Advancing Salutogenesis Ideas

From my perspective, research, and general common sense, salutogenesis must be the idea we use to advance society to a better place. I also believe it should be understood, while it will be less bad, creating more good is the major attribute. A better reality, not possible now must be created. Salutogenesis is the origins of health. It is the idea, concept, theory, and approach to health that from my view is about the creation of good health beyond the absence of problems. It is not a better way to treat disease or discomfort, rather it is a way to create better outcomes not possible otherwise.

Last week, June 17-18, 2021, I participated and presented (virtually) in the 6th International Conference on Salutogenesis: Advancing Salutogenesis for thriving societies (see schedule here). It had been delayed due to COVID from April, 2020. The salutogenesis conference was included with the 11th IUHPE European Conference on Health Promotion.

I was also fortunate enough to participate in the 2nd Research Seminar on Salutogenesis in Finland in 2009. I presented, “What Makes People Thrive? The Salutogenesis Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS)“. (unsure how those linked slides got online – however they are accurate. Please contact me if you want to discuss). I am happy to see the idea of thriving continues.

Upon returning from the conference in Finland in 2009, I was concerned the idea of salutogenesis was being used pathogenically. By that I mean the salutogenic techniques discussed were more focused on treatment and helping people recover than on creating a new and better reality. Which also, by definition, must mean bad things get better or become less problematic. To voice this idea, my response was to publish the linked article, “Salutogenesis 30 Years Later: Where do we go from here?“. Nine years later, in 2019, those in Europe who chose not to participate in the article I published wrote a related linked article, “Future directions for the concept of salutogenesis: a position article“.

My Presentations

Fortunately, since this virtual conference started at 3am for me, it was in Girona, Spain, I was able to send videos of my scheduled presentations (below). Each 10 minute presentation was supposed to be a conversation starter to generate a discussion about how to advance salutogenesis.

My first presentation, for the Advancing the Measurement of SOC (Sense of Coherence) section was, “Measurement of Sense of Coherence Model Constructs using the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS)“. This 10 minute presentation suggested doing studies using both the SOC and SWPS measurement tools to learn about more effective methods to direct health improvement interventions. If you choose to watch, please share your thoughts.

My second presentation in the Multilevel salutogenic intervention section was, “Health Promotion Policy Implications of Salutogenesis: Evidence from the Literature“. This 10 minute presentation was about how to advance the idea of salutogenesis beyond health. If you choose to watch, please share your thoughts.

If you watch these presentations and it generates ideas or thoughts, please share. Of course each of these ideas are an attempt to help generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. As I have noted previously, salutogenesis is an effective way to practice paneugenesis or create all good. I look forward to hearing from you about how we can advance the ideas of salutogenesis.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Make Work/Life Balance a Benefit

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, Work-Life Balance is defined as: the amount of time you spend doing your job compared with the amount of time you spend with your family and doing things you enjoy. That is confusing, by definition that means you do not enjoy time at work. W. Edwards Deming, the famous quality management expert strived to help people experience “Joy in Work”

If we are entitled to Joy in Work, doesn’t that mean work should be a benefit, not a balance? Why are we only shooting for balance? What does that mean? We should generate a Work Life Benefit! We should design our life at work with the aim to have our experiences at work and life outside of work be reciprocally beneficial. Life should be mutually beneficial and reinforcing.

We gain skills at home and work by developing relationships and understanding how to be more competent at tasks. Our increased competency in each area of our lives should make the other parts better – if they are not, some adjustments are needed. Realize, this is a choice.

The idea that the impact work has on us is a choice was explained in the Harvard Business Review Article, Work-Life Balance Is a Cycle, Not an Achievement by Ioana Lupu & Mayra Ruiz-Castro. The article explains balancing work and life is “… not a one-time activity, but rather a cycle of continuous re-evaluation and improvement.” The article however is mostly focused on how to make sure work doesn’t cause problems. They recommend using these 5 steps:

  1. Pause & denormalize
  2. Pay attention to your emotions
  3. Reprioritize
  4. Consider your alternatives
  5. Implement changes

These steps can be valuable if used proactively to make work and life mutually beneficial, not just less damaging. I recommend we change the perspective towards seeing how we develop and become a better person and actively make work a benefit, not a burden.

