Review of Edward Glaeser’s Triumph of the City

Edward Glaeser’s book, “The Triumph of the City: How our greatest inventions makes us richer, smarter, greener, healthier, and happier“. This book was quite good. It helped me adjust my understanding of city living. He recommends taller buildings and increased density in areas that are temperate and require less carbon intensive lifestyles. He explained that when one area stops construction for local environmentalism, the harm is not avoided, it just shifts to a less temperate area, an outcome that hurt us all. As Edward Glaeser, PhD emphasizes throughout the book, the engine for improvement is people, not cities. Cities are great because they enable smart people to interact with other smart people more regularly. These interactions generate ideas and productivity. Throughout the book he cites statistics of increased productivity from cities with higher density than areas with a lower density of people.

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:

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.

Be Well’r, 

Craig Becker

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Money Is a Lagging Not a Leading Indicator

Money and profits, over the long-term, are the result of providing value and benefit to individuals, organizations and communities. Fortune 500 companies change often because, according to many experts, quarterly returns, rather than valuable service or product delivery becomes their focus. This even happen to Toyota when they focused more on becoming the “biggest” auto maker rather than the “best”. The “Best” following work with Dr. Deming meant producing the highest quality automobiles. As Toyota discovered, bigger and higher profits was the lag indicator of having the highest quality. This means being the “Best” was the lead indicator and being the “Biggest” was” the lag indicator.

Processes, or our actions, are always leading indicators. Results, or products, such as satisfaction, profits, value and other  outcomes are the lag indicators. As noted from research, Moral licensing is a cognitive bias that occurs when a person uses their prior “good” behavior to justify later “bad” behavior, often without explicitly using that logic. In other words, good processes do not need to be upheld because of past processes done well. The result of moral licensing is very much like risk homeostasis theory.

As I noted in Expectationism Over Engineering-Education-Enforcement “…when cars have anti-lock breaks, air bags or because drivers have additional driver training, their general response is to  drive more recklessly, possibly because of overconfidence, and this behavioral compensation maintains them at their static target risk level. Risk homeostasis theory explains that people have a set level of risk they are willing to take.  If they do something very safely, they take more risks in other areas. In other words, driving processes are leading indicators for lagging safety outcomes.

I was reminded of how the process determines the product while watching the Netflix’s Social Dilemma movie.

The movie made a big deal out of the fact that social media company processes are manipulating behavior to get more advertising dollars. Our behaviors have always been manipulated. Cities built green areas to get people to move to their cities, and to encourage play. Walking downtowns were built to encourage more people to go downtown. The concern with social media is its ubiquitous presence for so many people and because its primary motive is for money, rather than the common good.

Everybody is trying to manipulate behaviors. Even with our friends and family, we attempt to manipulate their actions. I also have been attempting to manipulate your behaviors with my posts. My goals have been for you to engage in Selfish, Selfless, Synergistic actions because if you do, I get to live in a better world. In other words, if I can encourage you (selfless action) to take action to help yourself (selfish), such as walk with friends, grow your own food, develop more competence, and eat more plants – we all benefit – synergy. I get to live in a better world (selfish). #SelfishSelflessSynergy

If health promoting actions are taken, such as eating more plants, making gardens, engaging in physical activity, having fulfilling vocations, having beneficial communications with others, and learning more, the businesses that provide these products and or services become more profitable. If done right, this also means we will help generate a circular, regenerative environment that can help everyone and everything thrive.

We have a tremendous opportunity to use the wonderful social media tools available to all of us to encourage, and support  the generation of comprehensive benefits by helping to create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. We are all in this together so helping anyone benefits in these ways helps everyone and everything benefit. According to Robert Putnam in his new book  Upswing: how America came together a century ago and how we can again, this is how the Great Convergence in the early part of the 20th century happened.  During the Great Convergence more focused on mutualism and helping each other. The great convergence improved the common good. Please share how you use your social media accounts to improve the common good by contributing toward generating comprehensive improvements so everyone and everything benefits. Thank you for all you are doing!

Be Well’r,

Similarities > Differences, Voting, and a Recommendation

Differences & Similarities

I had always thought that what matters most is how we are similar, not how we are different. I now realize, similarities and differences are both important. A focus on differences often leads to conflict. Differences, however, or diversity of views and background helps generate better ideas through increased creativity.


