higher profitability, improved employee morale, higher customer satisfaction, lower wastes and be more likely to create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Many points captured here are expressed in this updated version of the video about how to Exceed Expectations.  Enjoy.

5. If needed, here is more information about the theory of variation (statistical theory):

**Walter Shewhart discovered two causes of variation in any process that changes over time:

 • Common causes — causes that are inherent in a system (process or product) over time, affect everyone working in the system and affect all outcomes of the system. 

• Special causes — causes that are not always part of a system (process or product) or do not affect everyone, but arise because of specific circumstances.

If only common causes of variation are present, the system is stable or predictable, it has an identity, and prediction of future performance is possible, with a high degree of belief.  When Special or assignable causes are present, this makes the system unstable and unpredictable.  This means we will not be able to accurately predict future performance of the system.

Shewhart created a tool most recently called the Process Behavior Chart to separate the two sources of variation and guide the action of management. Understanding the source of variation directs action by management. If this theory of variation is not understood, most attempts at improvement (in stable systems) will fail and many will make things worse. W. Edwards Deming called these actions without knowledge “tampering.” Applied, Shewhart theory will help us to realize no amount of care, skill, and hard work  will overcome fundamental flaws in our system. If we keep doing what we are doing, we will keep getting about what we are getting. Feedback from current and especially past successes and failures will also be critical information for systemic change. The problems cannot be understood or evaluated without the aid of statistical theory and the effects of any attempt at improvement cannot be evaluated without statistical methods. 

I look forward to hearing about how you continually improve your processes so you are able to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Help make it a Great Week for everyone and everything!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

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Healthy Fast Food? Will it work?

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Will this be a trend?  Amy’s Drive Thru is offering local sourced healthy, organic fast food at a restaurant.  Many of you have probably already seen her products at your local grocer.  Here is the menu of the restaurant.  Below is the FastCompany article about this new restaurant.

If you have been to this restaurant or not, please share your thoughts about the experience and or idea.

America’s First Meat-Free Fast-Food Restaurant Is Getting Ready To Expand

Launched two years ago in a small town in Northern California, Amy’s Drive Thru has been a runaway success–much to the surprise of the owners, who now hope to take it nationwide.

BY EILLIE ANZILOTTI5 MINUTE READ

Off Exit 484A on 101 North through Rohnert Park, California, you’ll find the usual roadside offerings: There’s a Burger King and a Taco Bell, and marginally more exciting, there’s a Chick-fil-A and an In-N-Out Burger. But right off the road that bisects the interstate, you’ll find a fast-food restaurant that’s like the others only in format. Amy’s Drive Thru is America’s first vegetarian, organic, gluten-free-optional fast-food restaurant, and much to the surprise of the owners, it’s doing more than holding its own against its greasy competitors in the Rohnert Park off-ramp complex.

Business has been so booming at Amy’s Drive Thru in its two years of operation that it’s beginning a franchise. A new location is slated to take over an abandoned Denny’s further south off the 101 in Corte Madera in 2018, with an eye to five more Northern California locations soon to follow. The ultimate goal, director of operations Paul Schiefer tells Fast Company, is to open Amy’s Drive Thrus all across the country.

[Photo: courtesy Amy’s Drive Thru]

A nationwide franchise of Amy’s outposts was far from inevitable when the company first began to mull the idea of a drive-through location a few years ago. For 29 years, the Petaluma, California-based Amy’s Kitchen has gained a cult following as a purveyor of family-style, vegetarian frozen meals, from macaroni and cheese to burritos, all handmade fresh in three operating facilities across California, Oregon, and Idaho, and shipped nationwide. The ingredients are sourced locally and organically, whenever possible, and the recipes are not put through the usual taste-test-and-tweak ringer; instead, they’re often sourced from employee’s family recipe books, and given a green light if a handful of Amy’s staff agrees that it tastes good. “There’s something about all culture’s home-cooked food that really speaks to everyone,” Amy’s food researcher Fred Scarpulla Jr., who started at the company in 1996, tells Fast Company. The go-with-your-gut, family-centric approach, Scarpulla says, makes Amy’s unique, but translating that ethos into a fast-food joint able to compete with the mass-produced likes of Burger King posed a challenge.The things that make franchises like Burger King and McDonald’s so ubiquitous are low costs and efficiency. Look at a menu in one of those restaurants, and you won’t see a lot of specialization: Sure, there’s a gluten-free option, but it’s a burger wrapped in a lettuce leaf, not in a gluten-free bun. And good luck finding anything vegetarian or vegan. They know their market, and they mass-produce to meet it accordingly, driving down costs in the process.

[Photo: courtesy Amy’s Drive Thru]

Amy’s, Scarpulla says, has never been about driving down costs, or ignoring more niche markets–instead, it’s prioritizing sustainability and quality as its core values. The drive-through is powered by solar panels, and the tableware is recyclable. Using mostly organic and local produce for ingredients is more expensive, but it’s what customers expect from the company, and while Scarpulla admits that Amy’s makes little to no profit on its gluten-free options like pizzas, the owners, he adds, “have always felt that there’s a service piece to our business, and that’s to serve people who don’t have other options.”Instead of a swift-moving, utilitarian kitchen, the culinary operation at Amy’s Drive Thru is necessarily divided into thirds, with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options all prepared separately so as not to cross-contaminate. Whereas a standard fast-food restaurant has around 15 employees per outpost, Amy’s Drive Thru employs over 90 because it takes many more people to prepare the food. Even so, all are paid at above minimum wage, and with full benefits. And with a single-patty veggie cheeseburger clocking in at $3.99, just around a dollar more than the McDonald’s offering, Amy’s is not exactly pitching itself to a higher tax bracket.

[Photo: courtesy Amy’s Drive Thru]

With all those considerations–wanting to keep prices low, hold onto their values, and not cut production quality or staff–Amy’s Drive Thru, at the beginning, was just hoping to stay afloat and break even. “There were a number of us at the company who were involved in the planning, and before we opened the first location, we threw around a couple revenue numbers that we would have considered ‘a success,’” Scarpulla says. Though Amy’s does not release financials, Scarpulla says the company doubled or tripled those numbers in the first year alone, and have been breezing past them since. “It’s just been ridiculous for us,” he says.

When Scarpulla started at the company in 1996, this would not have been the case. But in recent years, he says, he and the staff at Amy’s have noticed an uptick in interest around plant-based foods, and an increased awareness of the harm meat does to the body and to the planet. While Amy’s has emphasized the home-cooked, family-style nature of its recipes over the fact that they are all vegetarian or vegan, Scarpulla has found that people lately have more naturally gravitated toward the health aspect of its offerings–a trend that has certainly carried through in the success of the drive thru; other healthy fast-casual ventures, like Everytable in Los Angeles, and this salad-based drive through in Arizona, have also benefited.

[Photo: courtesy Amy’s Drive Thru]

A true cross-country empire of Amy’s locations is still far off, but Scarpulla is optimistic that the company can make it happen. The company wants to expand slowly, to ensure that they can partner with local farmers and producers around each location (Scarpulla is particularly excited about indoor growing ventures for sourcing organic leafy greens), and to understand where the drive-throughs could have the greatest effect in breaking up health-food deserts. But the fact that the company is beginning to plan for this kind of expansion, he adds, is symbolic in and of itself. Drive-throughs are some of the most stereotypically American places to consume food, and right now, “when you think about drive-throughs, it’s all so focused on industrial meat, and one quick look at that industry is enough to tell you that it’s pretty nasty,” Scarpulla says. What if quality, local, meat-free fast-food could come to be seen as just as all-American as a Big Mac?

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