In other words, our aim each day should be to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions at work and home so everyone and everything benefits. As we do that we will develop not just a work/life balance, but a work/life benefit.

Please share how you create work/life benefit.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Get in the box

I noticed I had several drafts about the same theme. In all these drafts I was wondering, why do people believe I think outside the box?

Out of the Box thinking is described to be when people think in an original or creative way.

I had always assumed that thinking outside the box meant you were being creative and finding better solutions. I assumed it meant you did not accept traditional norms and that a person thinking outside the box was not doing things the way they were always done. This is accurate, in a sense, however there is more to “Outside the Box Thinking”, at least according to Wikipedia, and it all started with 9-Dot Puzzle.

What Would be “Thinking Outside the Box?

I work in the health field and my focus is on what creates, generates or causes better physical, mental and social well-being. How is that original or out of the box thinking? Couldn’t that represent in the box thinking, just from a different angle? While I don’t go directly at well-being, I focus obliquely on factors associated with improved well-being such as relationships, personal and group development, physical activity and food selection. Although the goal is not specifically well-being, it is pretty direct. We also know that John Kay explained to us why, For Complex, Oblique(Obliquity) is More Effective.

Well-being, life, health and society are about as complex as it gets. This then suggests that traditional and prevailing approaches may not be as effective as they could be. This may also may explain why traditional approaches in health, business and the environment could benefit from a different perspective. From an outsiders view, it seems they started by thinking outside the box and need a better perspective. Lets review:

For Business: thinking generally focuses around how to decrease costs and avoid problems…Instead of thinking how can we serve customers better while we also, simultaneously, clean the air, land and water from their uses. In other words how can we be multipliers of our time (see: Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…) For many, and based on how society has progressed, it appeared our “Take, Make, Waste” system was effective. However, if we take a different perspective in the box, as Ray Anderson did with “Interface”, that takes into account that everyone and everything is connected. Using this approach, Ray demonstrated how we can be even more effective, efficient, profitable as we also improve everyone and everything. (see We Must Make It Better – Saving the Planet not Enough!)

For the Environment: thinking generally focuses on how to clean up problems, using the “Take, Make, Waste” to bend nature to our will….Instead of thinking how an we work with nature as all other creatures on earth has done to live in a way that makes life more livable. The idea of living in ways that generate a “Net Positive” has been outlined by Jane Benyus, Kate Raworth and many others (see: Parallel NOT Linear Means Create Positive AND Prevent Negative, Aim to Thrive, Not Just Grow for a Better Tomorrow)These ideas have also been operationalized by McDonough and Braungart in Cradle to Cradle and Upcycle.

In Health: thinking generally focuses on how to treat diseases and or avoid risk factors…Instead of thinking how can we increase physical, mental and social well-being. The majority of the focus and effort being used by health is how to find disease and treat it. It is as if we are trying to be a day late and a dollar short with regard to improved well-being by “Thinking Outside the Box”. We could be in the box using Antonovsky’s salutogenesis and focusing on what causes health. Many of these ideas are capture here: We Need to Use the 3rd Alternative

As I reviewed this information about “Thinking Outside the Box”, a proverb came to mind:

“To change and to improve are two different things.”

German proverb

Time for a Reboot

Sometimes we need a new start, a reboot. We need a reboot because now some things are backward, upside down and confused. Let’s get in box and use a better perspective. Life is all about probabilities. It is time to turn the tables in our favor by getting “In the Box” and using a better, “Net Positive” focus and perspective that uses oblique factors related to helping everyone and everything.

A “Net Positive” results from using a Selfish, Selfless, Synergy focus. Selfish, Selfless, Synergy efforts help generate comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, or the practice of paneugenesis. Please share you engage in #SelfishSelflessSynergy so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Bringing it All Together is Progress

Last week in my post, Being Paid in Multiple Ways, and in many others I have emphasized how quality, environmentalism and generating health can generate comprehensive benefits from which everyone and everything can benefit. Evidence suggests these methods that bring all these benefits together are more efficient, less expensive, impact more people in a positive way and are better for the environment, which of course helps everyone and everything.

In other words, a lot of my posts are what Rory Vaden called “Time Multipliers” (see Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…) because over time, they give you more time to do what you want to do. It reminded me of how Steve Jobs explained the computer was a bicycle for the mind because it helped you do things better and faster. Steve explains this concept here and below.

All this came to mind as I was listening to Amber McReynolds TED talk, “An election system that puts voters (not politicians) first”. She describes a voting system that brought everything together and showed how it helps everyone learn more, do more and be more involved. The voting system she describes can help our government be a bicycle for society. Better voting from more educated citizens enables a better system that will function more efficiently. I strongly encourage you to listen to Amber’s talk – it is very powerful and empowering.

I also realized this post is overdue, especially after learning more about the hidden massacres like the described in this NYTImes Daily Episode, The Burning of Black Tulsa. If we work together, many answers will evolve that can help everyone and everything make progress. As we all know, voting is a current issue and Biden puts Harris in charge of efforts to protect voting rights. If we use Amber McReynolds ideas, we can not just protect voting rights, we can improve the voting system.

Please share how you will help empower and enable yourself and others to be the best version of themselves so you can feel the glow and pride for acting in selfish, selfless, synergistic ways. I believe this this was captured well by Simon Sinek and Time Shriver podcast in Episode 34: Learning to Love with Tim Shriver. Though they talk about problems, it seemed they were promoting us to help others more and to practice paneugenesis by doing selfish, selfless, synergistic actions.

My hypothesis, that has been supported by a lot of evidence, is we can generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic acts that benefit everyone and everything. What do you think?

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

NYC’s Selfless, Selfless, Synergy

This post is of the the review I created for New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and Transformation by Thomas Dyja. I am also posting it here because from my reading and the data provided in this book, it suggests NYC practices paneugenesis. The book documents how NYC generates comprehensive improvements and how these improvements were caused to happen. Specifically, the book outlines how these improvements became more likely from fan environmental design to create pervasive reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions, so everyone and everything benefits. While this was the aim of must, it was interesting to learn about the interactive process required to make it work. Overall it is a great read and I encourage you to read his book. It documents how the findings of Glaeser play out in life (see Updated Review of Edward Glaeser’s Triumph of the City).

Here is the review I posted on Google Books and in Goodreads:

New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and Transformation by Thomas Dyja ©2021 provides a wonderful history of New York City’s roller coast ride it has taken over the last 40 Years. The book traces how the city evolved and or receded and how those changes related to who was mayor. The book takes off after Beame was mayor then Ed Koch, David Dinkins, Rudy Guiliani, Michael Bloomberg and finally the current mayor, Bill de Blasio. It was interesting to see how each mayor handled the diversity and needs of the city and how each responded to crises such as market crashes, police abuse of citizens, and 9-11. Overall, from my reading, the changes that worked supported Ed Glaeser’s research outlined in his research and book, “Triumph of the City: How our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier”. As Dyja documents, people in NYC were richer, healthier and happier in large part because they lived in NYC. Glaeser also would support that NYC was greener and smarter due to the high density and continuous interactions of people in NYC.

I encourage you to read the many interesting parts of this book. I took special note of the value of having a clean city with good services, shared public spaces, good education and affordable housing. Time and again, those solutions are what appeared to make NYC a better place to live and work or everyone. He also continually noted the problem of police abuse. Policing was vital to helping NYC go from a very dangerous place to being a place that was very safe to live. He suggested, as is true throughout our country, a better solution must be found to maintain a low crime rate. His recommendations for the continued re-imagination of NYC after COVID is the development of more community, backyard and roof gardens, especially in underserved areas, more community functions that facilitate interactions and healthy foods, and police reform. He also suggested more support for transit, transportation and parks to help people feel good about the city. Overall, from my reading it seems he is suggesting the continued development of a built environment that Nudges people toward selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. We need cities that help people be better versions of themselves and this book explains how that is possible.

