..nitric oxide…is produced by cells throughout the body and plays a crucial role in promoting blood flow….nitric oxide helps keep blood vessels relaxed and pliable. This lowers the pressure that circulating blood exerts on the walls of the veins, arteries and capillaries.
Their response was to a reader that heard brushing your tongue can be harmful. The doctors explained the research (some of which you can see here) found that brushing your tongue and using antiseptic mouthwash can damage the tongues microbiome and inhibit its ability to regulate blood pressure. Yes, the tongue also has a microbiome. Its amazing, they now even know the mechanisms of how plant strong nutrition, specifically green leafy vegetables, helps us:
…The nutrient that the tongue bacteria convert is called dietary nitrate. It’s found primarily in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and bok choy, and in root vegetables such as carrots and beets.
Of course these helpful benefits course through our body and plant strong nutrition helps them work better. You may remember, (see Stress can Improve Your Health) Kelly McGonigal explains in her upside of stress book and TED talk (below), stress hormones actually help heal the heart.
Evidence supports that we can generate comprehensive benefits by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless interactions by eating plant strong. From these interactions everyone and everything benefits as we help our bodies be health causing machines (see also Healthier’s By-Product is Comprehensive Improvements. Please share how you help your body be a health causing machine so everyone and everything benefits. Make it Great Week.
Humans are contradictions. Often we say one thing but mean another. It is not our fault, eliminating these contradictions in life are difficult. Often this state is referred to as cognitive dissonance (the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs), and it can create an unease, it is a sign of development. We should see this feeling as a sign we are about to evolve. The contradiction about how we view change presents a perfect example.
Most people will say they do not want to change, yet it is always chosen. We choose change when we decide to get married, go to school, get a different job, have kids, or go to a new or different place to eat. Change is really something we choose. It is not something we avoid, it is something we want and desire but for some reason it can cause fear. Change is something we enjoy but hate in our mind. This is cognitive dissonance.
Seeing things differently is what has enabled all of human development. The microscope, telescope and or different opinions has helped us see things differently or in a different light. Seeing things from a different perspective unleashes our potential to do and be better. In this respect, seeing change as a benefit, rather than a burden, can lessen our unease and also provide a path to a better life.
Often when we think of change we think about the difficulties of doing something new and or possibly about being confused or scared about how things will turn out. Yet if we see change as a necessary and unavoidable part of life, it can be our ally. Change is our beneficial partner because change enables us to forge a new path to a better life.
After all, to be better, things will need to be different. Doesn’t different mean change? How do you want your life to be better? What are the benefits? I consistently seek change by working to generate comprehensive improvements through the creation of net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. That means I seek changed interactions.
My goal is to make life more livable for everyone and everything. Research suggests this is what we are hardwired to do. Society does not nurture these types of actions. We are therefore probably unconsciously generating cognitive dissonance which could be causing unease. Seeing change as the path to a better tomorrow can help us make life more livable for everyone and everything. After all, that is what we are here to create. How will you generate a better tomorrow?
And YES, both of my girls make me VERY PROUD to be there father!
PS – To help you understand why the album was so meaningful to me, it was of all my kids artwork from when they were little. That artwork had been on my office walls floor to ceiling. I covered every bit of my walls with just their artwork, that’s all that was on my office walls. I had that office before there were cell phones with cameras in everybody’s pocket. I never took a picture and thought I had lost all that art. My wife saved it and they turned it into that album. It was very touching.
alter Isaacson’s new book about Jennifer Doudna and her journey to gene editing and the Noble Prize. He ask many important questions about what it means now and for our future. He is able accurately highlight the value of this technology and its riveting development, while also acknowledging the scary side.
CRISPR technology is a simple yet powerful tool for editing genomes. It allows researchers to easily alter CRISPR is a technology that can be used to edit genes and, as such, will likely change the world. The essence of CRISPR is simple: it’s a way of finding a specific bit of DNA inside a cell. After that, the next step in CRISPR gene editing is usually to alter that piece of DNA.
He describes how easy it is to end up wanting to have a child that is smart, athletic, ore even have blonde hair and blue eyes – the Nazi trap. Is that the outcome if we leave it up to the open market? People generally want what is best and if people can choose the best options, why wouldn’t they? Government regulation concerns have been written about from Orwell’s 1984 to Huxley’s Brave New World.