Differences are important and exposure to these differences can help us become a better version of ourselves. This means learning about others helps us be more creative and it can lead to a better world which supports Selfish, Selfless, Synergy. #SelfishSelflessSynergy. This idea is clearly demonstrated in abundant research outlined in the interesting, linked, NPR Hidden Brain podcast: The Edge Effect: Creativity And Diversity: How Exposure To Different People Affects Our Thinking.

Multicolored hands grasping each other.


Differences are important, yet we are all more similar to each other than we are different. We also know that people are more likely to help others when they have similarities.


We have similarities to all living things on this planet. We share much of the same DNA. This suggests we should be helping everyone and everything as much as possible for many reasons, but most importantly because it generates comprehensive improvements due to the pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions created that helps everyone and everything benefit.

The “Hidden Brain” podcast outlines the research findings by Adam Galinsky, a professor of business at Columbia Business School and co-author of the book Friend and Foe, Harvard economics professor Richard Freeman’s interesting studies on diversity and Cristina Pato that explain how and why this happens.

Differences provide an opportunity for us to grow and learn. It doesn’t mean that we have to agree, however it can help us re-evaluate and rethink why we do and think what we do. It also can help us develop a better way. This type of introspection often helps us have a stronger understanding of who we are and how we can become a better version of ourself. It is not your way or their way but a better way (see We Need to Use the 3rd Alternative).

Voting Season

Of course it is voting season and it is important to be an informed society and to participate. We want to vote in a way that we believe will generate the comprehensive benefits for everyone and everything. After all, helping others is helping yourself and is another way to be selfish, selfless, and synergistic. Additionally, if we want to be part of the solution, that means we need to be part of the process. You will be a part of the process by exercising your right to vote. If you need information about your voting location, please get information at

A Recommendation

After you vote, it is time to relax. You did your part. To stay in a good state of mind, I recommend the comics. The comics are a wonderful source of joy to me. It is the way I start every day. The Sunday September 6, 2020  Comic provided a what I thought was a great recommendation that I want to share.

Enjoy the  here.

I look forward to hearing how you help generate comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Guest on Derek Bell’s “Highway to Well” Podcast

I was honored to be asked to be a guest on Derek Bell’s Highway to Well Podcast. It was fun to talk with Derek Bell about wellness and the future. If you are interested, I encourage you to listen to our podcast “Highway to Well: “Fall on Me“.

Highway to Well: "Fall on Me,” with Craig Becker

 I hope you enjoy this podcast and I hope it helps you understand how you can generate #SelfishSelflessSynergy or comprehensive improvements. Please share your thoughts below. Thank you.

Be Well’r,

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Looking for Health in All the Wrong Places

I am confused by our currents attempts to achieve health. If you follow me you know, I am confused because we seem to focus on disease rather than health. It is as if we go after B (disease – prevent and treat), hoping to get A (health and well-being). But these states are independent, though related. Simply making less or more of one state does not necessarily have a  corresponding change in the other state.

I am continually reminded of this current confusing approach, or what seems to be honest attempts at chasing A (disease) to improve B (health), such as in Dan Heath’s new, interesting book, Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen. Once again the focus is on fixing problems…just earlier, or upstream. Upstream reminded me of a passage in John Robbins 1996 book “Reclaiming Our Health”. In the beginning he shared a story about a fictitious society that lives on a mountain. He explained that people kept falling off the mountain and the society made faster and faster ways to rescue and treat people after they fell off the mountain. Of course the faster they got, the better they thought they were doing. Finally someone suggested they build a fence. Obviously a fence is better than people falling off the mountain, but it does not make us better than we would have been if we didn’t fall off the mountain. It just went further Upstream. We should aim to make things MORE GOOD, NOT JUST LESS BAD (see Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad).

I think some solutions of how we can be More Good are being offered in Bradley and Taylors work outlined in their book, “The American Health Care Paradox: Why Spending More is Getting Us Less” and in their NYTimes column, that seems to have an inaccurate title, To Fix Health Care, Help the Poor. Their work documents that America does not actually spend the most on health care if you consider treatment AND social services provided in most other countries. Social services benefit health and well-being of society, thus creating a higher quality of life, and they also lower treatment and disease costs.

Without question, better health will come from improved physical, mental and social well-being. This has been proven over and over again. Higher health means more prevention and less issues, less problems however is the side effect of better health. In addition when something difficult does happen in life, as it most assuredly will, better health provides value because now they will be able to overcome, heal because the difficulty will be less problematic due to their higher health status. Those benefits of overcoming difficult disease problems are the side effect of having a better life. The primary focus on health, needs to be on health and how to improve it. If we do that, not only do we get better health, a higher quality of life, a by-product or secondary benefit is less problems and prevention of other difficulties.


Health and the piggy bank

This episode seems inspired by Vivian Lee, MD’s book, The Long Fix: Solving America’s Health Care Crisis With Strategies that Work for Everyone. Without question, the inefficient bureaucracy of our health care system is causing many problems and her solutions will help. It will be less bad. However, just finding a way to make it more economically efficient is not enough. Although I have not read her book yet, the podcast seems to suggest she realized this also. At the end they discuss a doctors office that does better at helping people live a better life, that office then also does better economically, and as a side effect…their patients have more prevention. While more study should be done, evidence seems to overwhelmingly indicate that we should change our objective so better health is the primary focus instead of less disease. Then if we improve the processes that promote health, a better life can be had by most and then… as a by-product many of the problems will take care of themselves.

There is much more to say about how to improve, but we must act to cause health. Overall it seems clear, we are asking the Wrong Questions if better health is our goal. This concept is also discussed in Asking Better Questions Can Generate a Better Tomorrow. We should be asking Aaron Antonovsky’s salutogenic question, “How can we understand movement of people in the direction of the health end of the continuum?” In other words, what helps people improve health such that it means more than just less disease. As we begin to achieve more holistic good, less bad has to follow.

My attempts to create more good first that also results in less bad is to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. As more and more of us engage in these actions, we will move toward a better world for everyone and everything, which will also mean less problems. And when we do have problems, which we will, our increased capacity and better health will enable us to handle those issues more effectively.

I look forward to hearing how you do good from selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions  #SelfishSelflessSynergy.

Please share how you do good…

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.


Generating Great Ideas with “White Space” from Exercise

Did you ever come out of or go into the shower and get a great idea? Of course you have, it happens to all of us. We often have an idea on the tip of our “mind” or have a complex issue that we are unsuccessfully working toward. Then, unexpectedly, an answer races into our mind and it seems to come from nowhere. Why is that? How did it happen? Well nobody is sure, but there are many theories and most revolve around the same idea – “White space” or unstructured time.

Research indicates our mind is always subconsciously working on unsolved issues. Many theories  attempt to explain why ideas unexpectedly fly into our mind like in the shower or when we wake up. I have read about this from many authors and I found Ori Brafman’s explanation of this phenomenon useful. Ori Brafman ©2013 wrote about this idea and how we make sense out of chaotic thoughts in The Chaos Imperative: how Chance and Disruption Increase Innovation. He explains that giving people free time improves our ability to think. He suggests organizations give people unstructured “white space”, or unstructured time, so new ideas can grow and flourish.

His work suggests it is helpful to the give the subconscious mind time to organize chaotic information to enable you to have “eureka” moments. To have more “eureka” moments, it is recommended people give themselves “white space”, or unstructured time. They further suggest having unstructured time after significant mental effort has been expended toward a clear goal.

I get my “white space” time when I exercise. I also often do this to give myself a break from the work I am doing, or after I have spent significant mental effort toward a clear goal. I enjoy swimming and getting a regular workout at the gym. Unfortunately the pandemic has made doing this more difficult. The gym I usually use has been closed since mid-March. I have been walking more but I missed the harder workouts. Luckily, several sources have sent information about online video workouts.

I have no financial interest in this promotion, still I want to share that I have enjoyed HasFit for online exercise sessions. Coach Kozak and Claudia have great workouts and a large variety of types and lengths. Everything has been free and they are not trying to sell anything – that I have noticed. If you are interested, I recommend their workouts  that you can access  Here at

I recommend these video workouts for home as a way to find solutions by creating “white space” time for yourself:

Using’s workouts can help you become more fit. Being more fit will increase your capacity and enhance your ability to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. I also know that when I get stuck, my ideas often come together when I get in the shower after a workou. The workout created time I was not consciously thinking about those ideas.

Some have suggested the “white space” created by by 1918 Spanish Flue plague led to unstructured or “White Space” time caused a dramatic shift in priorities. Might that happen now ? Exercise sessions can create “white space” for you so you can generate your ideas. A Selfish, Selfless, Synergistic way to move forward. #SelfishSelflessSynergistic

Either way, workouts are times when you do not actively think of your ideas and these “white spaces” can allow your mind to work its magic. This way, while you get fit you can also move forward on other important things you are thinking about. This is a no lose proposition. Good luck, please share your future successes.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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


Thank you for reading, please comment below and contact me:

Patriot Act by Hassan Minaj is Great! Then Cancelled????

I just started watching Patriot Act by Hassan Minaj. It was great and he seems to support #SelfishSelflessSynergy. I encourage all to go back and watch what they can. I first watched an episode on YouTube that caught my eye, Is College Still Worth It? | Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj .

I then learned, after watching a few GREAT episodes, the show is being cancelled.

Patriot Act: Fans of Hasan Minhaj’s show urge Netflix to reconsider 19 August 2020

Hasan MinhajHasan Minhaj was one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2019

Fans of Netflix’s topical comedy show Patriot Act have voiced their disappointment after it was cancelled.


I encourage you to watch, it seems most episodes are also on YouTube. I learned a lot of eye opening information in the few episodes I watched. I plan to watch more.

For instance, although I use TurboTax, it seemed impossible to find the free version. I thought mine was too complicated, but I also I found that I could not help my daughter use the free version. Hers was simple and should be free. Here is why:

Why Doing Taxes is So Hard | Patriot Act

25:26 Jun 29, 2020 – Uploaded by Patriot Act

For me, the most interesting episode I watched so far introduced me to ranked voting. I also learned that ranked voting is being used in states such as Maine. It looks like a much better way to vote than our current method that causes many to choose between least bad options. I encourage you to watch.

We’re Doing Elections Wrong | Patriot Act


24:39 Jun 22, 2020 – Uploaded by Patriot Act

I also thought his episode about local journalism was very good and important.

Hasan Minhaj Speaks Upon The Importance Of Saving Local Newspapers

21:39 Aug 7, 2020

I encourage you watch his show, and if you like it as I did, please join me in asking Netflix to bring back the show. For me, this is a  way I can generate comprehensive benefits by creating 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!


Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Contact me:

Resilience is Not Always a Virtue, If that is all it is for…

In reporting about the explosion in Beirut, the reporter on the 9-6-2020  New York Times Daily Podcast said, “Resilience is not always a virtue, something needs to change.” In this situation it referred to the inaction of the government to secure dangerous chemicals. That statement stuck me as important. It was important because if we are always coming back from difficulty, that should be telling us something needs to change. It seemed to relate to many quotes such as:

Are you too busy mopping up the floor to turn off the tap?

This quote comes from a story about a person busily mopping up the floor without realizing the tap is open and water is flowing on to the floor. If the person simply turned off the tap, they could do something other than just mop up the water.


Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me

This ancient proverb refers to our need to learn from our experiences. As I have noted in Best Practices are Contraindicated for Improvement and Making a Better (+3) New Normal, we can’t just keep fixing what we break. We need to build a better system.

Resilience is defined as 1) the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness: the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions. 2) the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shapeWe are incredibly adaptive creatures and we learn to adapt to anything. Being able to adapt is great, but is it the best? Deming explains improvement is not continuous, but continual and discontinuous. It happens in spurts.

This means Resilience and Thriving are different. Being resilient, does not mean Thriving. To thrive we need to do better and be better. To be better we need increased capacities to live a better life. To be able to do and accomplish more and have a better life. Those capacities can then also, SECONDARILY, or as a by-product help us bounce back during difficult times when needed. The capacities therefore are to improve life, not just in case something happens, though they are useful when they do.