In other words, practicing paneugenesis not only helps you, it can help a city thrive and that city can help a state, country and world improve, It is All about the Ripple… or how interactions impact others and the impact of those interactions. From reading this book, I thought of ways I can be a better citizen in my city and be more involved. If you read it and you take action in your city, please share how you have helped your city generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergsitic interactions that carry the potential to ripple out so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

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 perspe

ctive, 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!

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Freedom of Speech Has Evolved

How do you feel about freedom of speech? Should people be allowed to say whatever they want? What if what is said causes harm? How can that be regulated? Sometimes people say things they believe are true but are wrong. How can that be regulated? Should different people be held to different standards?

Sharing our thoughts with others and getting others thoughts is what helps everyone improve and develop their ideas. The sharing of thoughts and critical feedback is vital to generating better ideas. The ability to provide critical feedback is allowed by the first amendment in the Bill of Rights.

Interestingly, we can now say much more than we used to be able to say. Comedians were previously arrested for saying things they now say. We now take that as our right, however that is a fairly recent change. I often wondered why comedians used to get in trouble. I learned from the excellent “RadioLab” Podcast that much of what we now understand as our first amendment rights were formed from the work of the great Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. According to this accounting, Holmes went through a dramatic transformation. I encourage you to listen and share your thoughts about this podcast: What Up Holmes? on Radiolab

Description of What Up Holmes? Podcast: Love it or hate it, the freedom to say obnoxious and subversive things is the quintessence of what makes America America. But our say-almost-anything approach to free speech is actually relatively recent, and you can trace it back to one guy: a Supreme Court justice named Oliver Wendell Holmes. Even weirder, you can trace it back to one seemingly ordinary 8-month period in Holmes’s life when he seems to have done a logical U-turn on what should be say-able.  Why he changed his mind during those 8 months is one of the greatest mysteries in the history of the Supreme Court.  (Spoiler: the answer involves anarchists, a house of truth, and a cry for help from a dear friend.)  Join us as we investigate why he changed his mind, how that made the country change its mind, and whether it’s now time to change our minds again.

Henry Olsen’s May 5, 2021 Washington Post Column, Opinion: Mark Zuckerberg must decide the fate of Trump’s Facebook account. He should turn to the First Amendment suggested a good standard for First Amendment free speech rights. He suggested the standard to be adopted come from the US Supreme Courts decision in Brandenburg vs. Ohio. In this decision the court held that speech loses its constitutional protection only when “such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless actions and is likely to inciter produce such action”. This feedback provided by the Supreme Court is helpful in determine what should be protected speech.

On May 25, 2021, The NYTimes Daily Podcast presented this related episode about freedom of speech as it relates to students and schools, “A Cheerleader, a Snapchat Post and the Supreme Court“.

A Cheerleader, a Snapchat Post and the Supreme CourtInside the unusual sequence of events behind one of the most important student free speech cases for 50 years.Open now

Use of speech and conversations are valuable because providing helpful critical feedback and engaging with others in scholarly debate is a way to Practice Paneugenesis. Giving feedback enables us to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish (you share your thoughts), selfless (others learn from you), synergistic (a better idea is generated) interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Please share how you use your first amendment rights to generate comprehensive improvements.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Progress, Not Problem Focus Essential

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

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

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

The same question was asked in an April 8, 2021 NYT article, “Does It Hurt Children to Measure Pandemic Learning Loss?” This article questions if we are stigmatizing a generation. I encourage you to read this linked article and share your thoughts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ben Saunders

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

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

A 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!

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

A Way to Practice Paneugenesis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Stop the Death of Expertise

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

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

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

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

Tom Nichols, Death of Expertise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

More than a “Whack a Mole” Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

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!

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

#GoodMorning

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

 

Survival of the Fittest Misleading

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

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

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

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

books

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

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

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

Be Well’r,

Please share your thoughts and questions below.