Innate Reflex to Overcome

Despite the belief we have an evolved status, our detrimental reflex or automatic response to reject new ideas is problematic. Is this innate human quality keeping us from being all we can be? It is time for an improved response.

Is it Hard Wired?

As Daniel Kahnman and others have made clear, humans have a fast reptilian brain and a slower advanced brain in our prefrontal cortex. The Semmelweis Reflex comes to us automatically from the older, faster part of our brain. To overcome this automatic reflex, we will need to ponder ideas and critically analyze their implications using logic. Doing this has proven profoundly beneficial to forward-thinking companies that aim to make a positive impact. Interface Global, which was driven by the late Ray Anderson, provides a model. See, We Must Make It Better – Saving the Planet is not Enough!

Humans are Logical?

Despite being advanced, logical creatures, we humans are hesitant to accept new and better ideas. Although skepticism is good, missing better ideas has caused problems, especially since they are accepted as self-evident in the end. In a 2020 article in World Neurosurgery, it is explained that the innate age-old prejudice for belief perseverance is called the Semmelweis Reflex (by Gupta et al. The article goes on to explain it is a primal human tendency to stick to preexisting beliefs, which also means rejection of contradictory fresh ideas.


I find it interesting how things often seem to overlap. I guess they are coincidences. This coincidence relates to the Semmelweis Reflex and the new TV series Extrapolations on Apple TV+. As noted, the Semmelweis reflex is the primal human tendency to stick to preexisting beliefs and rejection of new contradictory ideas.

Ignaz Semmelweis discovered the lifesaving doctrine of handwashing to reduce the death of new mothers giving birth. Despite solid evidence showing a dramatic benefit from handwashing, his advice was ignored and ridiculed. Rejecting new ideas, despite the evidence, seems to happen often. So often, most of us are familiar with what has been proposed as the stages of Revolutionary Ideas:

Stages of Revolutionary Ideas

  1. Ridiculed
  2. Opposed Violently
  3. Accepted as self-evident

Extrapolations Semmelweis Reflex

The new Apple TV+ show, Extrapolations, explores and attempts to show what will happen on Earth if we continue our current ways. Throughout the series, actors have a Semmelweis Reflex because they refuse to believe the realities of climate change they are experiencing. Again and again, they highlight how difficult it can be to change human behavior because we must counteract our innate Semmelweis Reflex. As noted by actors in the show, “…What bothers me is hypocrisy…”; people want comfort and ease, and then they are outraged by its consequences. They also said, “The problem has never been technology. The problem is us.” It’s time to overcome the Semmelweis Reflex.

Reviews of Extrapolations by NPR and Guardian are here and here. Below is one of the trailers.

Positive Health’s Semmelweis Reflex

Throughout my career, I have been attempting to counteract the Semmelweis Reflex in myself and others. After suffering from a near-fatal car accident, I knew to have the life I desired I had to cause more good to happen and not just fix what was broken. I recovered and earned a PhD which has enabled me to focus my career on ways to build the interdependent science of personal and planetary positive health.

The Semmelweis Reflex causes people to say we must focus on what is wrong before we can make things better. However, as most of us know, if we spend all of our time fixing what is wrong, we don’t have the ability to create what will be good.

The inability to focus on creating good was captured by a story told by Irving Zola – but is used in an article by John B. McKinlay in “A Case for Refocusing Upstream: The Political Economy of Illness” McKinlay, J.B. (1981).

“I am standing by the shore of a swiftly flowing river and hear the cry of a drowning man.  I jump into the cold waters.  I fight against the strong current and force my way to the struggling man. I hold on hard and gradually pull him to shore.  I lay him out on the bank and revive him with artificial respiration.

Just when he begins to breathe, I hear another cry for help.

I jump into the cold waters. I fight against the strong current, and swim forcefully to the struggling woman.  I grab hold and gradually pull her to shore.  I lift her out on the bank beside the man and work to revive her with artificial respiration.

Just when she begins to breathe,  I hear another cry for help. 

I jump into the cold waters.  Fighting again against the strong current,  I force my way to the struggling man.  I am getting tired,  so with great effort I eventually pull him to shore.  I lay him out on the bank and try to revive him with artificial respiration.

Just when he begins to breathe, I hear another cry for help.

Near exhaustion,  it occurs to me that I’m so busy jumping in,  pulling them to shore, applying artificial respiration that I have no time to see

who is upstream pushing them all in….”

A story told by Irving Zola – but is used in an article by John B. McKinlay in “A Case for Refocusing Upstream: The Political Economy of Illness” McKinlay, J.B. (1981)

Take Action!

Promoting personal and planetary health is self-evident after it is done. As we know, taking these actions is often ridiculed and opposed, as is predicted for any revolutionary ideas. This means to improve personal and planetary health, we must first overcome our Semmelweis Reflex.

