We need to reinvigorate what it means to have something positive happen. Having something positive happen means something good happens that would not be present otherwise. A good feeling, a good deed, making others happy, developing new skills and abilities. Making new connections to others with similar interests or better yet with people that have different interests. Learning something new, and so much more.
Unfortunately, many now associate positive to mean something bad does not happen. It can’t just mean something bad does not happen. That sets the bar way too low. We must do better and we should strive to do and be better.
This idea was captured by Patrick McDonnell’s May 18, 2022 Mutts comic here. Please take a look. For me a positive means to generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please share how you generate something positive.
Lets reinvigorate what positive means by causing things to be better for everyone and everything than they could be otherwise.
In baseball, the 4th hitter in the line up is called the clean-up hitter. The clean-up hitter is often one of the best hitters on the team. Most coaches adhere to the idea that the first 3 hitters in the lineup will be those with high on-base percentage so the fourth hitter, can “clean up” those runners on base and score runs. The hope is doing this will mean the team will not waste any opportunities to score due to the higher probability of the clean-up hitter “hitting” them in.
Of course life is already busy, nobody needs more responsibilities so this is a simplifying suggestion that provides multiple benefits and is a time multiplier (see Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…. As Einstein explained,
Here is the suggestion or recommendation, when we clean up, use bar soap. Yes there are body washes, shampoo, conditioners, and more, but they are all soap. With regard to the lasting impact of soap, it is generally considered negligible because it breaks down quickly. However “…although the impact of soap itself is supposedly next to nothing, the packaging can actually make a difference, according to Conservation.” Logically, bar soap has less packaging, is lighter to transport, easier to store and has less disposal issues since it does not come in a plastic bottle. See more here.
Overall, in a civil of society we should be clean, however these efforts should not harm or harm other forms of life. Using bar soap helps us be in line with nature, is simple, eliminates complexity, a key driver of quality improvement as espoused by Dr. W. Edward Deming, and therefore can improve our lives and that of everyone and everything else.
It is almost like being a clean-up hitter, using bar soap makes life better, enables us to save money and also helps us contribute toward making life more livable. In other words, using bar soap is a way to create all good, or is a way to practice paneugenesis because it generates comprehensive improvements from a net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interaction from which everyone and everything benefits. Please share your thoughts!
Mr. Stotz indicated how Deming’s work had impacted his thinking and career. Deming also provides a solid basis for all I do with health. His ideas about continual improvement of the process so the product takes care of itself and systems appreciation are at the basis of all I have done. Personal and planetary health are interconnected and as we continually improve the lifestyle process with an understanding of how it impacts everyone and everything – we can achieve the desirable aim of regenerative communities by living regenerative lifestyles. You will see Dr. Deming mentioned often in multiple posts on this blog and he has also been a basis for many of my peer reviewed published articles.
The part that caught my attention in the recent Deming institute podcast was when Andrew Stotz, despite being a financial analyst, said, “Finance adds no value” He went on to explian:
“Finance adds no value….Ultimately it’s the products and the service, and finance is a support function just as human resources… it’s when finance starts being the head of the business that you get into trouble…Never make the right finance decision over the right business decision.”
This may be a stretch, however, to me his statement that finances cannot provide value is similar to how I have adopted what I learned from Dr. Deming. As I have noted, Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant! if improvement is the goal. He even states, good finances are a by-product, and cannot be the aim, just as research has shown prevention is the by-product of good health, not its aim. Prevention and problem solving only stop bad things from happening but do not make things better than where we were before the problem occurred. We could not get healthy after COVID occurred, we had to create a better life first and the protection against COVID from good health was a beneficial by-product. Those without co-morbidities have done better.
Mr. Stotz comments about finances by explaining that money desires should not drive actions, because earning money is the necessary result or by-product. These ideas were outlined in this post, Money Is a Lagging Not a Leading Indicator which demonstrated that
Money must follow, it cannot lead.
Businesses, as Kevin Cahill explains, often want to just seem to be keeping up so they go with the new management fads or “the flavor of the month” rather than maintaining a constant aim. As he notes, this does not work out well, especially over the long term. This linked 4/24/2022 Close to Home comic humorously captures this idea about just doing something because it is a current idea.
Mr. Cahill then provides a great example of the outcomes from a focus on value or money when he contrasts Apple and Enron. One company was guided by financial statements while the other was guided by providing value. Apple, which he cites from Walter Isaacson’s book, Steve Jobs, says Apple had the aim or mission to create “insanely great products”. In contrast, the now defunct Enron’s mission was to make more money. The result: Apple is worth a trillion dollars and Enron went bankrupt.
In looking back, I realized I have cited Steve Jobs and things he has done almost as often as I have cited Dr. Deming. To me both provide great examples of how we can help generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.
I hope you listen to the Deming podcast and that it motivates you to study Deming’s methods. Deming was my inspiration and it has helped me a lot in my career. Please share what you learn and how you implement his ideas to benefit everyone and everything so “everybody wins” as Dr. Deming used to say!
For the millions (well not yet) of you that follow me, you know I often use this blog as a scratchboard. I post these ideas hoping some of my unfinished thoughts will aid you in your thinking process. I recently realized that certain phrases seem to keep coming back to me and seem relevant. SInce I am a professor I a proposing a hypothesis about why they have stuck and I would appreciate your thoughts on accuracy of these thoughts. Can you do that by leaving a comment at the end?
One of the phrases that has stuck was in my thesis that I completed for my MS in Wellness Management at Ball State University. My thesis study focused on lifestyle behaviors. Throughout the paper I continued to emphasize that lifestyl behaviors were necessary, but alone they were insufficient. That phrase…
“…necessary but insufficient“
…has come back to me again and again. Most recently I heard it when I listened to Freakonomics episode #498. In the 1890s, the Best-Selling Car Was … Electric. In the episode they discuss how after a huge false start, electric cars are finally about to flourish. However in the episode, they emphasize that while moving to electric cars is necessary, it is insufficient to solve our climate crisis due to the many other damaging environmental factors from agriculture, cement and steel making and other processes.
An important aspect with this idea seems to be consistency. By that I mean that, it seems waht a person considers necessary actions are are also probably consistent with your values and therefore beneficial to your well-being. What are things you do that are necessary, but insufficient? Please share and also let us know how and if it helps.
The other phrase that keeps coming back that I used in my dissertation when I got my PhD from Arizona State and have also used in many articles is…
“… latent underlying constructs“
Latent means hidden or concealed. However it is not really hidden, it is just not prominent or noticeable right away. I have used this phrase to document the importance of health and or the environment. Health is something that enables all else, but is hidden or latent because without it, everything else is problematic. Of course when we don’t have health, it is prominent, but the lack of ill health is latent or hidden yet it is still necessary.
I also read a lot of James Lovelock and in all his books, especially in The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity: Earth’s Climate Crisis and the Fate of Humanity, he emphasizes the necessity but insufficiency or our current environmental actions. He suggests, “…We are like a revolting teenager, intelligent, with great potential, but far too greedy, and selfish for our own good” and that “…We must stop acting as if human welfare is all that matters”. He says this due to the interconnectedness of all living things, most especially the living Earth, or Gaia as he explains. As we all know, without a habitable earth, nothing else is possible. In this way, Earth is the “latent underlying construct” that is “necessary”.
In writing this I am just realizing these phrases are related. Latent underlying constructs are necessary, but insufficient. To me this means we must build on our good actions to enable continual and never ending improvement. In my teaching, I emphasize the ripple effect or the fact that it is not just what happens right away from that transaction, it is also about what happens down the line because that transaction that really matters. For instance, we can get car to go using fossil fuels, but the leftover CO2 from burning this fossil fuel is rushing climate change. This means the ripple of climate change, not the transaction of driving is most relevant.
