Make Work/Life Balance a Benefit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please share how you create work/life benefit.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Bringing it All Together is Progress

Last week in my post, Being Paid in Multiple Ways, and in many others I have emphasized how quality, environmentalism and generating health can generate comprehensive benefits from which everyone and everything can benefit. Evidence suggests these methods that bring all these benefits together are more efficient, less expensive, impact more people in a positive way and are better for the environment, which of course helps everyone and everything.

In other words, a lot of my posts are what Rory Vaden called “Time Multipliers” (see Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…) because over time, they give you more time to do what you want to do. It reminded me of how Steve Jobs explained the computer was a bicycle for the mind because it helped you do things better and faster. Steve explains this concept here and below.

All this came to mind as I was listening to Amber McReynolds TED talk, “An election system that puts voters (not politicians) first”. She describes a voting system that brought everything together and showed how it helps everyone learn more, do more and be more involved. The voting system she describes can help our government be a bicycle for society. Better voting from more educated citizens enables a better system that will function more efficiently. I strongly encourage you to listen to Amber’s talk – it is very powerful and empowering.

I also realized this post is overdue, especially after learning more about the hidden massacres like the described in this NYTImes Daily Episode, The Burning of Black Tulsa. If we work together, many answers will evolve that can help everyone and everything make progress. As we all know, voting is a current issue and Biden puts Harris in charge of efforts to protect voting rights. If we use Amber McReynolds ideas, we can not just protect voting rights, we can improve the voting system.

Please share how you will help empower and enable yourself and others to be the best version of themselves so you can feel the glow and pride for acting in selfish, selfless, synergistic ways. I believe this this was captured well by Simon Sinek and Time Shriver podcast in Episode 34: Learning to Love with Tim Shriver. Though they talk about problems, it seemed they were promoting us to help others more and to practice paneugenesis by doing selfish, selfless, synergistic actions.

My hypothesis, that has been supported by a lot of evidence, is we can generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic acts that benefit everyone and everything. What do you think?

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

NYC’s Selfless, Selfless, Synergy

This post is of the the review I created for New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and Transformation by Thomas Dyja. I am also posting it here because from my reading and the data provided in this book, it suggests NYC practices paneugenesis. The book documents how NYC generates comprehensive improvements and how these improvements were caused to happen. Specifically, the book outlines how these improvements became more likely from fan environmental design to create pervasive reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions, so everyone and everything benefits. While this was the aim of must, it was interesting to learn about the interactive process required to make it work. Overall it is a great read and I encourage you to read his book. It documents how the findings of Glaeser play out in life (see Updated Review of Edward Glaeser’s Triumph of the City).

Here is the review I posted on Google Books and in Goodreads:

New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and Transformation by Thomas Dyja ©2021 provides a wonderful history of New York City’s roller coast ride it has taken over the last 40 Years. The book traces how the city evolved and or receded and how those changes related to who was mayor. The book takes off after Beame was mayor then Ed Koch, David Dinkins, Rudy Guiliani, Michael Bloomberg and finally the current mayor, Bill de Blasio. It was interesting to see how each mayor handled the diversity and needs of the city and how each responded to crises such as market crashes, police abuse of citizens, and 9-11. Overall, from my reading, the changes that worked supported Ed Glaeser’s research outlined in his research and book, “Triumph of the City: How our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier”. As Dyja documents, people in NYC were richer, healthier and happier in large part because they lived in NYC. Glaeser also would support that NYC was greener and smarter due to the high density and continuous interactions of people in NYC.

I encourage you to read the many interesting parts of this book. I took special note of the value of having a clean city with good services, shared public spaces, good education and affordable housing. Time and again, those solutions are what appeared to make NYC a better place to live and work or everyone. He also continually noted the problem of police abuse. Policing was vital to helping NYC go from a very dangerous place to being a place that was very safe to live. He suggested, as is true throughout our country, a better solution must be found to maintain a low crime rate. His recommendations for the continued re-imagination of NYC after COVID is the development of more community, backyard and roof gardens, especially in underserved areas, more community functions that facilitate interactions and healthy foods, and police reform. He also suggested more support for transit, transportation and parks to help people feel good about the city. Overall, from my reading it seems he is suggesting the continued development of a built environment that Nudges people toward selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. We need cities that help people be better versions of themselves and this book explains how that is possible.

In other words, practicing paneugenesis not only helps you, it can help a city thrive and that city can help a state, country and world improve, It is All about the Ripple… or how interactions impact others and the impact of those interactions. From reading this book, I thought of ways I can be a better citizen in my city and be more involved. If you read it and you take action in your city, please share how you have helped your city generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergsitic interactions that carry the potential to ripple out 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.