Resilience is a secondary benefit of increased capacities. Once again, I am suggesting we change our priorities. In health I recommend we focus on enhancing physical, social and mental well-being so we can create the life we desire. Secondarily it also will protect us against difficult times as necessary. This Pandemic provides another example. It is difficult to be healthier when something happens, we needed to achieve that prior to the pandemic.

Please share how you are able to increase your capacities and abilities and how they make your life better today. Of course the main benefit is being able to do what you want and a by-product knowing you are more protected. Building more capacities and abilities will help you generate comprehensive improvements as you create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic (#SelfishSelflessSynergistic = +3) interactions from which everyone and everything benefits. I look forward to hearing about your successes.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me:

Policy for Comprehensive Improvements

The editorial Board of the New York Times laid out what is necessary, or the processes needed to create improvements. Their article:

The Jobs We Need

Workers have been left behind as the U.S. economy expanded and chief executive salaries skyrocketed over the last four decades.

It is worth a read. It explains how for everyone to do better, everybody must do better. That is better wages, better working conditions and pride or joy in work helps everyone do better.
The policy recommendations in this article, which mirror things done by FDR after the depression. As he explained, “…it is not enough to transfer wealth from the rich to the desperate”, we must build a better system. As we build a better system, this new system must build a green economy that works with our environment not against it. As noted by Amory Lovins in 1976 article, An Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken, we need to use the soft path.
A better system needs to work with nature so it must be focused on generating comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Knowing that everything benefits means we must also act in ways that benefit the environment. The environment must thrive from our actions.
As noted by Dr. James Lovelock and his Gaia Hypothesis:
…if the Earth improves because of our presence, then we will flourish. If it does not, then we will die off.

The Soft Path by Amory Lovins, The Gaia Hypothesis and Deming’s System Appreiciation and System of Profound Knowledge all call for engaging int the Paneugenesis Process. We must engage in actions that generate comprehensive improvements through the creating of pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.


Please share how you generate comprehensive improvements.


Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me:

The Inner Game of Tennis Provides a Focus for Life

Timothy Gallwey’s book, “The Inner Game of Tennis” has become a classic. After reading it I understand why. Of course it is not just about tennis, it is about life. He discusses our 2 Self’s. Self 1 is our “Telling” self, such that it tells us how we are doing and is often criticizing for not doing things well. Self 2 is Doer and is the self that does everything. He explains how when or if Self 1 is in charge, it focuses on judging and determining how things are done. If Self 1 is in charge, we are bound to have a difficult life. If however we focus and let things go without constantly positively or negatively judging, we do better.

He put Focus in a different light. He notes that to be focused we must be curious and find something interesting. He uses a focus on the seams of a ball or the sounds generated during a tennis match as an “other” focus that will allow Self 2 to conduct itself better. Self 2 functions better when there is no interference from Self 1. He also points out the value of focus by analogizing it to providing light in dark spaces. He says focus allows us to see how things really are just as a bright light enables us to really see something that we could not see if it were dark. Beyond just the difference between dark and light, it is also about when we don’t see things clearly when there is only a “flickering” light. I thought he compared seeing things in a flickering light to seeing things without a focus to mean that when we don’t focus we cannot really know or understand what we are seeing.

I realized I had recently experienced the benefit of a focus, or the shining of a brighter light on something. Of course this is also what education accomplishes by shining a brighter light on information so it can be better understood and used. Although the “Defund the Police” rant at first blush seems preposterous, I discovered after focusing on and learning more about this, not only does it make sense, it is what we should do. The “Defund the Police” movement is not trying to defund the police but to spread the funding out to appropriate agencies so police are not handling problems beyond their training. By “Defund the Police”, activists are asking for a shift of resources away from police agencies toward public goods that would enhance the health, safety, efficacy, sense of belonging and citizenship within communities. This could help all.

The idea of changing funding being offered by “Defund the Police” reminded me of something I read in Dan Heath’s new book, “Upstream”. In the book he explains that although the US and Norway spend the same amount on health care for children 0-18 years, the money is disbursed differently. Norway spends money “Upstream” on daycare, parental leave, and education. America on the other hand spends money downstream on problems and treatment. The results on quality of life are dramatically better when funds are disbursed “Upstream” as they are in Norway compared to when money is spent downstream as they are  in America. It is amazing what I learned from a focus that shed more light on an issue.

He also reaffirmed what my work and the work of others has demonstrated. Relationships are important to everything in life. He explains that that our life depends on the relationship people have between Self 1 and Self 2. The book outlines how to create a more effective relationship. Although he says we need to use natural abilities, he does not discount developing abilities.

Overall he recommends this process:
Step 1: Non-Judgmental Awareness. How did things go?
Step 2: Picture the Desired Outcome (I would suggest an Idealized Outcome)
Step 3: Trust Self 2 – or the doer. Let self do what it wants more than judging how well you are doing.
Step 4: Non-Judgmental Observation of Change and Results – how did things go?

He is actually recommending a life that includes a continual process improvement. He says we should always be learning what works and what doesn’t so we can continually improve. He notes that this process is natural because our Self 2 is constantly searching for and attempting to improve by trying new methods, even without conscious effort. We therefore need awareness to see, without judgement, what works and what doesn’t. Judging inhibits this ability because positive or negative judgements impede the process.

I also appreciated his discussion about competition. I have always said, based on Deming’s work, that cooperation is more powerful than competition for achieving desired results. Which I still believe. He however provided a new perspective on competition. He said competition, as a game, is when you have at least 1 player, an obstacle between the player and the goals and a motive for playing. He also explains that True Competition is really True Cooperation.

Competition is cooperation because it means you agree to provide the greatest obstacle to the other person’s goal using an agreed upon set of rules. These competitions then enable the player to discover and improve their capacities. He suggests competition is really just a great training method to allow one to improve. For those of us that have competed in sports, we know competition enabled us to improve. He also suggested competition is not useful if it is being used to prove self because of insecurity or self-doubt.

Overall I strongly recommend “The Inner Game of Tennis” to help people in all areas of their life. He provides ideas to develop a stronger Inner Game. As we all know now, due to COVID-19, getting things together so we are prepared must happen before, “Upstream”. However, we should remeber getting things together isn’t just valuable if something bad happens. A stronger Inner Game makes life better today, its a by-product would enable us to handle unexpected difficulties. 

A strong Inner Game, made possible with a better relationship between Self 1 and Self 2 is a way to Practice Paneugenesis  because it can generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish selfless interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Make it a Great Day & Week!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me:


Looking Toward a Better Tomorrow

A friend shared this valuable message. For now, enjoy the company of your family and those you can, and when this is over…

Enjoy and grow from the process of life, including this detour, and all its wonder….including some imperfections.

Be safe doing what you can to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone you can safely interact with benefits.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Thank you for reading, please comment below and contact me:

Lifestyle Behavior for Health Article Published in AJLM

A great deal of focus, attention, and money has been spent to help us improve our lifestyles with the belief that this will lead to improved health. Without a doubt, there is potential. Reality, however, shows us that although some things are better, the trend is not what it should or could be. From my perspective there may be a better approach. Evidence from my work and from many others suggests that  a comprehensive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic salutogenic or health causing approach would be more effective.

Data in this article documents a lack of progress using current methods in improving lifestyle behaviors. My colleagues (Kerry Sewell, Hui Bian and Joseph Lee) and I published this article, Limited Improvements in Health Behaviors Suggest Need to Review Approaches to Health Promotion: A Repeated, Cross-Sectional Study in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine to recommend a another approach.

If you have time and are able, I encourage you to read the article and share your thoughts and also let us know how you generate comprehensive improvements! Thank you.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Thank you for reading, please comment below and contact me:

Reciprocal Obligations Benefit Self, Others & Society

In The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties, Paul Collier recommends the need for reciprocal obligations and less individualism. In law, a reciprocal obligation, also known as a reciprocal agreement is a duty owed by one individual to another and vice versa. It is a type of agreement that bears upon or binds two parties in an equal manner,

The idea of reciprocal obligations are what can make lives worth living. Simon Sinek suggests that reciprocal obligations can benefit others because what we do for others has a direct impact on how we feel about ourselves. In other words, reciprocal actions can give our lives meaning because they provide us with a way to have a positive impact on others and the world. Reciprocal obligations can provide a way to exhibit Selfish, Selfless, Synergy. It is an action that is intrinsically rewarding, extrinsically beneficial and also helps move society forward.