This idea then brings us back to the start of this post about electric cars. Electric cars are necessary and can help, especially if we power them with clean renewable energy, but they are insufficient. They will not repair what we damaged, their use will just not add more, or as much damage. For these reasons and many more, my focus has been to attempt to generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits – which is the practice of paneugenesis.
As a professor, I write and publish articles in journals. These articles allow us to share our inferences, which means we use our expertise to share what we think the data for findings from a study or experiment mean. This also means inferences are not always accurate, they are initial understanding of phenomena.
Overall, this means my inference is that those phrases have stuck and keep coming back to me do so because they are relevant and important. What do you think? Do the reasons stated accurately explain why those phrases seem important and relevant and have therefore stuck with me and keep coming back?
Please share the thoughts and also actions you take to help even though we must all contribute because alone our actions may be necessary, but insufficient. Thank you – I look forward to reading your thoughts!
Prevention is taking effort to do things so something that doesn’t exist now, may not exist in the future. Why bother? How do we know it might happen in the first place? This happens when people attempt to prevent diseases such as diabetes. Why bother to only prevent? If we bother to cause more good by generating more physical, social and mental well-being, we get more good while also simultaneously making it more like we prevent the bad outcome.
In a similar way, my smart neighbor has a great perspective. He is confused about why people bother to spend energy to fight things that don’t exist, such as fighting to outlaw Critical Race Theory from the curriculum when it is not being taught. Why bother?
The issue that caught my attention on this episode was when they said recycling was created by fossil fuel companies to put the blame on us. They also said that we cannot fix the problem of climate change by recycling more. Why bother? to bring this up.
We become what we are by doing or we are what we do, repeatedly. We can choose this – however this takes effort. (see “Spooky Simple” Post)
As Huberman discovered:
Beliefs do not change our actions, Actions change our beliefs.
Andrew Huberman, PhD – Stanford
Better Life Automatically
The most amazing realization from these insights is we can continually get better, by doing what helps us become better. Better yet, this can be what we do automatically (see What We Do Without Thinking) if we create beneficial habits. This can happen, for the most part.
Habits are what we do, without thinking because it is what we have repeatedly done in the past. Consciously we can chose what we do now, and over time it will be what we have done which become our habits.
The best way to develop habits is with help. The best help we can have is to design our environment so it cues, supports, encourages and reinforces our desired choices. Have healthy food at home, prepared, if you want to work out in the morning, sleep in your workout clothes, have a friend relying on you and so many more ways.
While some may see this as a shortcut health and well-being, it is not – it is a direct route, not a short cut and it will take time. The time however can be used effectively by using some simple hacks such as those mentioned above (this also means you have become a time multiplier, see Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…)
Outcome Measures Drive Action
Another helpful tool will be how you measure what you do. It is best to focus on measuring your actions or your process and how it has improved. Measure and highlight what you do well – the good conversation you had, the walk you took, the time you exhibited patience, the time you helped another before they asked, or the times you acted as you knew you should. All those times the real you shined – then do it again and again. In time, it will be automatic and you will be the person you desire. Measure what you do well, rinse and repeat!
Theory for Good
Theories are predictions that explain phenomena and how things interact and the expected result. Theories should be able to explain the past and predict the future. Theories however have mostly been used to describe and explain bad things, not desired good things. We need a theory for a good life that can theoretically describe how to create a better life for oneself and the world. Selfish, Selfless, Synergy is the answer which is the practice of paneugenesis.
Assistance can help, an environment that reliably and objectively provides good options will help. Find good, supportive friends and build an environment that encourages you to generate comprehensive improvements. When I went to the National Wellness Conferences, I was always motivated by the good in all because the environment supported the creation of net-positive pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions from which everyone and everything benefits.
My career has now been dedicated to making the world like the week I used to spend at the National Wellness Conference (see National Wellness Conference – Amazing!). I learned that when we all worked together to generate comprehensive improvement, everyone and everything benefits.