Progress, Not Problem Focus Essential

As I listened to the April 30th 2021 Friday Morning, NYT Daily Podcast,”Odessa, Part 4: Wellness Check“, I was stunned at their focus and how it seemed to relate to life. At the end of April 2021 there is hope that we are coming out of the pandemic. This 4 part NYT Daily Podcast has described the experience of a High School in Odessa Texas during the last half of 2020 as they attempted to have in person classes during the pandemic.

I enjoyed the podcasts focus on the progress they made to have school despite difficult times. I was then confused when their ending question was, “What is the permanent damage that has been done?”. They also stated they were asking this question about the impact on these 17 year old students.

I stopped walking as I was listening because I realized it related to me and my story. At 17 years of age I was the passenger of a car that collided head on with another. Despite difficult times because of the accident, I carried on. What was my option? In my incident, the driver and the other 2 passengers were killed and I suffered a severe head trauma that left me comatose. The Odessa podcast shocked me because I wondered why they were asking about the permanent damage being done instead of how and why some did well and how how they can do better.

The same question was asked in an April 8, 2021 NYT article, “Does It Hurt Children to Measure Pandemic Learning Loss?” This article questions if we are stigmatizing a generation. I encourage you to read this linked article and share your thoughts.

If you are interested, more about my accident and its impact on me, it is described in the linked Positive Health tab here and at the top of the page. The link opens to the essay: The Power of Positive Health: Why I am so passionate about Wellness.

In my recovery, I also wondered, “What is the permanent damage done?” I am sure there is some, however it it is not where I focus. I focused then and still do, on discovering how I could make progress. This focus was possible because of the significant positive help from family and friends, most especially my parents. Can you have this type of influence on your family friends and or organizations.

A progress, not problem focus is helpful because my success, and the triumphs of anyone, come about by finding ways to do better or more good. Progress cannot develop evolve or happen, unless by accident, by only learning how to experience less bad. Bad or difficult things will happen, they are inevitable, however we will only be capable of overcoming those difficulties if we have a capacity that enables us to adapt and “carry on” in a better way. Searching for permanent damage will not enable us to do better or have more capacity. To move forward we must develop our capacities and enhance our collaborations. It is also valuable to remember the self-worth reinforcing feelings accomplishment generates, especially through trying experiences, by focusing on progress, not problems.

As noted often on this blog, research from my work and that of many scientists has documented how it is more effective and powerful to generate more good, or comprehensive improvements, than it is to diminish bad. Even though less bad may not be the focus, it is often the complementary side effect. For instance higher quality products and services generated by quality management methods also result less bad in the form of in lower costs and less waste.

The most notable proponent and promoter of quality management methods can be seen from the work of world changing quality management Dr. W. Edwards Deming. His promoted quality methods provides a processes to generate more good and as a secondary benefit, less bad. His quality management methods are relevant and useful everywhere because as he stated, by doing things this way, “everyone wins”. I prefer everyone benefits because if someone wins, it suggests there are also losers. Quality management methods like paneugenesis helps everyone and everything benefit. If it does not, it is not being done correctly.

Dr. Deming’s work is certainly foundational to what I do. A foundational principle of quality management is continual process improvement. I have translated these quality management techniques to wellness and lifestyle process improvement. My work has also shown the most effective way to generate more good and practice paneugenesis is to work toward creating pervasive reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Shakespeare provides another related perspective when he explains that there’s not good and bad, it is just what we label it. For this situation, we should choose progress, not problems

The labeling perspective is also shared by Ben Saunders who trekked the South Pole. At the end of his Ted Talk, “To the South Pole and Back – the hardest 105 days of my life”, he suggests we focus on progress

“Happiness is not about finish lines…If we can’t feel content here, today, now, on our journeys, amidst the mess and the striving that we all inhabit, the open loops, the half finished to-do lists, the could-do-better-next-times, then we might never feel it.”

Ben Saunders

If we truly want to make progress and overcome problems as necessary side effect, our focus has to be on progress, not just problems. Please share how you focus on progress and how this has helped. Thank you for all you do to help all of us make progress!

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

A Way to Practice Paneugenesis

Please know this is not an advertisement and I do not receive and compensation for any of my recommendations. I suggest things that work for me. I let you know about them because they may also be good for you and if more of us use these ideas, we all benefit.

This suggestions relates to something my girls got my wife as a present. Soyabella® Automatic Nut & Seed Milk Maker

Like many people, we enjoy plant based milks. We were buying cartons quite often. We bought this milk maker and a bag of soybeans in December and have not had to buy another carton of milk, although our supply of beans is starting to get low. The milk is good, it is easy to make, it saves money and benefits the planet. We also have used it to grind coffee beans and this enables us to enjoy good coffee. We also know our milk and coffee have no additives.

The soyabella helps us practice paneugenesis because I benefit with convenient milk and coffee at a lower price. I save time because I take less trips to the store to buy milk. It is also helps me be selfless because we don’t use as much material to package the milk and less trucks have to burn gas to drop off the milk at the store. This also means we are able to contribute to a healthier planet which can benefit everyone and everything.

Some may complain it means less jobs, however in my view this is required and forces us to redesign reality. This will require us to evolve toward a better and more sustainable way to live on this planet. Our goal has to be to find ways to prosper and work that promote and enable pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

We must be creative and design idealized outcomes so everyone and everything benefits. As Simon Sinek recently posted:

Intelligence uses what is known to solve problems. Creativity uses what is unknown to discover possibilities.

If you have one or decide to get a soyabella, please share your experience. Also please help us learn ways you have learned to practice paneugenesis by engaging in 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.

Stop the Death of Expertise

I recently read Tom Nichols The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters. He had originally written this essay, also titled “The Death of Expertise”, as a precursor to the book. If you find the essay interesting, which I did, I recommend you read the book.

He also documents the importance of trusting others. Specialization is good, we get higher quality and it means we do not need to know everything, which we couldn’t anyway. This also means we need to have trust. Even better, we can be part of the solution when we become experts in our own domain. Experts empower selfish, selfless, synergistic actions. #SelfishSelflessSynergy

I liked the final points in his essay about things to think about with regard to interactions with experts. His book does a great job explaining and describing all these points. He writes:

“Here, presented without modesty or political sensitivity, are some things to think about when engaging with experts in their area of specialization.

Tom Nichols, Death of Expertise

We can all stipulate: the expert isn’t always right.

But an expert is far more likely to be right than you are. On a question of factual interpretation or evaluation, it shouldn’t engender insecurity or anxiety to think that an expert’s view is likely to be better-informed than yours. (Because, likely, it is.)

Experts come in many flavors. Education enables it, but practitioners in a field acquire expertise through experience; usually the combination of the two is the mark of a true expert in a field. But if you have neither education nor experience, you might want to consider exactly what it is you’re bringing to the argument.

In any discussion, you have a positive obligation to learn at least enough to make the conversation possible. The University of Google doesn’t count. Remember: having a strong opinion about something isn’t the same as knowing something.

And yes, your political opinions have value. Of course they do: you’re a member of a democracy and what you want is as important as what any other voter wants. As a layman, however, your political analysis, has far less value, and probably isn’t — indeed, almost certainly isn’t — as good as you think it is.”

I also provided the review below on GoodReads.com and Google Books to encourage more to read this important book:

Death of Expertise is a Great book. There are so many valuable insights, I strongly encourage you to read the book. I can only highlight a few I thought were of value.

He explains, expertise is not dead but it and respect for it is on life support. The main idea I got from the book was how people are mixing up the fact that everybody’s vote counts the same in this country with the idea that our opinions are of equal value. As he points out, in clear detail, experts are of great value, importance and service to society. They help us make sense of the flood of information available. For example, he appreciates dentists because he knows even on a dentists worst day and on his best, his ability to dentistry would be wholly lacking despite what he could read on the internet.

Yes everybody can have an opinion, but educated opinions from schooling and experience are of significantly greater value and it has been what has made our lives possible. It is the ability of people to become experts at different functions that allows us to have a higher quality of life. Nobody can do everything well. Yes we could all probably build our own houses as they did in days past, but then the quality of our houses would be severely lacking for most who not have the requisite expertise.

He also suggests that much loss of respect for expertise seems to be a way to protect fragile egos. As he notes, everything is not a matter of opinion, some things are right and wrong. Yes, sometimes experts are wrong, but is rare and that is why it is news. We all must understand we can be wrong. Some of this problem has been fed by the media that now focuses more on entertaining than on informing and fact-checking. Of course the internet is a huge source of problems because all the information appears to be of equal value despite about 90% of the information on the internet being incorrect. Deciphering what is right and what is wrong is difficult for a layperson. For example, he notes the public claims they have been misled to which experts and policy makers respond, “how would you know?”

This relates to his discussion of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. This effect helps us understand why the least informed are the most confident in opinions. They are confident, though wrong, because they do not have the understanding to know there information is insufficient. I am sure if you are reading this blog, you know how much you do not know, but it is still easy for all of us to point out mistakes and to believe we have a more thorough understanding than we do. That is the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

Predictions by experts are hard because science helps explain and understand more than predict. It is also hard to predict because it is impossible to account for all possible intervening factors. Predictions by experts, however, are almost always much better than by those less informed. Of course there are time when uninformed get it right, but it is rare. The difference in how often experts or laypersons are right would dramatically impact our lives and we are better because we more often rely on experts.

Death of Expertise in Higher Education
He also provides a great chapter about Higher Education. As a professor I especially appreciated this information. He suggests it is important to universities to focus on helping students become more self-reliant and resist knowledge being viewed as a consumer good for students purchase. As he points out in one example, it is easier for students to email the professor with a question than to find the answer themselves. Students often think of emailing a professor like communicating with a customer service department, this however does not help students become more self-reliant. There are also more difficulties because if the professor pushes students to do their own work, they may come back with a “customer is always right” retort, putting higher education in a precarious position.

To me this is one reason society should help support higher education more so students are not forced to go into debt to get a university education. Higher education should be seen more as a privilege and societal obligation to improve. He was concerned that students are being taught to be picky consumers rather than critical thinkers. He is also concerned that students are learning that feelings matter more than rationality and facts because often emotion trumps everything else.

Throughout the book, he also emphasized that facts, which can be obtained on the internet, is not the same as knowledge or ability. I teach an Applied Principles class and students are always amazed how difficult it is to apply what seems like common sense information.

In his discussion of “Wisdom of Crowds” he acknowledges that the average of many guesses, like for the weight of a pig, will be very accurate. This suggests crowds can have wisdom but it does not mean all in the crowd are wise. While this suggests the Wisdom of Crowds is valuable, it does not mean crowds should run society. A wisdom of crowds does not translate well into creating a coherent policy. Small groups of experts are needed for that because they are needed to aggregate the publics irresolvable demands.

As I noted, there is so much good in this book, I could only skim the surface of what I found interesting and of value. I strongly recommend you read it. If you want a sampling, you can read the short essay, “Death of Expertise” he wrote and suggested inspired him to write the book. Enjoy…

I hope this inspires you to build on your expertise and to value and use that of others. Developing expertise is a way to practice paneugenesis because it will help generate comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfish, synergistic interactions so everyone and eveything benefits. Thank you for helping everyone and everything benefit. Please share your efforts so we can learn from your selfish, selfless, synergistic actions. Thank you.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Cities Done Right Generate Comprehensive Improvements

Edward Glaeser’s, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier ©2011 has been enlightening. Most importantly he emphasizes how cities make people smarter when they interact with more smart people because it helps them connect and create. He also clarifies that it is people who make cities great, not things. Smart, idealistic, driven people make cities better, not great buildings.

Cities that spend money on buildings rather than helping people improve and have a better life was referred to as the “Edifice Error”. The Edifice Error is the belief that abundant new buildings lead to urban success. Good people are a leading indicator and great buildings become are a lag indicator. (see Money Is a Lagging Not a Leading Indicator) He documents the value of education and efforts that bring people together to help them develop skills abilities and common values citing these as the important precursors that enable cities to be great. As he documents in his TED Talk, “It’s Time to Embrace Our Cities”, income levels rise as population density increases. He also documents the more educated the population, the better that city does.

In other words, generating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless interactions such as education generates synergistic benefits when people converge and interact to make things better. Of course the pandemic makes face to face meetings difficult, however the technology enabling virtual communications are powerful and helpful. Another interesting point he discusses is the presence of poor people. He clearly demonstrates the obvious, cities do not make people poor, poor people come to cities for the potential to improve their lives. If people stay poor in a city, then things must be done to enable connection and contribution to improve. He also documents the value of diverse businesses in a city to provide the ability to ride difficult times for any organization.

I am not finished with the book, however I am amazed to see the same repeated themes as I have attempted to capture with the Paneugenesis Process to generate comprehensive improvements. From my understanding, people go to a city when they see and dream of a better future, or can “Operationalize an Idealized Outcome”. How good is the city doing at helping it citizens succeed? Cities help its citizens succeed by having having the “Precursors” of a good infrastructure and a good education system to build better people. Of course all this can only be possible if they “Optimize the Process” so they can create beneficial interactions. How well has the city done in making movement and interactions likely? This also means cities must continue to document or “Plot Progress” as they create the institutions and systems that make better possible. If progress is not happening, the process must be adapted, adopted and improved. This is another example of using Deming’s Plan-Do-Study-Act process to generate a better process. All this must be incorporated as we attempt to generate comprehensive improvements with the Paneugenesis Process.

Practice Paneugenesis using this 4 Step to Process

  1. Operationalize a Desired Idealized Outcome – Imagine and then clearly articulate the future you want that is not possible now
  2. Develop Necessary Precursors to make Desired Outcome Possible – Generate and bring into existence those things that will be necessary to make the idealized outcomes possible that do not exist now
  3. Optimize the Process to Develop Skills and abilities that  Precursors possible – Continually find out what you must start doing, working with, thinking about and making possible that will in time ripple out to make that new idealized outcome a future possibility
  4. Plot Progress to document, demonstrate, and celebrate Improvement – Continually take note of progress and then build upon that success to make it even better

To me Glaeser’s work documents that improved quality of life can be created through effort toward an envisioned better future. Please share how you can or are using a similar process to generate comprehensive improvements. Please let us know how we can work with you to to generate 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 contact me: Email: BeWellr@gmail.com