I was reminded of these ideas when I read the story of an epilepsy patient, Epilepsy treatment side effect: New insights about the brain, by CARLA K. JOHNSON and MALCOLM RITTER Associated Press. In the article she states,

Looking back, she said she’d encourage others to take the same step (letting researchers study her brain). “It is something you feel good about later,” she said. “Let your life be defined by the lives that you change”…Contributing brain cells to science “makes me so proud and so satisfied,” she said. “It makes me feel more connected to the human race.”

Please remember, a negative does not become a positive. As I noted in Make 2020 Your Best Decade Yet…

We cannot turn a negative into a positive. The best we can do is learn from a bad event and make things better in the future. For example, my Dad passed away last year and he had Alzheimers. It is a terrible disease because it turned him into a person we could not even recognize and everyone suffered. After seeing the terrible event, I have learned a lot more about brain disease and brain potential (see links and video’s by Merzenich and Doidge below). This does not make his death a positive, it will always be sad. I am however using that event to inspire me to learn more so I can design a better future for everyone and everything. This future will also make Alzheimers less likely as a by-product.

We all have an innate need for fairness, even for ourselves. We don’t want things we do not deserve. I guess this means to feel good, we should do good because doing good helps us earn the right to feel good.

In another take on Reciprocal Obligations, the Friday February 21st Daily Podcast, “The Field: An Anti-Endorsement in Nevada – The state’s largest labor union has fought hard for health care. And now its fighting Bernie Sanders” outlined the concern the union had about losing their healthcare insurance. As they explain in the podcast, most think it would be better if all had good insurance, Medicare For All, and not just them. This also shows the pull of loss aversion, that is the innate concern of losing what they have.

As Kahneman & Tversky, Barbara Fredrickson and Corey Keye’s research demonstrates, along with what I show in my work…negative events have a stronger impact than positive events. The general understanding is that we need to have a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative events to be thriving or to feel as if we are flourishing.

Understanding that all could benefit, not just them, is an example of reciprocal obligations because people are looking out for the greater good more than self-interest. For me this is an example of selfish, selfless, synergy because individuals are better when the whole is better. I was moved by those that understood and believed it to be more important for all to do well than it was for them to personally benefit. It makes sense because in the end working for the greater good serves self-interest more effectively.

Overall it is an example of practicing paneugenesis because it is an example of generating comprehensive improvements by creating of 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!

Please share your thoughts below. If you have questions or ideas to share, please contact me:

History Can be Deja Vu All Over Again

I am sometimes amazed by what happened in the past. Usually I am amazed because I cannot understand how it could have happened. I catch myself thinking, “how could that be true?” I am now learning it wasn’t true, I misunderstood what actually happened.

Prohibition, or the outlawing of the sale of alcohol, seems like an anomaly in our past and is something I thought, “how could that be?” Its seemed especially odd since it was during a time called the “Roaring ’20s“. I have now learned, it didn’t happen as I had thought. The biggest misperception I had was that it was a reaction to too much drinking or religious fundamentalism. According to the January 17, 2020 NYTimes  article, “Why Americans Supported Prohibition 100 Years Ago“, prohibition was enacted to stop big business from profiting on poor addicted people. As noted often in the article:

Temperance crusaders weren’t crackpots. They were fighting the business of making money off addiction.

Specifically, it was a move against Saloons that became too powerful and were taking advantage of poor. As it explained

…prohibition (was enacted) “for the safety and redemption of the people from the social, political and moral curse of the saloon.”

I had also thought, due to movies there was a rush to get alcohol. The articles states it was met more with yawns than yelling. It states:

…there was no mad dash for hooch on the night of Jan. 16, 1920, no “going out of business” liquor store sales on Prohibition Eve. The United States had already been “dry” for the previous half-year thanks to the Wartime Prohibition Act. And even before that, 32 of the 48 states had already enacted their own statewide prohibitions.

They said it was not a big issue because…

…with debates over ratifying the Peace of Versailles and a war scare with Bolshevik Russia, the 18th Amendment was barely front-page news.

They did note:

A few restaurants and hotels held mock funerals for booze, but the city’s saloons had long since been shuttered, and “the spontaneous orgies of drink that were predicted failed in large part to occur.”

False beliefs exist now about why prohibition was enacted. I know I had an incorrect understanding. Prohibition happened because of something that sounds far too familiar. Prohibition was intended to push back against…

…powerful business interests — protected by a government reliant on liquor taxes — getting men addicted to booze, and then profiting handsomely by bleeding them and their families dry.

As most of us know, when we fail to learn from history, it has a tendency to repeat. It is hard to know what happened if we weren’t there so it is valuable to educate ourselves. The article suggests…

Our inability to comprehend the past comes from taking current worldviews and projecting them backwar

…are opioids deja vu all over again?

If you have time, I encourage you to read the full article at the NYT. For me it was thought provoking article. Please share your thoughts…

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Thank you for reading, please comment below and contact me:

Must Generate More Good, Less Bad Insufficient

Prevention programs, by definition, are about less bad, not more, net-positive good beyond the absence of problems. Evidence has clearly demonstrated, less bad is insufficient if we want real, net-positive improvement. #SelfishSelflessSynergy W. Edwards Deming famously proclaimed that a transformation, or a thorough, dramatic change was necessary to improve business because…

Solving problems, big problems and little problems, will not halt the decline of American industry.

The statement above goes against common sense. When a transformation happens, what was common sense no longer seems logical. Deming’s Quality Management methods made the use of Process Behavior Charts the new norm and it became common sense though unfortunately still not common enough.

Dr. Deming explained and his success has confirmed, less bad is not enough. Jeffrey Hollender, the former CEO of Seventh Generation Inc.,  explained in a 1 minute and 57 second summary why we must generate more good, not just less bad. His description shows he has been transformed. (Also see  Less Bad ≠ More Good – We Must Create Good).

I was again reminded about the insufficiency of attempting to make things less bad, or an approach aimed at primarily solving problems, when I read the January 21, 2020 NYTimes article, The Road to Auschwitz Wasn’t Paved With Indifference. As it stated,

…It never works to participate in a terrible thing in order to try to make it less bad. It’s tempting, and can seem like the right thing to do…

Lösener’s attempted to make it better by changing the law. He…

Bernhard Lösener, a lawyer in the Third Reich’s Ministry of the Interior, relays how he hurriedly traveled through the night to get to Nuremberg in time to write the Nuremberg race laws so that the rule of law would be preserved, and how he fought to have the race laws written to count as Jewish those with three Jewish grandparents rather than those with one drop of Jewish blood. Lösener’s race laws included fewer people than a one-drop rule would (though that had negligible effect).

In other words, he tried to make it less bad by having fewer classified as Jewish. As is also noted in the article, bad things don’t just happen because people do nothing or the false belief that bystanders will do nothing in the belief others will. People are generally good. As noted:

Bystanding is not the problem. What we need to guard against is hate and collaboration with hate. It’s rare for people not motivated by hate to casually witness a serious crime and do nothing about it. (The notorious case of Kitty Genovese, the woman stabbed to death in 1964 in her apartment building vestibule, while supposedly dozens of people within earshot of her screams did nothing, is a case of false reporting.)

People do not stand by as bad happens. It also seems logical and morally right to attempt to cause less bad. Unfortunately, history has demonstrated that less bad often makes things worse and cannot cause more good. As noted:

History shows that when you participate in an atrocity together with the perpetrators, in an attempt to make it somehow a little less horrible, in the end you’re still participating in the atrocity — and it is no less horrible.

It is great to be a hero, though we must remember: Less Bad ≠ More Good.

What history teaches us is: Don’t perpetrate; don’t collaborate. If you can be heroic, that is laudable… Just don’t welcome the murderers, don’t help them organize the oppression or make it “less terrible” (that won’t work anyway)

Working to make it less bad is almost always insufficient. Rather than focusing on how to make it less bad, more good comes by working at the iterative process of generating comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, or by practicing paneugenesis.  I look forward to hearing about how you help everyone and everything benefit!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Thank you for reading, please comment below and contact me: