Progress, Not Problem Focus Essential

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ben Saunders

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

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

A Way to Practice Paneugenesis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you have one or decide to get a soyabella, please share your experience. Also please help us learn ways you have learned to practice paneugenesis by engaging in pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits!

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Stop the Death of Expertise

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

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

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

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

Tom Nichols, Death of Expertise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

More than a “Whack a Mole” Life

You are better than this! Society pressures us to live a “whack a mole” life. Problems in life are like moles in this game because a new problem keeps popping up. We then spend our time whacking them down, or fixing problems (like gif above). This is like Sisyphus because this makes it difficult to move forward. Fixing problems uses up our time an energy instead of using it to create a better future.

Fixing problems mistakenly feels like progress, however we never move forward, we just don’t move backward. I analogize it like never getting past 0 in the video below.

You are better than this. We all want a better future or what I refer to as +3 where we exceed expectations. We need to devote our time and energy toward generating comprehensive improvements. If we spend all of our time looking for, and finding, problems to eliminate, progress is unlikely

Vic Strecher and Jim Loehr do great work helping us learn how to build purpose and meaning in life. I recently listened to their 30 minute Purposecast, “Energize Your Life: How to Boost and Better Manage Your Energy“.

I love their work, however, as I was listening, it seems they are still suggesting if we get rid of our negatives, such as negative energy as mentioned in this talk. How, it seems like they are suggesting we shoudl be looking for moles to whack? This is contrary to Shawn Achor and “The Happiness Advantage” who documents the flaw in this approach. I addressed his work in this post Is a Problem Needed for Change? II recommend you watch Achor’s wonderful TED Presentation: “The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance

In other words, regardless of the situation, we should do something that aligns with our values and goals that helps you and us move forward. This is captured in the “Anyway” poem.

In other words, put energy into creating what you want, Anyway. If you are spending energy ending what you don’t want, exhaustion will keep you from chasing better things. To create what we want we need to put our energy into creating more good, not just less bad (see Concept: Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad).

Creating what we want crowds out what we don’t want. To create what you want and crowd out what we do not want, it is vital to work at generating comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, Anyway.

Please share how you are making the world better for everyone and everything and encourage all to do the same.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

🧘🏻‍♀️🧘🏽‍♂️🧘🏼‍♀️MorningYoga is Great🧘🏻‍♀️🧘🏽‍♂️🧘🏼‍♀️

My family and I have now found a way to do 10 minutes of yoga a day, each morning, and it is great! Most mornings we meet using one of the available technologies – WebEx, Zoom, FaceTime, MS Teams, since our girls live in different cities. My daughters were the inspiration for yoga and now my wife and I are amazed because 10 minutes of yoga each morning has helped us increase our mobility and have a better day. Smart girls!

There are many options on the internet. We chose to join Kassandra for 10 minutes of yoga each morning and have liked her sessions. Here is her day 0 video.

We started her 30 day challenge and are now doing those 30 days for a second time. I now feel a desire to do yoga each morning because it makes me feel better and helps me feel ready to start my day. I also now notice significantly better flexibility, all from just 10 minutes of yoga a day.

I encourage you to try this, it is only 10 minutes. You don’t need to drive anywhere or even change your clothes. We have enjoyed adding this habit to our day. Please let us know how it has helped generate comprehensive improvements because it is a pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions from which everyone and everything benefits. Also please share if you find other good videos online.

Yoga is a way to practice paneugenesis with selfish, selfless, synergy. It is selfish because it is good for me, I feel better so I am better to others, selfless, which also makes it pervasive and likely reciprocal which generates synergy so we all do better. Thank you Kassandra for helping!

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

#GoodMorning

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

 

Survival of the Fittest Misleading

Life is dynamic which keeps things interesting. It is also why we are bad predictors of the future. We have created intricate measures and theories but they still cannot tell us what the future will be because when anything changes, everything changes. As John Muir explained:

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe. – John Muir

We are all interdependent and nobody can survive without everything else. We need many abilities and capacities because the unexpected often happens and we must adapt. This means we need critical thinking so we can quickly adjust and adapt to our ever changing landscape. Survival of the fittest seems to have turned into an understanding that the strongest will survive. This, however, is a misunderstanding of what the fittest means. The fittest means the most adaptable.

Since all is connected, to create a thriving society, like a thriving forest we must be able to help each other. Dr. Suzanne Simard demonstrated that plants communicate with each other through their network of roots (or “Wood Wide Web” – see Tree’s to Nuts to People – ALL Connected SuperCooperators) to send messages about needs. A forest then, based on messages sent, diverts water and carbon to the most needed plants to help the forest thrive over any individual plant. Like plants in a forest, Martin Novak explains we humans are also SuperCooperators.

books

We are not competitors and when we collaborate and work as cooperators with others and the environment, everyone and everything benefits. As Tim Galloway explains in, “The Inner Game of Tennis” (see The Inner Game of Tennis Provides a Focus for Life), competition is really high level cooperation. We cooperate to play a game that will enable us to improve our capacities and play our best game.

What does this mean? To create the life we want it would benefit us to continually improve your abilities and capacities by learning more and helping others. We are all interconnected, sometimes we need help, sometimes we can help others. Both situations exist, and we don’t know when these different needs arise. Having more capacities enables use to better adapt to meet the every changing needs of our life. Improved capacities benefits adaptability which makes it more likely everyone and everything benefits.

Please share how you are learning more so you can create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Together we can generate comprehensive improvements.

Be Well’r,

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Obvious Finding: More Health Behaviors, Better Performance

With my colleague, Martha Chapin, we finished a study and published the results in the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 34(1), pages 65-75. The findings from the study outlined in the article, “Contributing Factors to Academic Performance for Students with Disabilities”, suggests college support services should focus more on nurturing, supporting, encouraging and reinforcing health promoting actions in the physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, vocational and environmental areas. The focus on encouraging these behavior was suggested because the more students engaged in these health promoting actions, as measured by the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS),  the higher their life satisfaction, grit, and resilience. More SWPS measured health promoting actions was also associated with better performance in college as measured by Grade Point Average (GPA).

Often we think health is secondary, however, engaging in actions that enable health is being shown over and over again to the be the latent, or hidden, underlying cause of desirable outcomes. Engaging in health promoting behaviors is not something you should do when you have time or after being successful, engaging in health promoting actions makes it more likely you are successful, just like Shawn Achor demonstrated in the Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance.

In other words, this study provides more evidence to support the obvious. To get the life we want, it would be beneficial to create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. This supports the contention that Practicing Paneugenesis can contribute to generating comprehensive improvements.

Below is the abstract of this published article:

Please share how you are Practicing Paneugenesis by taking action to create the life you want. Thank you.

Be Well’r,

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Innovation is Obvious in Retrospect

Greg Satell does a fantastic job of clarifying difficult topics. For instance, in his excellent book, Mapping Innovation: A playbook for navigating a disruptive age, he explains how innovation is really a combination of many known things. For instance, the smartphone put together things we already use, a phone, a GPS, the internet and much more. The iPhone was a big hit because of how it combined things, but after it was put together it seemed obvious, because we already knew how to user all the parts.

     

Upon  reflection, I realized that happens after any of us learn new things. From things as simple as learning to read or to riding a bike, once we know how to do it, it is obvious. Even what seemed complicated, for example quality management, it was obvious after it was explained. Quality management means to continually improve what is being done, or the process, so the product, the outcome, is better. Again, upon reflection, how else could a better outcome be realized than by improving what creates the outcome. Its obvious, in retrospect, however focusing on it during the process takes effort.

I work in health, and work from the Salutogenic perspective as developed by Aaron Antonovsky. Salutogenesis is about the causes of health, most people who do health do it by learning about the causes of disease. Logically, although ending disease is good, it is obvious to generate improved health, we should focus on the causes of health, not just the causes of disease. In retrospect it is obvious.

As I have continued to do work, I realize this approach is more effective in almost every field. Google aimed to make information more accessible, not to eliminate barriers. Of course eliminating barriers to information was necessary, but not the primary function. The primary function was to make information accessible. Steve Jobs heroic work at Apple was not to end all its problems, but to make insanely great products that were like bicycles for the mind. Of course, many problems were eliminated or avoided, but a different path was found to success and that path was not just about ending obstacles, it was about finding a way to get a better outcome.

Innovations are not about ending problems as much as they are about finding better ways to get things done using things we already know how to do. Putting an eraser on the end of the pencil at one time was a beneficial innovation. Now it is your turn. What can you combine in a new way to generate comprehensive improvements because they create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits? I look forward to using your helpful innovations – please share to help us all move forward.

Be Well’r, 

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

 

 

Feedback Requested

I updated the layout of my blog. What do you think? Please share your thoughts.

My goal is to help generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, reaching many people with information, selfless, providing thoughts that will spark ideas in you, and synergistic, starting a ripple that results in creative ideas that benefit everyone and everything.

I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

Be Well’r, 

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama is a Good Book

I listened to this 29+ hour audio book. It was a far more enjoyable read than I expected. This book was chosen as one of NYT Best Books of 2020 (click here for NYT review). Listening to the book also enabled me to get a lot of walking in since I wanted to keep walking so I could continue to listen.

President Obama is a good writer. The book was interesting because it not only reviewed his first term, it also provided a history lesson related to all the events that occurred during his presidency. As he described the events from his presidency, he interlaced stories about his family. For each event he also provided a continual dose of the introspection he went through during his trying presidency. Those passages helped me understand the challenges he faced.

Overall, I kept thinking – how did he endure? I was exhausted just listening to all the things he did. After reading, upon reflection it seemed even more exhausting. I realized he did all these things while under time constraints, in real-time and with only limited information. When reading we now have the benefit hindsight, no time constraints and know more. 

The book started with a discussion of the work that was done on the financial crisis he inherited. While working on that solution, he would also have to do other things such as a commencement address to graduates in the US or in UAB, or to a meeting with national leaders, to meetings about ongoing issues such as Birthergate pushed by Trump, or the BP oil leak in the gulf,  or to his daughters basketball team practice. I say “or” but really it was “and” because all these events were ongoing. It was clear he did many things.

I encourage all to listen or read and I don’t think it matters which side of the aisle you are on politically. I force myself to listen to the other side at times, and generally gain increased understanding and or perspective. Once again, it is not that I am deciding which way is best, but learning about what can be a better way. As Stephen Covey helped me understand in his book, The 3rd Alternative, it is not about my way or your way, but about working together to find a better way. If you are interested, I discuss how to use the 3rd alternative in these posts: Honoring Justice Scalia – Dare to DisagreeProgress Trumps Problems and Perfection, and We Need to Use the 3rd Alternative.

It appeared to me President Obama was continually searching for selfish, selfish, and synergistic solutions. In my view he was often able to generate comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, interactions so everyone and everything benefits. I found this book entertaining, educational, and helpful. If you read, please share your thoughts about what you learned about how to generate comprehensive benefits so everyone and everything benefits. I look forward to hearing from you.

Be Well’r, 

Craig Becker

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

 

Article Published to Improve Education & Health

 

With my colleagues, Ashley Norris,MS, Susannah Berry,MS, Beth Chaney, PhD and Molly Robinson, MPH, I expanded my research to early childhood education. The study was interesting and I learned a lot. Through this work I learned we can positively impact education and health by empowering the student and teacher in ways that also improve health behaviors. I published the findings in the American Journal of Health Studies article, “Pilot Assessment of the Scholar Checklist: A Tool for Early Childhood Health & Education“. If you are interested, you can see more about the article here.

Be Well’r, 

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Updated Review of Edward Glaeser’s Triumph of the City

The April 12, 2021 Op-Ed for the New York Times by Edward Glaeser encouraged me to update my February 2021 post. It seems as things change, Dr. Glaeser’s prophetic work becomes even more relevant.

This article suggests his work and the current Biden agenda should include zoning as a key to enable America to be more productive, equitable and green. Interestingly, he is suggesting allowing more growth is greener and more equitable. I certainly encourage a read of his book. This article is a good complement. Enjoy and please share your thoughts.

There were several other aha moments for me throughout the book. A developed a new understanding related to poor people in cities. Dr. Glaeser explained that poor people come to the city because they see it as an opportunity to create a better life, which many are able to do. If people remain poor in a city, then work must be done by that city. If new poor people keep moving in, this can drive improvement. According to Dr. Glaeser, these are the keys to helping a city thrive: a good education system so people become more educated, a good infrastructure with good transportation, clean streets and the rule of law. If these factors are in place, it attracts people and investment. Additionally, with those precursors in place, they can generate an optimized process to yield desirable results for the city and that city can then contribute to the world. If a city wants to thrive, it is Incumbent upon that city to have a good infrastructure so all people can get a good education, be transported to jobs and are likely to meet with and interact with other people. He also documented the cities are good for immigrants and immigrants are good for cities because interactions with a diverse set of people yields even better results. This is an outcome from which we all benefit. Developing new talent through education and interactions is a good investment for the city and the world.

He also caused me to rethink taxing and how it is used. He documented that cities pay higher taxes due to higher salaries and higher productivity but then that tax money goes to less productive areas. Overall, he wasn’t complaining about being taxed just that the tax system now is anti-urban and pro suburban. He also noted a reason this happens. Congress is over represented by suburban areas. Low density states get 2 senators like high density states. He cited 5 states with just 1.2% of the population have 10% of the power in the senate and this creates an imbalance of power for a minority of the population.

Overall, he had an environmental agenda. He questioned this policy because cities are significantly less carbon intensive per person than suburban living. Suburban living generates more emissions per person than city living because suburban living generally requires more driving and bigger houses, each of which requires more energy use. An example of the subsidizing of suburban living was the mortgage tax deduction. I wonder about his thoughts now since the mortgage tax deduction has been eliminated. Another question relates to the recent publication in Scientific American, “U.S. Cities Are Underestimating Their Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The errors could make it more difficult for cities to meet goals for reducing their planet-warming footprint” (at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/u-s-cities-are-underestimating-their-greenhouse-gas-emissions/)

Overall, it is a good book and a thought provoking. I recommend this book. These ideas all seem to support the practice of paneugenesis because it suggests cities can help generate comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions with a good infrastructure from which everyone and everything will benefit.

Updated: Achieving Big Goals Requires a Team Effort

A Team Effort…Also One More Thing at the End

A team effort is a coordinated approach when all on the team work together toward the same goal. It is when each team member does their part to help the team achieve its goal, despite their different roles. As Alvin Toffler explained:

We are all citizens of planet earth, so we are all on the same team, despite our different roles. Climate Change is a big issue and a coordinated team effort is necessary for progress. It looks like such an effort is starting. To help all in government who have different roles share the same goal, all posts will now consider how it can have a beneficial impact on the environment.

As described in this Washington Post article, Every Cabinet job is about climate change now, it says President Biden insists that addressing climate change is a job for all, not just the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). World changing quality management expert, Dr. W. Edwards Deming also emphasized that all must work together to achieve an aim. In his 14th point of his famous 14 Points, he explained that organizations must:

Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.

Leadership Sets the Pace

In the snow, once a path is made with a sled, it is easier for others to follow that path.

A path also creates a more predictable future. It is a more predictable future because you can see what is expected to happen if you follow that path. A predictable future helps organizations decide what they should do to be successful. Having a predictable future also means organizations can be more proactive about their choices, such as their decisions about environmental issues. Proactive decisions are better then being forced to react to new legislation or policy. As Mahatma Gandhi reminded us:  

The government is creating a path to follow.

Good leadership creates followers. Governmental leadership may have impacted the recent big change at General Motors. General Motors (GM) aims to end sale of gasoline, diesel-powered cars, SUVs, light trucks by 2035. GM created what some could consider an Idealized Outcome to sell only electric cars by 2035. While this is great, to me this really should be a way to plot progress. Either way, it is an example of how an organization with a different role, selling transportation, shares the same goal of a healthier environment.

The other benefit is that this change at GM makes them a leader. It also may help GM be a more profitable organization as noted in the NYTimes article, “G.M. Announcement Shakes Up U.S. Automakers’ Transition to Electric Cars: Every carmaker is trying to figure out how to make the leap before governments force it and Tesla and other start-ups lure away drivers.” This could be very impactful as people and organizations choose transportation options that are better for the environment.

To show things coming together, it was announced that “Biden wants an all-electric federal fleet”. From postal trucks to passenger vans, the president wants to convert some 645,000 federal vehicles to electric power. The sticking point: They must be made by union workers from at least 50 percent American-made materials. The linked article explains the plan.

This choice also demonstrates a Selfish, Selfless, Synergistic move. #SelfishSelflessSynergy It is Selfish because it is better for GM, Selfless because it enables others to make helpful choices and supports Synergy because it will enable us all to enjoy a better environment.

Idealized Outcomes Visualize a Better Future

In the Paneugenesis Process, the idealized Outcome should operationalize a better future for all. We all want is a health promoting environment. An even more aggressive goal, or Idealized Outcome, could be what I heard from Toyota, years ago, that their aim was to have cars that clean the air as they operate. As we move forward, good leadership about the environment should help more groups, organizations and people understand that although we all have different roles, we all share the same goal of a clean and healthy environment.

In my role as a citizen, to contribute toward a better environment I have a plant strong eating style, mostly vegan, compost, recycle, bike or walk when I can, and support good environmental laws and candidates so I can create pervasive reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. These actions benefit the environment as they also help me be healthier. I look forward to hearing how you are working to improve your life as you also make contributions to a healthier environment. A strong relationship exists between better personal choices and beneficial environmental actions. A wonderful synergy exists between improved personal and planetary health.

In the tradition of Steve Jobs, One More Thing…

On February 2, 2021 the New York Times Had a Daily podcast was about, Assessing Biden’s Climate Plan: The president has signed several executive orders for environmental policies since taking office. But the real work of reducing America’s emissions has just begun. I encourage you to listen about this plan.

Be Well’r, 

Craig Becker

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Cities Done Right Generate Comprehensive Improvements

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

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

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

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

Practice Paneugenesis using this 4 Step to Process

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

To me Glaeser’s work documents that improved quality of life can be created through effort toward an envisioned better future. Please share how you can or are using a similar process to generate comprehensive improvements. Please let us know how we can work with you to to generate pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please contact me: Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

 

 

Getting Better as We Fix What we Broke

Without question, especially speaking morally, we must fix what we broke. Relatively speaking, despite being the most educated and advanced civilization to date, we are causing damage to our environment, we are sicker and less happy and more in debt than we should be. We are more materially abundant than ever. Despite striving for and getting much more, we only learned that we cannot buy happiness or health, it must be earned.

Fixing what is broken also relates to prevention. Even if we prevent all problems, we have not intentionally done anything to promote a better outcome. To promote better we must enable more capacity and increased potential. If the focus changed from fixing what we broke to building more capacity, potential and partnerships, so a better future could be realized, we would get better while also fixing what we broke.

This is the only way to be better than we were before. This better leads to an increased ability to overcome inevitable difficulties that also provides a better potential to prevent or avoid inevitable difficulties. Our increased ability to overcome would result from having developed more abilities from the beneficial interactions generated from the redesign of reality.

Relatedly, the health promotion or health care movement became the disease treatment and prevention movement, instead of the health generation, creation and improvement movement. On this trek the field has sought to continually find the root cause of the problem instead of designing a reality for success. I describe this in the evolution of positive health video:

Of course it is good to eliminate external or “special causes”, however we also need to develop better methods to move beyond not bad, or zero, the status quo. If we already had the needed method, our goals would have already been achieved. Using methods to generate more skills and ability through pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions benefits everyone and everything, due to comprehensive systemic improvements. To achieve this +3 outcome, we must exceed expectations.

Doing Better than Fixing what we Broke: In “The Improvement Guide: A Practical Approach to Enhancing Organizational Performance” by Gerald J. Langley , Ronald D. Moen, Kevin M. Nolan, Thomas W. Nolan, Clifford L. Norman, Lloyd P. Provost they emphasized maintenance teams should be updated to become improvement teams (For more see Evolve Maintenance to Improvement to Create +3’s). Maintaining keeps things as they and this is insufficient when improvement is desired.


For example, often people interchangeably use sustainability and regeneration. They are different. Both are good, however regeneration ALWAYS supports sustainability but not all sustainable actions are regenerative. Regeneration also includes restoration, rejuvenation, renewal, replenishing, healing, nurturing, revitalizing, reenergizing, harmonizing and more. Regeneration is restoring and renewing systems as it improves the ability of those systems to restore, renew and heal more effectively if damaged. That means it is an improved or better version. (see figure below) 

Regeneration Means more than Sustainability

 

All of this relates to the Concept: Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad as posted on . More good means something akin to what McDonough and Braungart describe in their book Upcycle. As the chart below, displays more good, not just less bad optimizes the positive impact that is possible with Upcycle efforts. 

 

What does this mean?
I had started this post prior to attending a retreat we had at work related to race relations. Without question, better relations and improved interactions are a valuable and important goal and this means better methods are needed. I am also reading Marshall Rosenberg’s, NonViolent Communication. While the title seems to suggest it would be a focus on less bad, the contents demonstrate how to generate more good.
In the book he describes a 4 step process for more effective communication.

Four Components of NVC

  1. Observations – objectively observed concrete well-being impacting actions 
  2. Feelings – how do we feel in relation to what we observe
  3. Needs – identify the unmet needs, values, or desires that create those feelings
  4. Request – concrete actions we request in order to enrich our lives
At the retreat I attended, the initial keynote outlined all the unarguable facts of disadvantages that have resulted from our current methods. Using the method above I observed what happened. When I checked in with my feelings, I realized I agreed with everything said – there are were problems and bad actions had been taken. However the presentation left me feeling defensive. As Marshall Rosenberg explains, defensiveness makes compassionate actions difficult.
 
I needed a better way. A better method would have been a plan for everyone and everything to benefit, which by default must help those more disadvantaged most. If it did not do that, it would not be an optimized process. My request, lets work together to find a way to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.
 
Last year I posted: MLK Day FOR Everyone’s Benefit, where I acknowledged how W. Edwards Deming insisted:
Defend your rights, you lose. – W. Edwards Deming
Although it may seem contradictory, Deming said this because he knew that we needed to make it better not just for one group, we needed to make a better system so everyone and everything benefits.
 
Please share how you will help build a better system and generate comprehensive improvements by letting us know how you create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com