What we need is a reliable, objective way to to guide us on this path so we design environments and lifestyles that generate comprehensive benefits. Wisdom of the commons can help. Together we can work on this project of improvement, please share how you help generate comprehensive improvements.
Overall, Dr. Wood helps understand how can AUTOMATICALLY take actions that can generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. I look forward to hearing how habits improve your life – please share.
I am concerned. I am afraid some will stop reading when they read the first sentence in the next paragraph. Please keep reading and share your thoughts with me with a comment or email. Please know we don’t have to agree on everything to know that we are partners in our quest toward creating a better tomorrow. Lets work together!
I am atheist. I want to be agnostic but I can’t. I came to this after my unfortunate car accident where my three friends, the driver and the 2 other passengers were killed. It was awful, though my brain injury has saved me from remembering most of it. All in the car were 17 or younger.
I was left in a coma and with a traumatic brain injury. The brain injury caused me to lose all I had known previously. As a senior in High School, I went from taking calculus at the local university to figuring how to even put homework on a sheet of paper and doctors recommending my parents not send me to college because they didn’t think I could handle it. Thank you mom & dad for helping me succeed. Dad retaught me how to add and subtract and they both helped me learn and so much more. Most importantly, they helped me remember how to love, care and also function in life, independently.
When I returned to school, after 6 months, at 17 years of age, I was obviously a different person. I went from being competent 17 year old that had started on the baseball team, won All-American swimming honors, had friends, including a girlfriend who was a captain of the cheerleading squad, and who was ranked #1 academically in my school, to becoming a scared, unsure confused teenager. It was therefore quite a change of my circumstances.
As I recovered, obviously I was not able to clearly think until I regained my abilities. It was a slow process. As I recovered I questioned everything. I wondered a lot about fairness and why me. I also wondered, among many things, about religion. A lot of it started after reading Harold Kushner’s wonderful book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”. Notice it does not say “why” but “when”, even though for me it did provide a why. Since it is when, most can relate to what is presented in the book since I know most of us are good people. I strongly recommend all read his book.
Another memorable answer to some of my questions about the religion and belief in God came from one of Jonathan Haidt’s books, “The Happiness Hypothesis”. In the text he explained, on page 72, Evil bedevils religion. He asked, what he seemed to learn from Boyer, if God is all good and all powerful, how can evil exist? If God allows evil to flourish, does it mean God is not all good? Also if God struggles againstevil and does not win, does it mean God is not all powerful
Book Boyer, 2001. Religion Explained: Evolutionary history of religious thought
Some more information to ponder from Freedom from Religion Foundation:
“The gods can either take away evil from the world and will not, or, being willing to do so cannot; or they neither can nor will, or lastly, they are able and willing.“If they have the will to remove evil and cannot, then they are not omnipotent. If they can but will not, then they are not benevolent. If they are neither able nor willing, they are neither omnipotent nor benevolent.“Lastly, if they are both able and willing to annihilate evil, why does it exist?”
Atheism is rooted in scientific logic. And logic proves beyond question — more so in our present global situation— that a supernatural, all-merciful, all-powerful father-creator cannot exist.”
What do you think?Progress toward a better tomorrow will require critical thinking, kindness, forgiveness and hard work. Science provides us with the best model to use, however we also must remember science is not perfect and requires us to always seek better answers.
I see our best path forward as one where we all work generating comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. We cannot wait or hope for a supernatural miracle, we must work to cause good. Can you think of a better approach?
Can any good come from the unprovoked war by Russia on Ukraine? If we take the big view, maybe it is the push we needed to do what we should have done years ago. We should have transitioned to clean energy over the last 40 years, rather than stay dependent on fascist regimes that sell us oil. As Thomas Friedman suggested in his April 10, 2022 article, How Do We Deal With a Superpower Led by a War Criminal? he recommended we should “…double down on ending our addiction to oil, Putin’s main source of income…”
“…It is, for instance, widely acknowledged at this point that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is financed by fossil fuel, and that Putin is exploiting his control of Europe’s oil and gas to wage it. … Electrifying your home one machine at a time is today’s Victory Garden—a thing you can do to fight tyranny, inflation, and runaway emissions…Yet we’ve been asked to do none of these things. ”
Moving to clean energy will be better for the people, workers, animals, plants and the environment. It will mean more jobs, cleaner air, and less sickness. It will also enable people to engage in actions that will be selfish, selfless or synergistic. Will we finally speed toward a new, clean energy system? Should this new system include nuclear energy>?