While these concerns are appropriate, my perspective on his little bit different. While Walter Isaccson does an incredible job describing and helping the reader understand this complex topic, I was left thinking that he had not addressed the obvious dilemma of unfulfilled potential. If we do take the path of altering our genes to get an unfair advantage, what suggest it would be used? Our world is full of smart and talented people that have not fulfilled their potential. I am sure all of us have unused potential. We could all be better at many things, this however takes deliberate work to get better. Would people put in the time and effort? If so, why do they not do that now?
In addressing the issue of what is too much for gene editing, he asks, “what’s the difference between people who hire extra tutors or provide more opportunity to help kids develop or instead pay to change one’s gene’s?” This question is hard to answer, however an even harder question is what inspire them to work harder?
From my perspective, to treat genetically inherited diseases makes sense. Gene editing then can and should be used to eliminate diseases such as Hodgkins or Sickle Cell anemia for which we have no treatment. As Isaacson asks, what is the difference between doctors to treating diseases or starting treatment before it happens? Of course, changing something before it happens means we don’t know if there were positive potential options also eliminated.
The big question, just because they have the potential, does it mean they’re going to have the associated outcome? The other question is what else are we losing? Would a nicer personality in Steve Jobs still have produced the same results?
I think they’re jumping the gun about gene editing. Does gene editing guarantee a better in life? What do you think? Can we edit genes so people are more likely to want to generate comprehensive benefits? Can we create genes that such that the default thought is to create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits? Or is the practice of paneugenesis, creating all good, something that must be learned?
As I reviewed this post, I realized it was all questions. My answer: I think it the better world will need to be nurtured and natured into our existence by creating an environment that nurtures, supports, encourages, and reinforces the practice of paneugenesis, the creation of all good, or more, not less disorder is likely. What do you think? I encourage you to read the book and share your thoughts.
My daughter shared a “Morning Motivation – Decide to Make it Great Day” with me and my other daughter because she said, “This is what Dad always says”. Wow they listen??. She is right, a few years ago I stopped saying, “Have a nice day” and instead I say, “Make it a Great Day”.
I made this change because saying to others, “Have a nice day” seems like a command or it is a hope and something we cannot influence. It also suggests no effort is required on our part. I don’t want to suggest that or contribute to the impression so I usually say “Make it a Great day” instead of “Have a Nice Day”. I say this because to get things done as desired, we must take action. We always can have an influnence, but we need to take action to create an impact we want on the day, week, year, life.
We also know this is likely true because of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. My basic understanding of the 2nd Law is that entropy, or disorder, always increases. For application of the 2nd Law, this means that we must cause order. Disorder will happen, order takes effort
We must do what we can to make things workout as desired or it can only work out as desired by chance.The second law of thermodynamics says entropy, or disorder, only increases. To create order, it takes work. . Below is a short educational video from the Khan Academy about the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics if you are interested.
This then means we must take action to cause things to turn out a certain way. We also must keep in mind, however, since everything is connected, our actions impact all other things. We therefore should use strategies, as best we can, that are likely be multiply beneficial and not take actions that only switch the problem from one area to another. This is hard to think about, especially over the long term.
Human history is full of examples that provided short-term solutions that created long-term problems. Of course climate change is one of the most currently relevant example. With regard to climate change, fossil fuels were used because they provided a short-term solution that has powered our current high quality of life. Now, however, according to most available evidence, their uses have short-circuited our future.
As noted, we should always attempt to create interactions from which everyone and everything benefits. As you probably know, we all benefit from “Nudges” that help us move in the right direction. Included with this post is the “Nudge” my daughter shared with me that I believe provides an effective morning motivation that will encourage you to take action to “Make Your Day Great”.
Please let me know how this inspires you to generate comprehensive improvements. Being in the right frame of mind will help you create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please share effective methods you have used that benefit everyone and everything.
Everybody wants to get paid. It is also good to earn your pay, actually I recommend we always do more than we are being paid to do. I have also realized pay is not always monetary. Though money is vital, the best pay I get is not monetary. I say this, yet I am selfish. I want to live in a better world. To live in a better world I do things that evidence indicates make the world better. Although I will benefit, all of you also benefit. I also have come to realize that the much better world I want can only come about when all of us are the best versions of ourselves.
We all have greatness inside of us. This then means we have to enable all to develop and use competencies to create a better world. I tell my students, I ask you to work hard and develop competencies so you can go out and be great professionals. When you do great work, I get to live in a better world. It is all about me, but of course you also get to live in a better world that you helped create.
Beyond my teaching future professionals, sustainability uses the same concept. Being green seems to finally be the rage. However upon deeper review, it is not about being green, environmental or sustainable. Closer examination indicates it just a better way to do things, with regard to time, effort and financially…especially over the long term.
Deming preached that organizations should sell for the lowest price possible. He explained if they didn’t, any sales would not be long term because others would do it better for less and sales would move in that direction. In other words, we should always create the best thing possible, accounting for all impacts short and long term, while we also think about future impacts beyond the direct transaction.
I thought about this today as I was putting my compost in my backyard bin. I realized doing so made me feel good for going good. I got some extra physical activity, I decreased my waste, will grow good soil and benefit with a better garden next season. Also benefits I paid include no trip to local garden store for compost or topsoil, less trucks deliver soil – meaning cleaner air, less plastic wrapping, less cost, less garbage, cleaner world, better vegetables and I can feel good about it all.
Like I said, being green, and sustainable is not just the right thing to do, it is the better thing to do for many reasons. Actually, in total being environmental is a time multiplier as explained by Rory Vaden in his great TED talk, “How to Multiply Your Time” (see Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…). He explains we can multiply time by investing time today to give us more time tomorrow and time today to focus on the future. His explanation indicates being environmental has a high ROTI (Return On Time Invested).
So how do I get paid? I am paid in multiple ways, beyond it being a ROTI (Return on Time Invested). I get more fit from extra physical activity, intellectual growth from learning more, better food, save money, and as noted save time – over a longer term. Being environmental is a no brainer, or from another perspective, not being environmental is very wasteful with regard to time, health, well-being, and contributions. As Kahneman and Tversky documented, humans are loss averse so not being environmental is against our nature (see Build a Net Positive Life for ALL). An easy example is the environmental way I now enjoy my plant based milk, explained here: A Way to Practice Paneugenesis. Also don’t forget, as we are healthier our stronger immune system means we will also prevent more. Prevention however is a beneficial side-effect, a better life enjoyed is the main benefit.
To me the most rewarding part is I get to feel good about myself, I feel good for doing good. All the other reasons listed reinforce those feelings. It suggests to me I continually work to design my life in a way that generates comprehensive improvements by the creation of pervasive (it influences multiple areas of life and possibly others). It also allows me to be role model to my family, friends, and students, especially when it is understood actions speak louder than words.
These actions are also reciprocal (I benefit and others as much or more than I give). This also means these actions are selfish (I feel good for doing good) while also being selfless (the actions improve air, land, human rights, animal rights, human dignity, etc.). Overall being green is all about the ripple (see It is All about the Ripple…) because it is synergistic (all is connected so as improve the interactions this may improve the whole system) so everyone and everything benefits.
I hope this inspires you to take environmental actions, to not do this would be against you nature. What is the downside? How do you practice paneugenesis? Please share. Being environmental allows you to contribute to everyone and everything. Please share your environmental selfish, selfless, synergistic actions. Thank you.
This blog is my scratchboard. Like all of us, I have thoughts that seem to make a lot of sense. After I write them out, sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. This time they didn’t turn out as I had thought. Either way, writing about them helps me understand better. If they make sense, I share with you and hopefully they help you. At least in this case I am sharing what I learned.
If you find these posts useful, it is another way I practice paneugenesis by engaging in selfish, selfless, synergy. I am being selfish, because I help myself, selfless, by helping you, and synergistic because it helps us improve comprehensiveness of the world which may lead to creative solutions.
I encourage all of you to do the same to see if your sudden thoughts are an epiphany, which is a sudden insight, that can stand up to scrutiny. I had one of those sudden thoughts after listening to two podcasts. The first was I listened to was on Freakonomics, How to Fix the Hot Mess of U.S. Healthcare (Ep. 456). During this broadcast the discussed the 1% solutions for Health Care Reform led by Zack Cooper and Fiona Scott Morton at Yale.
In this presentation it was indicated that they were having trouble getting traction because leaders want to improve by 15%, not 1%. They indicated they were not interested if the change could not be more impactful. As explained in the Freakonomics podcast:
…I got off the stage and a senior executive came up and said, “Hey, this is great, but we don’t want research that tells us how to save 1 percent. We want you to do the research that tells us how to save 15 percent.”
COOPER: “There isn’t stuff that saves 15 percent. It’s a series of half-percent or 1 percent steps.”
In this podcast they reminded listeners about the importance of variation in systems that are from either common or special causes. Variation makes the outcomes less predictable, decreases quality and increases cost. The point was that if they attempted to decrease variation incorrectly, they would be tampering with the system by using misguided efforts to decrease variation. Tampering results in even worse outcomes.
The Deming Institute provides information about variation in the Knowledge of Variation post. On this page, it is explained that common cause variation is the natural result of the system. In contrast, special cause variations represents a unique event that is outside the system: for example, a natural disaster. Knowledge of variation can help people learn why something went right or wrong and what to do about it. Control charts can be used to determine if there its a common or special cause in the process.
Eliminating variation, be it from common or special causes, dramatically improves the outcome quality. Quality processes determined that 94% of the causes of poor outcomes are common causes. This means most improvement can be made by improving the normal processes. It also must be understood that unique improvement strategies must be used to eliminate either common or special causes.
I skipped over a lot about common and special cause variation. I thought I had an epiphany from reviewing and listening to Freakonomics about 1% solutions and Deming about common causes and special causes. The overlap is that most of the 1% solutions are common cause solutions, or regular process improvements which should be regular continuous process improvement methods.
I shared the post with a Deming Expert, Allen Scott and he made me aware of the error in my thinking. He shared my understanding was not up to date. As Dr. Wheeler explained,
This whole dichotomy of special causes being external to the system and common causes being internal to the system, and who is responsible for them,is simply nonsense that does not hold water.
Allen Scott also pointed out, “
I watched the video. A 1% anything is questionable. Probably meaningless variation. There will be a variation up and down. Things will vary by more than 1%. Then he quoted Shewhart, “The measure of quality no matter what the definition of quality may be is a variable.” (Shewhart, 1931)
Most importantly he explained, “The changes they speak of can only be proven or disproven statistically and the percent will then be found out. How will they know a one percent improvement is something they did and not a routine fluctuation? …A one percent change in any measure is probably routine (no difference). In math 2 numbers can be different and not the same. In analysis two numbers can be different and yet the same (homogeneous). The central question in improvement and analysis is homogeneity. The improvement must breach control limits to signal an improvement. That could be one percent or fifteen percent. We have to make a plot to know.”
My take away, 1% is probably mislabeled. It is probably just normal variation and it cannot be known without measures. If we want to improve, we should focus on continually improving the system in ways that are pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, and synergistic so everyone and everything benefits. We should continually ask, by what method might this work better? Critical thinking is key and asking experts (see Stop the Death of Expertise) will enable us to continually improve the process.
Please share your thoughts, what is your best technique for learning from experts?
Acknowledgement: Big Thank you to Allen Scott for his expert advice, with the help of Don Wheeler, for helping me with this post.
Life is full of positive and negative events. Both are necessary. The goal is to end up with more good than bad. Evolutionarily speaking we are more reactive to negative events, possibly because avoidance of those events was necessary or survival. The preference for negative events was documented by many researchers. These researchers also identified the need for positive interactions in our life to outnumber our negative events by about 3. The 3 to 1 ratio of positive to negative events was necessary to have net positive life according to Barbara Fredrickson’s and the Losada line, Corey Keyes with the Mental Health Continuum and many more. These findings replicated and documented the the original findings by Kahneman and Tversky that showed our innate tendency to be risk averse and to have what they termed loss aversion because negatives, or losing something, was more impactful and meaningful than the positives of a possible gain.
This means to create a Net Positive Life, we must cause good, do good and help many. To have a net positive life, we must consistently work at better ourselves, as we help others and our environment. In other words, the +3 life I discuss from selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions relates to how we can have a net positive life and exceed expectations:
These points were driven home again from my reading of the fantastic work by Bradley and Taylor in “The American Health Care Paradox: Why Spending More is Getting Use Less”. A book I strongly recommend you read. In the book they use powerful data to document how we are all in this together, and we do best when we help each other. With powerful clarity, they document something we all already innately know, better health cannot be achieved through medical means. They end the book with:
To that end, an ever-growing body of literature suggests that broadening Americans’ historically narrow focus on medicine in pursuit of improved national health may ultimately hold the key to unraveling the spend more, get less paradox.
While medicine is good at medical care, America does have the best emergency care, our lives and health are not linear, they have multiple causes. These multiple causes mean we need to also, if not primarily, focus on the social, behavioral and environmental non-medical determinants of health because it is more effective at improving quality of life as it also decreases the need for medical care.
Throughout history, America has made an attempt to support and improve non-medical care with community health centers, HMOs, and now ACO’s. Unfortunately, the power of the medical lobby and their concern over losing paying patients caused these efforts to be watered down to a focus on medical care. Without question, medical care is crucial for specific illnesses. Medical care is vital for acute, short term care, I am alive because of it. However a larger content is more predictive and necessary to improve public health. Bradley and Taylor also show us many successful efforts in America that resulted in better health. These attempts also were significantly less expensive and better for all involved.
America Actually Spends Less On Healthcare
With clarity, they demonstrate America does NOT spend the most on healthcare if you account for all the factors associated with health, not just medical care. Medical care and social services are interrelated. Nations that spend more on social services enjoy a higher quality of life and better health and spend much less on medical care – because it is not needed. America spends the most on treatment and rescue care because America’s system neglects the social, behavior and environmental determinants of health.
America’s neglect of social, behavioral and environmental determinants of health has resulted in very bad outcomes. Despite spending so much on medical treatment, America lags other peer nations in
Low birth weight
Injuries and homicides
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs),
Drug related deaths
Chronic lung disease, and
Quite an indictment of our current system. Medical care is good at treating disease, what it is designed to do, it is not good at creating health, it is not designed to do that, medicine is about eliminating disease. We must remember health is the PRESENCE of physical, mental and social well-being and NOT MERELY the absence of disease and infirmity. The movie, “Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare” by Shannon Brownlee demonstrates this in stunning clarity.
To build a net positive life for ourselves and our nation, we must generate comprehensive improvements by engaging in more social, behavioral and environmental interactions that facilitate health for all. I look forward to hearing about your selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions that help everyone and everything benefit.
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”.
Money follows, it cannot lead.
The “Best” following Toyotas 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 you 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. #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, this is how the Great Convergence in the early part of the 20th century happened. We 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.
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.
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).
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 Vote.gov.
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.
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, Episode 27: “Fall on Me,” with Craig Becker
“There’s the progress. We have found a way to talk around the problem. Building towered. Foresight isn’t anything at all.” – “Fall on Me,” by REM
What if we could re-capture what wellness is really about? What if we could strive to add more good, rather than focus on less bad? What if we moved away from a zero-sum prevention model to one that is expressive? Collaborative? Creative? Innovative? Isn’t that what wellness was, and always has been about?
In this episode of “Highway to Well,” Craig Becker and I traverse these questions as we discuss his work in, and the value of salutogenesis. Salutogenesis is the study of the origins of health and how it can be generated. Salutogenesis can cause chronic wellness, which is persistent positive conditions enabled through engagement in health causing actions, by helping us know what environments, behaviors and thoughts improve health and well-being.
Craig is a professor of Health Education & Promotion at East Carolina University. He has written for over100 national and international publications and provided presentations about how to create or cause health and generate positive outcomes, not just avoiding bad results. Craig has also developed a vast amount of tools and resources, including a wide collection of videos and blogposts.
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.
For us to create a better world, we have to ask the right questions. If we don’t ask the right questions, it is impossible to get the right answer. Asking the wrong questions means no matter how hard we work at getting the answers, we still won’t get what we want because we asked the wrong question. I better understood about the need to answer the right question when I heard more about the wrong questions when I listened to NPR’s Hidden Brain Podcast, “Slaying the ‘The Fee-For-Service Monster’ Moster of American Healthcare”.
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.
Patriot Act: Fans of Hasan Minhaj’s show urge Netflix to reconsider 19 August 2020
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.
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
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 shape. We 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.
On August 19, 2021 Seth Godin offered these supporting thoughts on Seth’s Blog:
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.