Need to Bring the Cradle Home

I have written about the “Cradle to Cradle” rather than “Cradle to Grave” care discussed by McDonough and Braungart in Cradle to Cradle and Upcycle. In their books, they discuss the life cycle of products from the beginning, Cradle, until they are not used anymore and disposed of, Grave. Their concept was to use products until the end of their useful life. When products cannot be used anymore, the products should be “upcycled”, not trashed, so the materials from the product could be used again. See Concept: Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad.

Overall they are referring to the organizations that extract material, then manufacture a product to sell which eventually ends up as waste. Their concept was for organizations to have responsibility for the products and all that it took to make them until the end. The end, however, should be an “upcycle” where it is used for a greater purpose or at least where it is used as recycled material for new products so more virgin material does not get extracted. While I understood this intellectually, I guess I did not understand what it meant until I was picking up garbage on our beautiful Greenways in Greenville NC.

While picking up garbage on the Greenway I realized there was no way to trace back these waste materials. Of course, many would suggest we should just more severely restrict people from dumping their garbage. That solution, however, is unlikely to work. Penalizing people is a day late and a dollar short. After all, nobody likes being told what to do to cause less bad, they want to be responsible for more good.

Hard to See Financial Benefits

At first glance, the benefits of being responsible for products from cradle to grave are hard to see. These benefits are what Kahneman & Tversky would call mental illusions. In reality, with effort, having organizations be responsible for their products through their lifecycle can be financially beneficial for them as it also benefits society, as a by-product. In a Karma-like fashion, organizations that do good for society get more business due to the good feelings generated by their efforts. This is true and has been documented by Interface, Inc., a modular carpet company (see We Must Make It Better – Saving the Planet not Enough!)

Action Needed

Right now we only have cradle-to-grave legislation for hazardous materials. Why don’t we do it for all materials? People are supposed to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, and since corporations are considered people, they should be held to the same standard. Upon reflection, however, this would not be a problem but a benefit. Being a better steward of their business and the materials used would yield less expensive operations, better processes, better use of resources, and a cleaner world.

In other words, seeing all the garbage in greenways showed me what happens to the cradle if it is not brought home. (ok, not a perfect analogy) I know there is more to be done – such as advocating for new laws. However, moving toward a default standard that helps organizations be responsible for their goods from cradle to grave or ideally cradle to cradle, we could begin to generate comprehensive improvements. This means we should push for legislation, laws, studies, and more that document the benefits to organizations, people, environments, and more when actions upcycle used goods, not just cause less waste.

In other words, “nudging” organizations, with better regulations, to be more responsible for their products so they do not become garbage like I saw on the greenways could help generate comprehensive improvements. These new laws would push organizations to work like Interface, Inc who has been able to create net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, and profitable synergistic processes from which everyone and everything would benefit.

Please share information about other organizations who have learned how to bring the cradle home by following a path to generate more good and how it has made them more profitable and a better contributing member of society. I look forward to hearing from you.

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Great New Years Message!

Vic Strecher who wrote, “Life on Purpose” and “On Purpose” and also regularly publishes Purposeful tips. For 2023 he sent a great New Years’ Message. I want to promote his message about taking action to make good things happen.

His Recommendation – frame messages as something positive to do, not something to avoid or something you will not do. Not taking action does not make good things happen, it may only possibly stop bad things from happening. Our life is about what we do because doing good things can “crowd out” bad things as noted in previous posts,

For the New Year 2023, focus on what you will do not what you will avoid. My focus is on creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Doing this is the best way I know to generate comprehensive improvements. Please share how you make 2023 and beyond even better.

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Feature positive is real

Aloha from Hawaii. An interesting fact I learned is that it is pronounced HaVaii, not HaWaii. The V sound should be used when a W is in the middle of a word. The W does have the W sound if the W is at the beginning or end of a word like for Waikiki beach.

Aloha Stock Photos, Royalty Free Aloha Images | Depositphotos

Our visit to Hawaii also made me think more about a post I had started that was about the Feature Positive Effect. The Feature Positive Effect describes how we are more aware of and cognizant of things that are present rather than items that are absent. In Hawaii, we are constantly in nature and it becomes more present. With the aloha spirit, no beaches can be private in Hawaii – all must have public access.

Making Research Real

As a student and as a professor, I find it most important to understand what I am learning means to me in my life and how I can be use this new knowledge in my life. Feature Positive Effect explains that we see the presence of things more than their absence. This may be why prevention efforts are generally less effective. Why should people be willing to put an effort into getting rid of something that does not exist? Remember if we are preventing something, it cannot exist now.

Even so, what does the Feature Positive Effect mean in real life? I noticed an example recently. Toward the end of the semester, I grew a beard. Many people commented to me about the beard, probably because it was present. Then near the end of the semester, I shaved it off. Nobody said anything. In other words, the absence of the beard was not noticed, only its presence. Even when I said something to people they responded with a comment such as, “oh yeah, it is gone.” To me that could be an example of the Feature Positive Effect, Default to Truth or Status Quo Bias since no beard is normal for me.

Most of us want to make a positive impact in life, Feature Positive suggests we should do something that results in the presence of something noticable, rather than to prevent something which results in the absence of something we don’t want. For this and many other reasons I attempt to generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-postiive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic benefits so everyone and everything benefits – the presnce of something good. I look forward to hearing about how you create the presence of more good things.

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

Architecture Creating All Good

On Halloween, October 31, 2021 60 minutes shared an amazing story about MASS, Model of Architecture Serving Society, a non-profit architecture firm. Using the best designs, they developed hospitals that were amazing. Please watch the 60 minutes story below to learn more. However the most amazing part of this story is how they built on their initial success.

Building on Fantastic

After creating hospitals for Rwanda that better serve their communities by using locals sources for labor and material, they have now created a regenerative university in Rwanda. The story is linked to the headline below

MASS Design Group Establishes a Model for Regenerative Construction in Rwanda

The development is expected to be the world’s first carbon-positive university

More about MASS

On 60 Minutes Overtime it shared this story about why they use a film maker to share their story.

You can see the full 60 minutes session here.

Below is also a TED talk by Michael Murphy, “Architecture that’s Built to Heal”, shares more about how this amazing story started. He says we are designing hospitals to make people healthier as it reduces its environmental footprint.

Most important to me is how MASS demonstrated how their architecture techniques can generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. I am sure many more are doing this, please learn from these fantastic people at MASS and share how we can build on their successes!

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

Becoming our Best Is Best

I was honored that Sydnii Robinson Co-authored this post with me. Thank you Sydnii.

Complaining begets more complaints. Anger begets more anger. And optimism begets more optimism.

Simon Sinek

As Simon Sinek suggests, what we do creates more of what we have done. In other words, “Good begets Good”. Evidence suggests that if we work to become the best version of ourselves possible, this will generate good for all. This runs counter to many of our efforts. It seems we are always trying to solve problems. For instance we want to “End violence”; “Stop Inactivity”; or “Stop eating Fat”. While these actions may be morally correct, they do not create what we want.

Ending violence cannot give us what we want, love and caring. Love and caring however has the potential to “crowd out” violence as it creates the reality we desire. Stopping what shouldn’t be done, does not and cannot cause what can be done. It may provide room to do the right thing, but doing the right things takes courageous effort and action. For example, we cannot end procrastination unless we do something.

As a personal example, I have had back trouble every 6 months or so. Then we finally realized my legs are different sizes, only a 1 cm difference. This small difference altered my walk and caused severe back and hip pain. It is all connected.

When I first got the small lift for my shoe it felt like I had someone elses legs – they felt very strange and uncoordinated. Not doing anything of course would mean it would continue to feel strange, however with walking and attempts at running my legs are beginning to feel normal again. As noted by Deming’s Appreciation for a System, General Equilibrium Theory, Risk Homeostasis Theory, Zoobiquity and so much more, when we change anything, we change everything. As John Muir, founder of Sierra Club noted:

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it is attached to the rest of the world.

John Muir. All things in the universe are interrelated.

An Exception?

I believed ending bad cannot cause good. However after I saw Seaspiracy I thought there was an exception. The recommendation in Seaspiracy is “…to stop eating fish” to end ocean fishing. The logic seems sound, if we stop eating fish, demand for fish will stop. After demand decreases, because it is a connected system, the lack of demand will end ocean animal agriculture. However, upon reflection, that was too simple. Either way, I strongly recommend you watch Seaspiracy if you have not seen it yet (the trailer is below – it is on Netflix).

To me, one of the most fascinating and enlightening facts in the movie was the role fish and their excrement play in managing both carbon and the health of coral reefs. We have heard warming is hurting the coral, but we haven’t heard that healthy coral reefs require more fish and the bonus that more fish also will capture and store more carbon as they enhance the health of coral reefs. Please share what you find most fascinating in the movie.

Another impactful take away from Seaspiracy was that deep-sea fishing, called bottom trawling, causes an estimated 3.9 BILLION acres of seafloor deforestation per year. This means sea floor trawling is way more destructive than land deforestation which is estimated to be 25 million acres per year. Despite its immense damage, it is not seen by satellite or people living near because it is underwater. It is alarming and certainly justifies the “stop eating fish” recommendation. Can some experts share their knowledge about this information and data to confirm these concerns?

Linked Facts from Seaspiracy

Deprivation Never Works

It seems obvious, however the recommendation to “stop eating fish” is too simple. As the Losada LineKahenman & Tversky’s Loss Aversion, and Gottmans work with marriages documents, we need more good, not just less bad to ignite action. Not only will people feel deprived, making it unlikely for the action to continue, research demonstrates that unless we are providing people with a better alternative, doing without, such as doing without seafood, will not take hold. On top of that, the proclamation that we should not eat fish will add guilt when seafood is eaten and this will lower life quality.

What do we do?

To do something that can make a difference in this interconnected world, take actions to become the best version of yourself by eating whole plant foods. As noted in the movie by James Cameron, Game Changers, plant based nutrition is the necessary ingredient for athletes and people to perform and think their best.  The action recommended to be our best in Game Changes also means we don’t eat fish.

In other words, eating plant based nutrition to become the best version of ourselves is also what will be best for the world and will also help solve the problem of animal agriculture.

Wonderful Example

Brad Lancaster provides a great example of how to do good, that begets more good as a “Water Harvester”. I encourage you to watch as he shows how doing good, begets more good.

Eating Our Way to Extinction

I also recommend you watch Eating Our Way to Extinction, it does a good job documenting our situation and supports actions we can take to help us become the best version of ourselves. The actions recommended in this movie will also benefit everyone and everything.

I live to make my life as good as it can be and doing so helps me become a better version of myself. What I find rewarding is that the actions I take to improve myself generate comprehensive improvements. These improvements also lead to net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions from which everyone and everything benefits, which is paneugenesis or creating all good. This post shares more ways to become a better version of yourself that will also make a positive contribution. What more could we ask for?

Please share how you make your contribution so we can learn from your actions and also share how you integrate these idea into your life. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker & Sydnii Robinson

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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

Creating a Better Tomorrow

I talk and post often about designing for MORE GOOD, not just a less bad. To enable this I use and require my students to use the Paneugenesis Process. As noted in many posts, including Less Bad ≠ More Good – We Must Create Good, Make 2020 Your Best Decade Yet… and many other posts, I describe the 4 step Panueugenesis Process this way:

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
    • These Precursors are goals that must be achieve before an Idealized Outcome can be realized.
  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)
    • Update unneeded, outdated or inappropriate actions to ones that created idealized vision,
    • Focus on what causes more and more blades of grass to grow, and…
  4. Plot Progress to document, demonstrate, and celebrate Improvement
    • Measure and document progress forward toward idealized outcome
    • Plan and develop next steps to enable continual improvement

Experience has documented that hardest part is also the most important. This is step 1 which requires Creating and Operationalizing an Idealized Outcome. To operationalize means all parties understand the goals and aims.

People often avoid generating an idealized outcome and fall back on the default of noting problems that explain why things are not ideal. That is easier and most importantly, if improvement beyond the status quo is desired, doesn’t actually make things better. It can’t be better than the status quo because Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant!

I noted all this because Damon Gameau’s and his team appear to have created 2 films that Operationalize Idealized outcomes. These 2 movies are 2040 (I ordered and plan to watch)

And Regenerating Austraila. Right now information suggest this movie is not available in the US yet, but I am trying to get a copy. Please advise if you know how I can get a copy.

I encourage you to learn more about his work so you also can be inspired to use the Paneugenesis Process to generate and create idealized outcomes. I look forward to learning about how you generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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

Hearing a Repeated Message

Be a Good Listener

Over and over it seems I have heard that the smartest person in the room is the best listener and they say you can’t learn anything from others while talking, etc. In a recent post, Trust but Verify, I noted that sometimes the universe seems to be sending messages. The message last week that the universe kept sending, but it took time for me to hear, was that I should Trust but Verify. This week I am finally hearing another message the universe continues to share over and over, but for some reason I was hearing it without fully internalizing it.

This idea focuses on what seems to be captured by, “nature knows best”. Although humans are clever, we generally learn our methods are not as good as we think and nature is smarter. Nature obtained its genius from its 3.8 billion years of development and testing, see post Standing on Natures Shoulders. This idea was captured and has been discussed many times in my posts when I discuss “Undoing”. Undoing was how Michael Lewis captured the works of Kahneman and Taversky in his book, “The Undoing Project“. I shared more about this book in my post, Undoing Needed because Mental Illusions Impact Us. Some of the other related posts include: To Improve: “Undoing” Needed to Create Better!, More Undoing: A Beneficial Drug Policy, Undoing Needed because Mental Illusions Impact Us.

Michael Lewis also documented and demonstrated this idea in his book,  Moneyball: The art of winning an unfair game (also a Movie of the same name) . In that book Lewis highlights undoing of what were thought to be good methods in baseball and many other fields.

Soft Versus Hard Path

This idea that “nature knows best” was also captured by Amory Lovins in the 1976 article, An Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken. The article described the options as a soft versus hard path, see post: Policy for Comprehensive Improvements. The soft path worked with and facilitated what would happen and did not force outcomes as was done in the “Heat, Beat, Treat” traditional method. As he demonstrated, the soft path was a better path economically, environmentally and with regard to quality of life.

The Soft Path by Amory Lovins, The Gaia Hypothesis and Deming’s System Appreciation and System of Profound Knowledge all replicate natures methods and call for engaging in net positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic actions so everyone and everything benefits. It is what I call the Paneugenesis Process.

 As we build a better system, this new system must build a green economy that works with our environment not against it by using the soft not the hard path. Our traditional, thought to be clever method of “Heat Beat Treat’, or forcing nature to comply was not as good as we thought. A better way works with nature as Janine Benyus, of  Biomimicry fame, made these methods much more popular. This is a link to article that describes how she is Inventing the Eco-Industrial Age .

A better system has been shown over and over to us by the universe as one that works with nature to generate comprehensive benefits. Better listening skills would have helped me hear this message more clearly. Listening has helped me understand that pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions, a soft path, will also benefit the environment and enable us to thrive from our actions.

Act Now – Act to Think

Although these actions seem obvious in retrospect, my slow understanding means we must Act to think and not wait to believe it before we act. Huberman’s research supports this approach.

Beliefs do not change our actions, Actions change our beliefs.

Andrew Huberman, PhD – Stanford

Other benefits follow, as noted by Dr. James Lovelock and his Gaia Hypothesis:

…if the Earth improves because of our presence, then we will flourish.

James Lovelock

What is the Moral?

Messages are out there, we must listen by seeing what works without forcing it to happen. The soft path, not the hard path as described by Amory Lovins will help. It is not about forcing an outcome, it is about not getting in the way and helping it happen. If we listen and work with nature, thus making life more livable, amazing things are possible for everyone and everything because of it.

What is the universe telling us that you have not internalized? Please share what you have learned and also how you worked with nature to generate comprehensive improvements.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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

Trust but Verify

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

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

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

Talking to Strangers

Transparency, Understanding

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

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

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

Default to Truth

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

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

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

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

Summary of 9/27/2022 NYTimes Daily Podcast

It got Personal…

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

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

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

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

What do you think? Please share your thoughts.

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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

Going in Circles is Better?

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

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

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

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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

Article Published – Short SWPS

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

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

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

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

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

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

BeWellr,

Craig M. Becker, PhD

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Contact me: BeWellr@bewellr

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

Multiple Green$ Benefits

More green is usually good.

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

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

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

A Better Idea

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

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

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

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

Multiple Benefits

This simple technique provides multiple benefits:

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

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

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

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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

Its the Environment Stu*?#!

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

book by Paul Begala

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

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

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

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

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

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

Albert Einstein

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

Creating an Environment to Get Desired Outcomes

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

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

Behaviors Become Habits

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

Please share how you design you environment to generate comprehensive benefits by enabling more net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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

Questions Enlighten

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

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

Ulcers from Bacteria?

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

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

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

Rabbit Hole Misdirection

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

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

A Problem focus is limiting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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

Measuring for Benefits

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

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

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

Shocking Information

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

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

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

Magical Thinking…

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

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

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

As explained on Wikipedia

Using Backward Induction for Benefits

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

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

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

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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