We can overcome this innate reflex by practicing paneugenesis. To practice paneugenesis means to proactively create more good by generating comprehensive improvements through the creation of regenerative, net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please share how you proactively practice paneugenesis…instead of waiting to save people from drowning.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me:

Mundane mobility is all good

I recently had the opportunity to attend the NCBikeWalk Summit. The conference was a good reminder of the tremendous impact communities have on our lives. The focus of the summit was on “active mobility” and a move away from our car-centric communities. This is good from many perspectives, most especially for our quality of life as it also reduces our reliance on fossil fuels.

I learned a great deal at this summit, including learning from Melody Warnick about how we can better our home and develop “Place Attachment” by walking and biking. I encourage you to review her resources here. I also discussed her work in the post Prevention Can Be Harmful.

David Zipper also provided a fantastic keynote. He captured the simple concept of mundane mobility. As he states in his excellent article, “It’s Time for Some Cheap and Boring Transportation Solutions”, rather than paying to get the next expensive invention such as a hyperloop or autonomous vehicles, we should develop “Mundane Mobility solutions” because they

“…actually work…don’t grab headlines, but… also (won’t) break a city’s budget or trigger angry pushback”

David Zipper in “It’s Time for Some Cheap and Boring Transportation Solutions

This means instead of having FOMO – or Fear of Missing Out – as he explains in the article, “What does FOMO have to do with urban mobility policy?, we should focus on better ways to commute. FOMO should have nothing to do with policy, but in reality, it impacts policy quite a bit”. He suggests FOMO should not impact policy because cities should “…embrace whatever solutions can bring the most benefit to the most people”. As he documents, these mundane include greenways, biking lanes, pedestrian cities, and other simple ideas desired by many.

Melody Warnick even highlighted that 60% want walkable and bike-able neighborhoods. It was this strong desire that generated the creation of a Walk Score so people could choose cities that make walking and biking easier by being more accessible. Walk score rates a city’s walkable opportunities. Walkability has become so desired and valuable that it is even being used by real-estate sites such as Zillow so they can better evaluate neighborhoods. It impacts our lives. Studies show walkers are happier than commuters. One study suggests if walkers became commuters they would need a 40% raise to get the same satisfaction.

Overall, mundane mobility can generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions from which everyone and everyone benefits. Mundane mobility is another way to practice paneugenesis to create all good. Please share how mundane mobility has impacted your life. Do you walk or commute? Which do you prefer? Why?…


Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me:

Salutogenic Bacteria

Most times we hear about pathogenic or disease-causing bacteria. There are however many wonderful Salutogenic or health-causing bacteria. It is another example of our amazing body. I learned about his amazing process when reading the advice column, “Ask the Doctors”, by Eve Glazier, M.D., and Elizabeth Ko, M.D. In their 8/23 column. They informed us:

..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). They found that brushing your tongue and using antiseptic mouthwash can damage the tongue’s microbiome and inhibit its ability to regulate blood pressure. Yes, the tongue also has a microbiome. It’s 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 a Great Week.


Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me:

Walking, Talking Contradictions

Humans are contradictions. Often we say one thing but mean another. It is not our fault, eliminating these contradictions in life is difficult. Often this state is referred to as cognitive dissonance (the state of having inconsistent thoughts, and beliefs), and it can create unease, 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.

The Most Painfully Idiotic Contradictions You Have Ever Seen – Vappingo

Desiring Change

Most people say they do not want to change, yet it is always chosen. We choose to 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 minds. This is cognitive dissonance.

Seeing things differently is what has enabled all of the human development. The microscope, telescope, and different opinions have 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 provide a path to a better life.

Often when we think of change we think about the difficulties of doing something new and possibly 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?


Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me:

Tear Jerking Fathers Day Present

My daughter sent me this TikTok video on Fathers Day in 2022.

I guess this means being a “Dorky Dad” is ok?!?!

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.


Craig M. Becker, PhD

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me:

Is being a CodeBreaker best?

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.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Make it Great Day!

My daughter shared a “Morning MotivationDecide 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. 

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Being Paid in Multiple Ways

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.

It is selfish for me to help you have a great and impactful life. For any of you following me, you know this is how to practice paneugenesis (see video and many examples on my blog including: Gaming to Learn how to Practice Paneugenesis, My Sister Practiced Paneugenesis and Everything Benefitted!, Example of How to Practice Selfish Selfless Synergy or Paneugenesis, Support for the Practice of Paneugenesis so Everything Benefits,The Opposite of Paneugenesis?? and others).

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 OTime 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.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.

A 1% solution is a misnomer

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.”

Cooper and Morton rightly countered that implementing many of these 1% solutions would make a significant positive impact. This led to the One-Percent Steps for Healthcare Reform Project

The other podcast I listened to was from the W. Edwards Deming Institute: Deming Lens #46 – The Art of Tampering.

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.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Build a Net Positive Life for ALL

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 

  • Life expectancy
  • Infant mortality
  • Low birth weight
  • Injuries and homicides
  • Adolescent pregnancy
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs),
  • HIV Aids
  • Drug related deaths
  • Obesity, diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Chronic lung disease, and
  • Disability rates

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.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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


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”.

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.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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


Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me:

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.


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: