Chaos, Meaninglessness, Disorientation

The question of what our lives mean causes us all to pause. In my continuing quest to understand, besides my work and talking with colleagues, I read Chaos: Making a New Science ©2008 by James Gleick.

by James Gleick

I thought understanding more about Chaos would help because it espouses to make universal laws about complex behavior. It also helped me understand that many things we take as fact, such as when the comet will next pass or the when the next eclipse will occur, is only a prediction, not statements of fact. It also explained, research scientist are not innovators but problem solvers under NORMAL conditions. These solutions do not account for outcomes when things are not as expected.

Chaos is a new way of seeing that requires one to renounce much of the past. This was refreshing, since many things we used to believe were wrong. (See Undoing Project book by Michael Lewis and related posts Undoing Needed because Mental Illusions Impact Us, More Undoing: A Beneficial Drug Policy, To Improve: “Undoing” Needed to Create Better!) Overall, Chaos is in search for understanding deterministic disorder. Yes, the whole idea is disorienting.

Chaos is about dynamical or changing nonlinear systems which are counterintuitive. It is said to have developed because more and more scientists felt reductionism, which is the compartmentalization of science, or the studying of isolated parts rather than the whole, was an impediment to their work.

The book explains that work in chaos has changed our view. While we had thought simple systems behave in simple ways, and complex behavior implied complex causes; now scientists know simple systems give rise to complex behavior and complex systems give rise to simple behavior. Thus counterintuitive. They also explain, “Life sucks order our of a sea of disorder”. In other words, we make life work by causing order, for the short term. Reading this Chaos book answered many questions, however, like when I got my PhD, it ended up raising many more questions then it answered.

We all want life to mean something, however that depends on the time and scale we consider. If consideration is for 1 day or 100,000 years, that means our actions have meaning or they do not. This conversation about meaning and life is one I have had with many colleagues I respect, such as Don Ardell. In our discussion of his new proposed Law of Wellness, he shared this good 5 minute presentation he did for Ignite Tampa 2015 about Life, Meaning and Meaninglessness:

While I agree with all he says, I thought the emphasis should be adjusted toward what we can do to make meaning and purpose now, in the short term to give our lives direction and purpose. Recently I also watched/listened to a TED conversation with astrophysicist Katie Mack about the origins of the universe that turned out to be relevant but caused even more disorientation. If you are interested, you can see/listen to it at TED: The Mind-Bending Reality of the Universe.

She also shared a poem she wrote in 2019, Disorientation: A Science Poem by Katie Mack. I found this counterintuitive stanza relevant:

…I want you to believe that the universe is a vast, random, uncaring place, in which our species, our world, has absolutely no significance. And I want you to believe that the only response is to make our own beauty and meaning and to share it while we can…

Katie Mack

I personally want to have a positive impact on the world, which can be seen as selfless. However I want to do that so I can feel good about myself, which is selfish. I also aim to create positive pervasive and reciprocal interactions so they are synergistic.

My reasoning suggests to me, we should all attempt to engage in Selfish, Selfless, Synergistic interactions (#SelfishSelflessSynergy) to generate comprehensive improvements that benefit everyone and everything. What do you think? Please share…

PS – I also came across this note by 9/11/2021 note by Seth Godin that I think captures these ideals:

Seth’s Blog: From Seth Godin

We are not astronomers

Unlike most of the sciences, astronomy is always done at a distance. You can see the stars, but you can’t do anything about them. Sometimes the media would like us to believe that we’re all astronomers, simply passive witnesses in a world out of our control. Sometimes the media would like us to believe that we’re all astronomers, simply passive witnesses in a world out of our control. But the world is never out of our influence. Remembrance, connection, possibility, invention, empathy, insight, correction, care and justice are all up to us. We not only observe, but we make changes happen. Our participation (or apathy) leads to a different future. The ocean is made of drops. And the drops are up to us. Who else is going to care enough to make an impact?

SEPTEMBER 11, 2021

Please share your thoughts, and most importantly, please engage in #SelfishSelfessSynergistic interactions so everyone and everything 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

Strategic Alliances are Powerful

According to Suzanne Simard’s excellent 2021 book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest,that reviews her powerful, replicated, scientifically valid research, “Diversity matters and everything in the universe is connected.” Throughout her book she explains how forests generate magic through synergy. As she points out, we have missed the power of synergy and mistakenly simplified societies and ecosystems because our “Reductionist science” has been looking at the individual parts rather than the whole.

From my reading, Dr. Simard is saying that nature innately practices paneugenesis, or generates all good, by being reciprocal and helping all be better. Although not a perfect analogy, I realized something I teach, strategic alliances, may be even more powerful than I had thought. Even though I stress the importance of building them and keeping them as working professionals, I had no idea that they have their bases in evolution and ecology. I had stressed that strategic alliances were great because they not only help involved parties, now I know that when they are done right, they have even more powerful synergistic benefits than I had realized.

Strategic Alliances help generate WIN-WIN-WIN outcomes. Strategic Alliances can be defined as:

An agreement between two or more individuals or entities stating that the involved parties will act in a certain way in order to achieve a common goal. Strategic alliances usually make sense when the parties involved have complementary strengths. 

What I found most fascinating was how she was able to show us that forests are like sentient beings because trees, animals and even fungi perceive, relate and communicate. She also showed us how forests cooperate, make decisions and remember which demonstrates wisdom and intelligence.

Over eons, forests built and continue to build multiple reciprocal pervasive synergistic alliances with other trees, plants, animals using mycorrhizal fungus networks so all are better. I strongly encourage you to watch her TED talk, “Natures Internet: How Trees Talk to Each Other ins a Healthy Forest“. It provides a good summary of her book, but it is important to also read her book, “Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest“.

As Jane Benyus made clear in Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, we need to learn from natures 3.8 billion years of experience. (see Parallel NOT Linear Means Create Positive AND Prevent Negative and Biomimicry 3.8). Dr. SImard demonstrates many of natures genius in her work. In my simplistic ways, I have been trying to put these ideas into action with paneugenesis or actions that create all good. To learn more, please review many of my posts that include ideas of how to build synergistic relationships with people, practices, nature and organizations.

Dr. Simard optimistically documented how we can generate more good by helping nature do what it will do automatically. I encourage you to build strategic alliances with everyone and everything because as Dr. Simard’s work has demonstrated, like the synergistic relationships in nature, together we can generate MUCH more good, not just less bad. Please share how you have built and are building strategic alliances to generate more good!

On September 5, 2021, the Guardian Posted this supportive editorial, acknowledging we are all connected:

When Trees are at Risk, so are We

Book by Jason Gruhl

I am currently reading about Chaos Theory and in my reading they cite this about Gaia Hypothesis and something I hope to explore soon in future posts, please share if you have any insight:

James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis proponents of the Gaia Hypothesis in which the conditions necessary for life are created and maintained by life itself in a self-sustaining process of dynamical feedback

James Lovelock and Lynn Margolis

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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

National Parks: Great Tax$ Use!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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

Trees & Forests Can Help Us!?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please enjoy this short introductory video by Dr. Simard:

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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

Method to Improve Judgements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

The Incredible, Edible Straw

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

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

JIM LEAPECo-director, Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions

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

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

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

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

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

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

More Trees, More Benefits

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

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

Plant trees, generate oxygen

As reported in Scientific American,

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

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

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

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

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.

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