I was a no to nuclear energy prior to learning more. James Lovelock, the father of Gaia, which evolved into Earth Systems Science, strongly endorses the use of nuclear energy. He explains that it has gotten bad press due to the development of super powerful, life ending, nuclear weapons. As he notes, the power of these weapons alone should document the potential or nuclear power.
Overall he recommends nuclear energy for these simple reasons, and more:
Nuclear energy from fission or fusion is significantly more dense and more powerful than fossil fuels as is demonstrated by the power of nuclear bombs.
Waste from nuclear energy is two million times less than what is generated by burning fossil fuels, for the same quantity of energy.
Nuclear waste can be buried in forests, where it will HELP, not hurt trees or animals. Nuclear energy is, after all, what powers the sun.
Although we cannot see carbon dioxide, fossil fuel waste causes incalculable problems sickness and climate change
These facts suggest nuclear energy at least needs another look. We should think again (see “Think Again” Very Helpful Book) Might the quick transition to clean energy be a possible benefit from this horrible war being perpetrated by Putin? Should Nuclear power, as recommended by James Lovelock, be part of the mix?
Along with many throughout the world, we are emphasizing that moving toward clean energy should be a way to move forward to generate comprehensive benefits by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Right now Russia helps power Europe.
This may be our best hope and opportunity to practice paneugenesis so we generate all good as we experience #SelfishSelflessSynergy benefits. I look forward to hearing your thoughts…what do you think? Did this help you “think again”?
As he explains, we can do many things to reduce our use of fossil fuels such as speeding the transition to renewables with legislation and even reducing the speed limit. He emphasizes that we must do this because….
“As long as we’re addicted to oil, we are always going to be begging someone, usually a bad guy, to move the price up or down, because we alone are not masters of our own fate….This has got to stop. Yes, there needs to be a transition phase, during which we will continue to use oil, gas and coal. We can’t go cold turkey. But let’s vow to double the pace of that transition — not double down on fossil fuels.
Of course, what option is there? The ONLY option is to do good, feel good for doing good and be regenerative, not just sustainable. Review of the interconnected world clearly demonstrates, the world wants to regenerate. The awesome thing is that the only way we can save ourselves is also the best way to create the best life for everyone and everything. We all benefit from generating comprehensive improvements when we are creating net positive, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.
Nature does this, in all ways, including with the “Wood Wide Web”, where roots distribute resources most efficiently so trees make up a healthy and vibrant interdependent forest. The trees don’t fight for survival, they share to create overall success. That is how nature works.
Our oceans are amazing and we can help them generate more good, not just less bad. Helping oceans generate more good is a way to Practice Paneugenesis by generating comprehensive improvements. We can do better than just rid the ocean of plastic and or oil or stop overfishing.
While these issues are important, it may be even more valuable to help the ocean be more good. Oceans can grow food, such as from fast growing kelp, it can also provide parks. It also can provide energy from wind and waves. At the same time, underwater mangroves, oysters and other underwater vegetation buffer storms, generate more air to breathe, provide underwater homes for creatures that also clean the ocean as it captures and buries carbon – all to make life more livable.
Overall, nature, of which we are a part, functions to make life more livable. As James Lovelock explains with Gaia, our living earth works hard to allow life to prosper. Our oceans provide a powerful example of the important role all life plays on earth. Our oceans can generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. To help improve life, our motivation can be to make life better – now and in the future, not just to prevent problems .
Our oceans enable every other breath we take as it also helps regulate our temperature so we can live comfortably. For a more clear understanding how we can help the ocean Practice Paneugenesis and help it create all good, I recommend you listen to Susan Ruffo’s powerful 9 minute TED presentation, “The Oceans’s Ingenious Climate Solutions” .
This post is a thought exercise that I hope encourages you to think about how to build better processes. In other words, it is also how we can spread more love and caring this Valentines Day.
As I taught about ethics in class I realized we can’t have low or high ethics, either we have ethics or we don’t. Actions are either ethical, or they are illegal, inappropriate or not desired. Ethics are not a high bar, they are the minimum. Ethics are a low bar for a civilized society.
We need ethics codes because it shows the users, customers and professionals that there are expectations. There is an ethical code in Health Education, however the ethical code not only sets up expectations, it also provides a framework on how to improve. The ethics code requires health educators to continually get more education and to use that knowledge to improve methods used in the profession.
Are ethics Yes or No?
Even though ethics seem to be black and white, either we have them or we don’t. It also seems ethics are a low bar, however I am continually reminded that being ethical can get complicated. Workers who must keep a job to support their families may be required to sell a number of drinks or tanning sessions for example to keep their job even if they know it is wrong. This situation makes it difficult to do what they know is right.
The difficulty of doing what is right was demonstrated by Stanley Milgram’s experiments that were used to try to understand how good people could have participated in the Holocaust. This video explains how and why people may sometimes not do what they know is right…
Ethic WERE complicated
I was reminded again that ethics can be complicated when I listened to the NYTimes Daily Podcast: Who Else Its Culpable int eh George Floyd’s Death? In this podcast it explains that although the fellow officers wanted to do what was right, the situation made it very hard.
How can we improve?
What do you think? It seems there are rarely bad people, but bad systems. Continually improving processes can help generate comprehensive benefits by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic benefits so everyone and everything benefits.
What system or process improvement could help make life better for all while it also prevents another George Floyd like experience? I am interested in hearing your ideas, please share.
Radiolab is fantastic. In this podcast, From Tree to Shining Tree, they explain that previously tree canopies were pretty much completely ignored by science. Mother Nature continues to amaze. As they described, “It was as if researchers said collectively, ‘It’s just going to be empty up there, and we’ve got our hands full studying the trees down here! So why bother?!’ But then, around the mid-1980s, a few ecologists around the world got curious and started making their way up into the treetops using any means necessary (ropes, cranes, hot air dirigibles) to document all they could find. It didn’t take long for them to realize not only was the forest canopy not empty, it was absolutely filled to the brim with life. You’ve heard of treehouses? How about tree gardens?!” In other words, all of life on earth exists to make life more livable.
This RadioLab podcast explains about the secret powers of these sky gardens from ecologist Korena Mafune, and we follow Nalini Nadkarni as she makes a ground-breaking discovery that changes how we understand not just what is below in the forest, but also what is up.
They acknowledge that they learned about the magical world of the canopy from this beautiful video from Michael Werner, Joe Hanson, and the PBS Overview team. It features Korena Mafune’s research up in the treetops, as well as the people who have dedicated their lives to saving what’s left of the old growth forests. I highly recommend checking it out!
Thoughout the podcast they referred to Dr. Simard’s wonderful work and the previous podcast they had done about her work, From Tree to Shining Tree. I strongly encourage you listen to their podcast done with Dr. Simard in 2016. Their Radiolab podcast was before her 2021 book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest and it is a great stand alone presentation and also an excellent complement to her book because it seemed to hightlight additional areas of information that were not stressed in her book.
Overall, I continue to be amazed at how well nature, by default, generates comprehensive improvements to make life more livable for all by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. We are part of nature, meaning we should have living styles that also make life more livable for everyone and everything. Please share how you create all good by practicing paneugenesis with selfish, selfless, synergy.
James Lovelock is over 100 years old now and wrote this book at 100. As I posted on Google Books and Good reads for a review, I was fascinated by the fresh ideas and the overwhelming logic and science provided in this book.
Lovelocks book, Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence, provided a fresh look at everything. While I already had agreed with his Gaia Hypothesis, that earth is a self-regulating organism, he provided more evidence about the Gaia Hypothesis and also what comes next. The book helped me rethink many things, including what I assumed was an accepted fact, that the anthropocene period, where man is the driving force, was bad. He instead helped me think that his may be the stumbling steps of evolution. He also introduced what should seem like a crazy idea, that we can evolve to cyborgs, as a non-controversial logical next step. This book is more hopeful than most and helped me see his hypothesized future as not just logical, but exciting.
While this book supported ideas of how we can move forward, it also supported the ideas espoused by Jane Benyus that we should live in ways that make life more livable for everyone and everything. James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis proponents of the Gaia Hypothesis explained the conditions necessary for life are created and maintained by life itself in a self-sustaining process of dynamical feedback. We do this and improve our living conditions by living in ways that make life more livable for everyone and everything.
We are part of the natural system and as a part, it is imperative we live in ways that improve the system, rather than destroy it from our use. This was also was promoted by Russell Ackoff who I highlighted in my Moving Toward Better in 2022 post.
As posted previously, this 10 minute presentation , “Beyond Continual Improvement” was posted as, ‘If Russ Ackoff had given a TED Talk. In thishe clearly explains why we should only build better parts if those parts also improve the whole.
Please share how you improve parts that can help generate comprehensive improvements through the creation of net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, which means the whole system benefits. Thank you.
My former Ph.D.mentor and and dissertation chair at Arizona State, Dr. Bill Arnold, recently sent me this NBC News article, “Employees are tired, stressed and burned out. That’s why I give mine ‘wellness days” with the header, “Your Point”. The article makes the point I promote that employers should treat employees as adults and give them freedom to use their days as desired. If employees are misusing the policy, attention should be directed toward a better culture. Work should be rewarding, as Dr. W. Edwards Deming often explained:
To enable people to have a better work experience, to enable joy, employees should be provided “general leave” days, rather than sick days, to use. If people are sick, then those general leave days are used for sickness and cannot be used for desired activities. This policy therefore rewards people who are healthy by giving them the opportunity to have days off with pay to use as desired. This type of “Wellness Day” Policy can generate more good, not just less bad or fewer sick days (see Beyond Order and Status Quo). This policy will also encourage people to strive for higher levels of health, which will also benefit productivity and research shows also results in less sick days, as a by-product.
In other words, give employees wellness days so they can use those days to fulfill their potential. After all:
Are we living in Orwellian’s world? Why should we only paid for a day off if we are sick? Doesn’t this policy reward sickness?
Of course providing for sick days is important, which a General Leave Policy also accomplishes, but more is needed. People need days outside of work for importantthings in life such as attending a child’s performance, a child’s graduation (personal experience), or going to see a fantastic exhibit. All these things are important to help the employees have a better life. Keeping employees from doing what they want will negatively impact their productivity and attitude about work. This policy also means when they will miss work, it won’t be a surprise. With his policy employees will plan for the days missed which will also boost productivity when they miss without preparation. The policy highlighted in the article described their wellness days as:
The idea of Wellness Days is similar to the famed Google 20% time rule that encourages employees to spend 20% of their time on whatever they want. They trust the employees to do the right things and the payoff has been powerful (as noted in the linked article below).
The idea is pretty simple: It’s that you, or a team, or a company–anyone, really–should divide your time working, so that at least 20 percent is spent exploring or working on projects that show no promise of paying immediate dividends but that might reveal big opportunities down the road.
“We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20 percent of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google,” co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin wrote in 2004, before the company’s IPO. “This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner.”
A Wellness Day policy that provides paid time off work for general leave, rather than sick days, is a way practice paneugenesis because it is likely to generate more good, not JUST less bad. Wellness Days are more likely to enable employees and their organizations to generate comprehensive improvements because they will now have the capacity to create net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please share wellness days policies that work and also let us know how they have helped. Thank you.