Kushner Created Meaning

I learned from the linked article in the Washington Post that Harold Kushner, a rabbi whose books brought solace to millions, died at 88. He was a hero of mine. I have read most of his over a dozen books and found them all helpful. I was especially touched by his most famous Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” It meant a lot to me as I recovered from a near-fatal car accident in 1984 that killed the driver and the other 2 passengers in the car. I have re-read that book many times, each time learning more. His books helped me contemplate meaning and purpose.

Meaning & Purpose

Meaning and purpose in life are desires of most of us. Rabbi Kushner provides us with many clues on how to find it. I have contemplated questions about meaning and purpose in these posts: Meaning from Meaninglessness, Making Sense of Chaos, Meaninglessness, Disorientation, and Randomness & Creating Outcomes. Also, the post, Everything Happens for a Reason! Make it Good! relates to what I got from my many readings of Harold Kushner’s book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.”

Although the book became a bestseller, the obituary stated that Kushner wrote the book to “redeem my son’s death from meaninglessness” and to try to understand why the world is not fair. His son died as a teenager from progeria, the rapid aging disease. As he contemplated the bad things that happened to him, his conclusions were another example of an undoing of tradition. Kahneman and Tversky’s extensive scientific work demonstrated breakthroughs generally break with traditional practice. Michael Lewis reviewed their work in his book, “The Undoing Project,” and I discussed their work in my “Undoing” Needed to Create Better!” post.

Rabbi broke with traditions by giving up the belief that God was good, but not all-powerful. As he explained,

…“If I, walking through the wards of a hospital, have to face the fact that either God is all-powerful but not kind, or thoroughly kind and loving but not totally powerful, I would rather compromise God’s power and affirm his love,” Rabbi Kushner once told NPR.

…“The theological conclusion I came to is that God could have been all-powerful at the beginning, but he chose to designate two areas of life off-limits to his power,” he continued. “He would not arbitrarily interfere with laws of nature, and secondly, God would not take away our freedom to choose between good and evil.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/obituaries/2023/05/04/harold-kushner-bad-things-good-people/

Below is a short video summary of “When Bad Things Happen to Good People:”

I hope this helps in your search for meaning and purpose. If you have not read his book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” I strongly recommend you do. It is a short book, just over 100 pages, but very powerful. It helped lay the foundation for how I work to create meaning and purpose in my life. I do this by working to generate comprehensive benefits by creating regenerative, net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please share how you generate meaning and purpose in your life.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

Square Roots are a Critical Mass

Most of us promote ideas and attempt to transform people toward better methods. While it seems we must get all to agree or help those least interested in change, a more straightforward approach is recommended. We should help those interested, not those predisposed to be obstinate. This distinction is essential and is what I teach my students when encouraging healthy behaviors. It is important to work with those interested because:

  1. Working with those who are not interested is exhausting.
  2. Only a few need to change to bring about widespread change.

Critical Mass

Critical mass is defined as the minimum amount of fissile material needed to maintain a nuclear chain reaction. However, as discussed by Everett Rogers in Diffusion of Innovations, a critical mass is the minimum size or amount of something required to start or maintain a movement. The size of a critical mass to start movement has been shown to be quite small.

The best explanation for this concept was captured by Dr. W. Edwards Deming. He is cited to have indicated a critical mass is the square root of an organization. To learn more, I recommend the Deming Institute podcast, In Their Own Words, episode “What is the Critical Mass for Transformation?”

That means if the organization has 100 people, only 10 people need to be followers. If the group is 3000, only 55, and if it is 30,000, only 173 people need to be converted to start a movement. Understanding this, enables us to realize change can happen. This also highlights why Myron Tribus advised we should:

“Preach to the masses, work with volunteers.”

Myron Tribus

What does this mean?

This means change can happen, and we don’t have to change everyone, at least at first. A small critical mass will bring about widespread change. Although we still should promote to all, we should focus on the most receptive to generate comprehensive improvements, not those that require vast resources because they are uninterested. Getting a small critical mass started can start a movement, and improvements will evolve from interested people that create net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Derek Sivers demonstrates all these important lessons about gathering a critical mass to create widespread change in his 3-minute TED presentation, How to Start a Movement. Siver’s excellent talk is also posted at Lets Start (Continue) this Positive Health Movement.

Please share how you start a movement by working with a small group of interested people. As Margaret Meade said long ago,

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

Amazing Impossible Science

Impossible Science, as designed, developed, and presented by Jason Latimer, is something we all need to see. It is incredible and wonderful. It helped me realize our potential. As he explained,

“The only thing separating the possible from the impossible was the individual wondering about the right question…Wonder changes the world.”

Jason Latimer

Incredible Opportunity

I was amazed, awed, and grateful for the opportunity to Jason Latimer at the Arizona Science Museum in March 2023. I can’t put into words the awe-inspiring feelings generated by watching his amazing presentation. What impressed me was his continual message that he did not want to trick us like a magician; rather, he wanted us to wonder and…ask the right question. As he noted often, “It’s the right question that changes everything.”

Girl Scouts

DESCRIPTION PROVIDED FOR ARIZONA SCIENCE MUSEUM SHOW:

Jason Latimer, World Champion of Magic and the Curator of Impossible Science, will change your understanding of what is possible!

Impossible Science LIVE’s unique blend of science and magic takes audiences on the journey of making the impossible possible through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. From the foundation of all science and discovery to the leading edge of technology and innovation, this live performance demonstrates how the right question changes everything. Latimer integrates all fields of science into mind-blowing illusions that will inspire your sense of wonder.

Learn how to see beyond the illusion! Challenge your understanding of engineering and physics as Latimer walks through solid objects. Discover the power of curiosity and chemistry as Jason forms water into objects. From bending light with his hands to drawings that come to life, you will not want to miss this wonderful science experience.

“Our next cure, next technology, or next revolutionary change will come from a question that has never been asked. It’s a wonder that changes the world. It’s the right question that changes everything.” —Jason Latimer

AZ SCIENCE MUSEUM

When I went to visit the Arizona Science Museum to see, Dogs! A Science Tail, I noticed a poster for “Impossible Science.” Their response was that it was a great show and I should attend. Surprisingly, we had not seen it advertised previously. It seems they have improved the advertisements now – which is great!

The show was great because it was LIVE. Jason Latimer himself performed for 45 minutes. I strongly recommend you see him live if possible and if not review his many YouTube videos and subscribe to his channel.

The “tricks,” which were actually science, were amazing. While you can see him push balls through glasses on the YouTube video below, I saw him do it LIVE – WOW!

l also saw the airplane that flies forever, an amazing card trick, bending light, shaping water without a container, and so much more. Many are shown in the TED talk and more below.

GREAT TED TALK by Jason Latimer

If you do nothing else, watch and be amazed by his TED Talk. As you will see, he asked the right questions, and that made all the difference.

TED Takeaways

For me, there are multiple takeaways from his talk, and below are a few I found especially important:

At about 2:45 minutes: “…What are these new rules and what is ultimately possible?…”

For me, this is the mindset needed to generate Idealized Outcomes, the first step of the Paneugenesis Process. For this, we must wonder what could be but is not possible now. He did this later in the presentation when he controlled and shaped water. Which we thought could never be done??

At about 4:35: “…The right question changes everything…”

For me, this means we must constantly use and develop critical thinking skills.

About 9 minutes: “…The internet is incredible. The accessibility to information is undermining wonder…we gave the internet its answers…despite all its information, despite all its answers, (it) doesn’t think. It doesn’t wonder where the information came from and it does not challenge what it knows. Search engines do not determine what is right or wrong, just what is relevant…”

at about 10:50 minutes: “…most of the wrong ideas were true at one time…”

at about 12 minutes: “…the world was not shaped but its answers, it was shjaped by its questions…”

For me, he was promoting that we all can do good.

Creating All Good

From my perspective and understanding, he is the ultimate producer of all good. He teaches us how to continually improve the process to generate better results. He helps all of us be better versions of ourselves. He helps us rediscover wonder by asking the right questions. His work can help us redefine what is possible. Right now, a new version of better, beyond the absence of problems, must be created. By using what Jason Latimer teaches us with Impossible Science, these methods can help us imagine how to create a better future and how to generate idealized outcomes.

New Idealized Outcomes will generate comprehensive improvements that will be created through net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Jason Latimer helps us understand how we can Practice Paneugenesis!

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

Why is it “Health” Care?

I have always been confused by the term “Health” care. We get care when we are sick, not when we are healthy. It is “sick” care.

I am also confused because it suggests we have health if we eliminate a disease or problem. The absence of illness is not the presence of health. Health is the presence of physical, mental, and social well-being. It is not just the absence of problems. The presence of well-being, not the absence of disease and infirmity, is precisely how the World Health Organization defines health:

Of course, they may also learn ways to decrease incidents of the same problem, but they have not learned how to be better.

As I write this, I realize this idea bleeds into so much else. On May 19, 2021, in the NYT’s Daily Podcast, “Nine Days in Gaza,” the host Michael Barbaro asked Rahf Hallaq about how it was to live in Gaza. He said, “It seems absolutely horrible due to terror and the unknown about the destruction that may come at any moment.” Despite these terrible circumstances, Michael Barbaro asked her about her dreams. Her dreams?

Is this approach wrong? Could we be backward, upside down, and confused about how we attempt to help? Could this be the best way to help? Without question, we need to help people in crisis. The crisis, however, must, by its nature, be short-term and acute. Evidence suggests dreaming about a better future beyond just not bad motivates solutions. Visualizing an inspiring future may be necessary to get beyond the emotional pain and anger of the situation.

What do you think? What are your dreams? How will you generate comprehensive improvements? What motivates you to want to create a better tomorrow? What will inspire you to develop net-positive, pervasive reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits? 

For me, an “Idealized Outcome,” something better than is possible now, would motivate me to generate all good – something that we can all work together toward achieving. I look forward to hearing how you are working to generate all good through the practice of paneugenesis.

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

Need More Good Progress(DD#1)

I am reading Austin Kleon’s short book, “Show Your Work.” His book recommends a daily dispatch that shows your work and documents progress. For years, I have been developing techniques, strategies, and practices to generate more good, not just less bad. I need to do more, so I am adopting his strategy of posting regular work dispatches. Here is an overview of my progress to date.

More Good Progress…so far

I have been working on this task for over 30 years. My mission is to emphasize more good focus for the long term. Less bad is essential in short-term, acute situations. I have yet to hear that people disagree with this effort, but the idea has not diffused or circulated as needed. The focus on less bad or less pathology dominates our world. Therefore, I will use Austin Kleon’s advice and post my work to hold myself accountable.

During my efforts to date, I have been working as a professor since 2001 and have a Ph.D. from Arizona State University. I have about 100 national and international publications and presentations about how to create or cause good health, which, as research has also demonstrated, effectively prevents or ends bad health…as a by-product. This work is summarized in the linked publication about the paneugenesis model, “Going on Offense to Promote Health Promotion Gains.” Additionally, the linked 2019 article by colleague Dr. Michael Stellefson discusses this idea by categorizing these efforts as a promotion of “Chronic Wellness.” For more, see the article, Planting a Tree Model for Public Health: Shifting the Paradigm Toward Chronic Wellness

If you are interested and have time, below are some links to presentations, papers, and online resources to my work. The best way to learn about my work is the 17-minute linked presentation, Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad. I gave this talk to the sustainability committee at East Carolina University (ECU).  

A short linked paper, “Creating Positive Health: It is More than Risk Reduction,” describes my approach to generating positive outcomes and not just avoiding bad results. Another published linked paper, “Salutogenesis 30 Years Later: Where do we go from here?”,  is about salutogenesis and describes how using this health-causing or creating framework/theory could help. A comparison of the traditional pathogenesis approach and salutogenesis is available in the often viewed (over 35k views) YouTube video: Pathogenesis & Salutogenesis with this 2021 update. I have also posted this video, Exceeding Expectations, about how to do better than not bad.

My work has resulted in developing the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale for Young Adults, Adults, Older Adults, and Arabic populations. I have also worked on a childhood version for schools to improve health and education. If you are interested, see this article, Pilot Assessment of the Scholar Checklist: A Tool for Early Childhood Health & Education.

If you are interested in learning more about these scales, I linked an article validating my positive health scale, “Validity Evidence for the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS).” I have also linked an article about how focusing on generating more good helped us understand what helps students thrive. The study used the SWPS to measure the process, and what we learned about the student’s lifestyle process and it relates to doing well is described in the”What Helps Students Thrive” article.

Other videos about my work are available on my YouTube channel. In addition, this is a link to this blog on Positive Health Leadership, where I explore many related topics in over 400 posts. This blog also can be reached at www.bewellr.com. Please contact me if you have any ideas, thoughts, concerns, complaints, suggestions, or questions or are interested in learning more. 

Now What??

Unfortunately, I have not made desired progress in transforming society toward more good, not just less bad. However, I will forge ahead, and I hope you will help. My current efforts focus on disseminating these positive health ideas and practices and assisting people in adopting these practices. I will use the Diffusion of Innovations Theory to guide my future work. I hope to publish a related article soon.

Please share any advice and contact me if you want to help at bewellr@gmail.com, beckerc@ecu.edu, 252-328-5312, or on this blog. I look forward to hearing from you about how we can work together to generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

Great New Years Message!

Vic Strecher, who wrote “Life on Purpose” and “On Purpose” also regularly publishes Purposeful tips. For 2023 he sent a great New Year’s Message. I want to promote his message about taking action to make good things happen.

“His Recommendation – frame messages as something positive to do, not something to avoid or something you will not do. Not taking action does not make good things happen; it may only possibly stop bad things from happening. Our life is about what we do because doing good things can””crowd out” bad things; as noted in previous posts, “His Recommendation – frame messages as something positive to do, not something to avoid or something you will not do. Not taking action does not make good things happen; it may only possibly stop bad things from happening. Our life is about what we do because doing good things can “crowd out” bad things, as noted in previous posts,

For the New Year 2023, focus on what you will do, not what you will avoid. I focus on creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone benefits. Doing this is the best way I know to generate comprehensive improvements. Please share how you make 2023 and beyond even better.

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Architecture Creating All Good

On Halloween, October 31, 2021 60 minutes shared an amazing story about MASS, Model of Architecture Serving Society, a non-profit architecture firm. Using the best designs, they developed hospitals that were amazing. Please watch the 60 minutes story below to learn more. However the most amazing part of this story is how they built on their initial success.

Building on Fantastic

After creating hospitals for Rwanda that better serve their communities by using locals sources for labor and material, they have now created a regenerative university in Rwanda. The story is linked to the headline below

MASS Design Group Establishes a Model for Regenerative Construction in Rwanda

The development is expected to be the world’s first carbon-positive university

More about MASS

On 60 Minutes Overtime it shared this story about why they use a film maker to share their story.

You can see the full 60 minutes session here.

Below is also a TED talk by Michael Murphy, “Architecture that’s Built to Heal”, shares more about how this amazing story started. He says we are designing hospitals to make people healthier as it reduces its environmental footprint.

Most important to me is how MASS demonstrated how their architecture techniques can generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. I am sure many more are doing this, please learn from these fantastic people at MASS and share how we can build on their successes!

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

Becoming our Best Is Best

I was honored that Sydnii Robinson Co-authored this post with me. Thank you, Sydnii.

Complaining begets more complaints. Anger begets more anger. And optimism begets more optimism.

Simon Sinek

As Simon Sinek suggests, what we do creates more of what we have done. In other words, “Good begets Good”. Evidence suggests that if we work to become the best version of ourselves possible, this will generate good for all. This runs counter to many of our efforts. It seems we are always trying to solve problems. For instance, we want to “End violence,”; “Stop Inactivity,”; or “Stop eating Fat”. While these actions may be morally correct, they do not create what we want.

Ending violence cannot give us what we want, love and caring. Love and caring, however, have the potential to “crowd out” violence as it creates the reality we desire. Stopping what shouldn’t be done does not and cannot cause what can be done. It may provide room to do the right thing, but doing the right thing takes courageous effort and action. For example, we cannot end procrastination unless we do something.

As a personal example, I have had back trouble every 6 months or so. Then we finally realized my legs are different sizes, only a 1 cm difference. This slight difference altered my walk and caused severe back and hip pain. It is all connected.

When I first got the small lift for my shoe, it felt like I had someone else’s legs – they felt strange and uncoordinated. Not doing anything, of course, would mean it would continue to feel strange. However, with walking and attempts at running, my legs are beginning to feel normal again. As noted by Deming’s Appreciation for a System, General Equilibrium Theory, Risk Homeostasis Theory, Zoobiquity, and so much more, when we change anything, we change everything. As John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, noted:

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it is attached to the rest of the world.

John Muir. All things in the universe are interrelated.

An Exception?

I believed ending bad cannot cause good. However, after I saw Seaspiracy, I thought there was an exception. The recommendation in Seaspiracy is “…to stop eating fish” to end ocean fishing. The logic seems sound. If we stop eating fish, the demand for fish will stop. After demand decreases, because it is a connected system, the lack of demand will end ocean animal agriculture. However, upon reflection, that was too simple. Either way, I strongly recommend you watch Seaspiracy if you have not seen it yet (the trailer is below – it is on Netflix).

To me, one of the most fascinating and enlightening facts in the movie was the role fish and their excrement play in managing both carbon and the health of coral reefs. We have heard warming is hurting the coral, but we haven’t heard that healthy coral reefs require more fish, and the bonus is that more fish also will capture and store more carbon as they enhance the health of coral reefs. Please share what you find most fascinating in the movie.

Another impactful takeaway from Seaspiracy was that deep-sea fishing, called bottom trawling, causes an estimated 3.9 BILLION acres of seafloor deforestation per year. This means sea floor trawling is way more destructive than land deforestation, estimated to be 25 million acres per year. Despite its immense damage, it is not seen by satellites or by people living near it because it is underwater. It is alarming and certainly justifies the “stop eating fish” recommendation. Can some experts share their knowledge about this information and data to confirm these concerns?

Linked Facts from Seaspiracy

Deprivation Never Works

It seems obvious; however, the recommendation to “stop eating fish” is too simple. As the Losada Line, Kahneman & Tversky’s Loss Aversion, and Gottmans work with marriage documents, we need more good, not just less bad to ignite action. Not only will people feel deprived, making it unlikely for the action to continue, but research also demonstrates that unless we provide people with a better alternative, doing without, such as doing without seafood, will not take hold. On top of that, the proclamation that we should not eat fish will add guilt when seafood is eaten, and this will lower life quality of life.

What do we do?

To do something that can make a difference in this interconnected world, take action to become the best version of yourself by eating whole plant foods. As noted in the movie by James Cameron, Game Changers, plant based nutrition is the necessary ingredient for athletes and people to perform and think their best.  The action recommended to be our best in Game Changes means we don’t eat fish.

In other words, eating plant based nutrition to become the best version of ourselves is also what will be best for the world and will also help solve the problem of animal agriculture.

Wonderful Example

Brad Lancaster provides a great example of how to do good that begets more good as a “Water Harvester”. I encourage you to watch as he shows how doing good begets more good.

Eating Our Way to Extinction

I also recommend you watch Eating Our Way to Extinction. It does a good job of documenting our situation and supports actions we can take to help us become the best version of ourselves. The actions recommended in this movie will also benefit everyone and everything.

I live to make my life as good as possible, and doing so helps me become a better version of myself. What I find rewarding is that my actions to improve myself generate comprehensive improvements. These improvements also lead to net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions from which everyone and everything benefits, which is paneugenesis or creating all good. This post shares more ways to become a better version of yourself that will also make a positive contribution. What more could we ask for?

Please share how you make your contribution so we can learn from your actions, and also share how you integrate this idea into your life. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker & Sydnii Robinson

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

Hearing a Repeated Message

Be a Good Listener

Over and over it seems I have heard that the smartest person in the room is the best listener, and they say you can’t learn anything from others while talking, etc. In a recent post, Trust but Verify, I noted that sometimes the universe seems to be sending messages. The message last week that the universe kept sending, but it took time for me to hear, was that I should Trust but Verify. This week I am finally hearing another message the universe continues to share over and over, but for some reason, I was hearing it without fully internalizing it.

This idea focuses on what seems to be captured by “nature knows best”. Although humans are clever, we generally learn our methods are not as good as we think and that nature is smarter. Nature obtained its genius from its 3.8 billion years of development and testing. See post, Standing on Natures Shoulders. This idea was captured and discussed many times in my posts when I discuss “Undoing”. Undoing was how Michael Lewis captured the works of Kahneman and Tversky in his book, “The Undoing Project“. I shared more about this book in my post, Undoing Needed because Mental Illusions Impact Us. Some of the other related posts include: To Improve: “Undoing” Needed to Create Better!, More Undoing: A Beneficial Drug Policy, Undoing Needed because Mental Illusions Impact Us.

Michael Lewis also documented and demonstrated this idea in his book,  Moneyball: The art of winning an unfair game (also a Movie of the same name). In that book, Lewis highlights the undoing of what was considered good methods in baseball and many other fields.

Soft Versus Hard Path

This idea that “nature knows best” was also captured by Amory Lovins in the 1976 article, An Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken. The article described the options as a soft versus hard path. See post: Policy for Comprehensive Improvements. The soft path worked with and facilitated what would happen and did not force outcomes as in the “Heat, Beat, Treat” traditional method. As he demonstrated, the soft path was a better path economically, environmentally, and concerning the quality of life.

The Soft Path by Amory Lovins, The Gaia Hypothesis, and Deming’s System Appreciation and System of Profound Knowledge all replicate nature’s methods and call for engaging in net positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic actions so everyone and everything benefits. It is what I call the Paneugenesis Process.

 As we build a better system, this new system must build a green economy that works with our environment, not against it, by using the soft, not the hard path. Our traditional, thought to be a clever method of “Heat Beat Treat’, or forcing nature to comply, was not as good as we thought. A better way works with nature as Janine Benyus, of  Biomimicry fame, made these methods much more popular.

A better system has been shown over and over to us by the universe as one that works with nature to generate comprehensive benefits. Better listening skills would have helped me hear this message more clearly. Listening has helped me understand that pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions, a soft path, will also benefit the environment and enable us to thrive from our actions.

Act Now – Act to Think

Although these actions seem obvious in retrospect, my slow understanding means we must Act to think and not wait to believe it before we act. Huberman’s research supports this approach.

Beliefs do not change our actions, Actions change our beliefs.

Andrew Huberman, PhD – Stanford

Other benefits follow, as noted by Dr. James Lovelock and his Gaia Hypothesis:

…if the Earth improves because of our presence, then we will flourish.

James Lovelock

What is the Moral?

Messages are out there. We must listen by seeing what works without forcing it to happen. The soft path, not the hard path, as described by Amory Lovins, will help. It is not about forcing an outcome. It is about not getting in the way and helping it happen. If we listen to and work with nature, thus making life more livable, amazing things are possible for everyone and everything because of it.

What is the universe telling us that you have not internalized? Please share what you have learned and how you worked with nature 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.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

Trust but Verify

Hurricane “Ian” ravaged Florida and the east coast in September 2022. Some were fatally trapped because they stayed in their houses when the storm hit land. Although most would “trust” weather forecasts, they could not “verify” it would be that bad until it was too late. That is often the issue. Timing delays our ability to “verify”.

“Trust but verify” became famous, according to Wikipedia, when Ronald Reagan used it during nuclear disarmament talks with the Soviet Union. Ironically, at least according to Wikipedia, it s a Russian Proverb. This saying has become relevant in my life, can be related to actions with hurricane Ian, and may benefit your life.

At least for me, it seems the universe can talk to me. This time it was about the Russian proverb, “Trust but verify”. Of course, it became relevant because I also read Malcolm Gladwell’s provocative 2019 book, “Talking to Strangers“.

Talking to Strangers

Transparency, Understanding

Gladwell’s book was very enlightening (I recommend the book and summary). With research, “Talking to Strangers”, in Gladwell’s trademark neutral method, documents how we are good at understanding others when they act as expected, but bad at discerning the truth when they do not act as we think they should. He even suggests it could be because of the “Friends” effect. In the sitcom “Friends”, the actor’s emotions, expressions, and actions are all consistent and support what they will do.

In “Friends”, if they are smiling, they are happy. If they are trying to cheat or trick someone, they act suspiciously. In real life, that is not always the case. Only sometimes are we transparent such that our actions match our intentions. Gladwell explains the “Friend’s” effect to Jimmy Kimmel for about 2 minutes in the interview below. He also summarizes so much more. I strongly encourage you to listen to this 8-minute interview and read his book.

To demonstrate this conundrum, Gladwell documents other experiences in the book. One story discusses how Penn State’s University President, Graham B. Spanier, was fired for endangering children when Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of child abuse. He contrasts this to parents who were in the room when Larry Nassar abused their kids, and yet they were not thought to be negligent. Life is ambiguous…

Default to Truth

Gladwell suggests and suspects this happens because people will automatically default to the truth, or believe what is best when people act as expected. In other words, we default to “Trust”. It is hard not to, and it takes extreme risk and difficulty to go against the tide when others trust. The second part of the proverb, “Verify”, is what we should do, but it is complicated by timing and effort.

This is a proverb because we want colleagues and supervisors to think the best of us, or to Trust us. Think how horrible it would be if people automatically assumed the worst in each situation. In other words, we should “Trust”. If we didn’t trust, Gladwell seems to justifiably suggest without implicit trust, the world would be a less desirable place for us all.

Verification takes extra effort, and those steps may also cause us to discover things we do not want to know. This happened during the pandemic when people stole funds, as highlighted in this NYTimes Daily Podcast, Why Was Pandemic Fraud So Easy?

During the pandemic, an enormous amount of money — about $5 trillion in total — was spent to help support the newly unemployed and to prop up the U.S. economy while it was forced into suspension. But the funds came with few strings and minimal oversight. The result: one of the largest frauds in American history, with billions of dollars stolen by thousands of people. Guest: David A. Fahrenthold, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, focused on nonprofits.

Summary of 9/27/2022 NYTimes Daily Podcast

It got Personal…

Recently, I did not adequately “Verify”. The “Friends” effect impacted me. I didn’t adequately verify people because I could not imagine why a group I was working with would not be telling the truth. Unfortunately, my “default to truth” and failure to adequately “verify” has slowed and damaged progress on plans I had to Practice Paneugenesis on a much bigger level.

Though this attempt to “Optimize the process” did not work, I am finding a better way to reach my idealized outcome so we can generate comprehensive improvements by being nudged to create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefit.

We want to provide people with a GPS for life that will nudge them to efficiently use resources to lead a fulfilling, regenerative life that will also create regenerative communities. This BeWell’r Web will work like a forest’s mycelium in the roots of plants and trees, enabling plants to be healthier through efficiently using the forest’s resources.

This function of nature through the root network in a forest was dubbed to be the “Wood Wide Web” by “Nature”(August 1997). The “Wood Wide Web” is a communication network that shares information through its fungi with all in the forest about how to best use its resources so the forest can thrive. The video below shares the vision for our BeWell’r Web that will help create healthier people and thriving communities:

What do you think? Please share your thoughts.

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

Amazing People, 2nd edition

In 2014 I wrote this post, Dad Our House is on Fire!…People are Amazing! I wrote this because I was in awe of the amazing generosity we experienced after our house burned down and we lost most of our belongings. As I noted in that post, despite the awful news we hear 24/7, I believe most people are good. I also believe people want to help others. Scientifically this makes sense because it makes us feel good.

To my delight, I once again was in awe of amazing generosity of others. As I noted in 2014,

“… my belief that people are amazing has been confirmed.” Again!

My belief that people are good has been confirmed again – people are amazing! This time it was confirmed when my wife and I went Lowes to pick up some lattice for our yard.

Lattice punchased at Lowes

I have a Prius which has a hatchback and almost everything fits. This time however we were about 2 inches shy of being able to get the lattice into the hatch. As we picked up the lattice to return it to the store. a gentleman, with broken English gets our attention and says, “do you need help?” We explained we did and he then offered to carry the lattice pieces in his truck to our house. People are amazing!

We loaded the lattice in the back of his truck and asked him to follow us. Of course, if you believe the news, he would have driven away with the material. He did not. He kindly brought the material to our house, helped us unload it and said he was glad to help. We offered to pay him, but he refused. People are amazing!

Overall, it was a nice, net-positive pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interaction. This is a way to practice paneugenesis because it helped generate more good, not just less bad. That act encouraged me and my wife to pay it forward, thus causing a positive pervasive ripple, as it also reinforced our belief that most people are good and kind. People are amazing!

Make it a great week by being the amazing person you know you can be. Also please share your stories of yourself or others paying it forward!

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

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.

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

Multiple Green$ Benefits

More green is usually good.

  • Greens in the form of vegetables are good for our health
  • Green behavior is regenerative or at least better and can help everyone and everything
  • Green in form of money can be good and helpful

This post is about how all 3 of these benefits will accrue from this simple action.

Many of us eat greens as spinach, lettuce, kale, mustard greens etc. While these greens are good for us, taste good and are delicious, they do not stay fresh long. Composting old greens is better because in time they turn into useful soil, but it still wastes money.

A Better Idea

We found a more useful solution. When our greens start to go bad, we put them into the blender and then freeze them. As frozen small pieces of greens, they are easy to add to a smoothy.

My bag of chopped greens and a scooper to add to a smoothie

We keep freezing old greens simple. When ours greens start to go bad we put the old greens in the blender with a little bit of water, if necessary, and mix. After the leaves are chopped, we place those leaves in a bag and put them in the freezer. I also put a scooper in that bag so I can easily scoop out a helping for my smoothie.

I really like doing this in the summer because I find Smoothies to be great summer snacks They are refreshing, cool and also provide a healthy serving of vegetables. If you are interested in more techniques, this page, How to Freeze Spinach, shares more options.

Multiple Benefits

This simple technique provides multiple benefits:

  • We eat more greens by including them in our now tastier and more filling smoothies
  • Environmental benefits are less trips to the store and less food waste
  • We save money by not having to buy greens or other ingredients for smoothies

Overall, chopping and freezing greens is a great, all good way to generate comprehensive improvements. Freezing older greens creates a net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic benefits from which everyone and everything benefits.

Please share how you generate comprehensive improvements so everyone and everything can benefit.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

Its the Environment Stu*?#!

“It’s the economy stu**#?!” was a famous catch phrase when Clinton ran for president and in a book by Paul Begala about George W. Bush’s presidency. As the title states, “It Still the Economy, Stupid”.

book by Paul Begala

This idea seemed to catch on because the economy seemed to be instrumental in peoples lives. Most people cared about the economy because they thought the state of the economy would have an impact on their lives.

Research continues to document that the things around us, such as the economy, greatly impact what we do and what we think. From a more general perspective, it’s not the economy, it’s the environment that is most influential.

Social Cognitive theory (also referred to as Social Learning Theory) explains how thoughts (cognitions), behaviors, and the environment continually influence one another. As any one of these factors changes, so do the others. Therefore, when we alter the environment, our thoughts and behaviors will also change, reciprocally. It is what is referred to as reciprocal determinism. If you are interested in learning more, you can watch this short video.

The power of the environment drives many recommendations. The simplest recommendation is to have healthy food in your house, prepared, and it will more likely be the food you eat. This simple point was driven home for me when I saw how we changed our home environment for our new puppy. For some reason he liked to play with our bolt cap covers on the bottom of the toilet (see pictures). To solve the problem, we put out toys and removed the bolt cap covers. He now plays with better toys and we don’t have a problem. All of this happened by “simply” changing the environment. How can you change your environment to get the outcomes you desire?

Simplicity, however is sometimes overrated, there is always more than one causal factor and this alone make simplicity incomplete. Still, Einstein was a fan,

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Albert Einstein

For a great discussion on simplicity I recommend Steven Dubner & Angela Duckworth’s “No Stupid Questions“, podcast episode #104, “How Simple Is Too Simple?

Creating an Environment to Get Desired Outcomes

Preparing healthy food and having it available in my home generates a health promoting environment that makes health more likely. Making healthy food available is a time multiplier (see Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…) I find myself, upon reflection, using time multiplier options all the time. Many actions, that take time initially, can create an environment more likely to generate desirable outcomes. For instance my wife and I share the notes App on our iPhones. It took time to set up, however now whenever we run low on things, or need to get something, we put it on our shared list and we are more likely to get and have things in our environment that we need. In this way, our digital environment helps our home environment.

Idea from this post: Design your environment to make your desired outcomes more likely. The environment enables or inhibits desired outcomes. Though it will take some work initially to create the environment you want, the time spent creating that desirable environment, will save your time – as Rory Vader explains, it is a Time Multiplier.

Behaviors Become Habits

It is important ot remember that any action taken sets the foundation for a habit. (see What We Do Without Thinking, Sharing “Atomic Habits” Wisdom from James Clear … and more. The environment we live in determine if engaging in that behavior will be easy or more difficult. Understanding this means we should design your environment to make desired behaviors easier so a better life can take care of itself because as behaviors become habits, it will be what we do without thinking. Habits are also great time savers, or time multipliers.

Please share how you design you environment to generate comprehensive benefits by enabling more net-positive, 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.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com

Questions Enlighten

To enlighten means “(to) give (someone) greater knowledge and understanding about a subject or situation”. Upon further reflection, I realized that we learn more by asking questions, often unexpected, questions that may seem to be off the topic at first.

Enlightenment was the subject of Steven Pinker’s fantastic book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (see Things are Great – And They are Getting Better…) that chronicled the amazing progress we have made and what are important factors that made that progress possible.

Ulcers from Bacteria?

An example of asking a different and somewhat off the mark questions happened when Marshall & Warren discovered that it was a bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, not stress and lifestyle that caused peptic ulcers (see this 1984 Lancet article). This amazing discovery was possible because they asked good questions. That paradigm improving work helped them to eventually win the 2005 Nobel Prize.

I learned about Marshall & Warren’ work while reading Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health ©2012 and it came to mind while attending a conference.

Screen Shot 2019-08-27 at 11.38.33 AM.png

Rabbit Hole Misdirection

As I attended a fantastic 2022 Appalachian Energy Summitt presentation about how North Carolina was going to get to net-zero carbon with transportation, a question broke our rabbit hole thinking. The discussion was about electric cars and continued with a discussion about the need for a recharging infrastructure, fast charging stations and or battery exchanges, and the need for policy. As we learned, despite available technology, without supportive policy, change is unlikely. As we continued down the rabbit hole of electric cars and their benefits, then infrastructure, fast chargers, and exchange batteries, someone asked a question: What about trains? High speed rail?

It stopped us in our tracks (pun intended). As he stated, even if we have all this, we still must drive, ugh… If we had trains, we could arrive rested, socialize, read, do work if desired and travel easily. He also pointed out the possibility of trains helping NC get to net-zero emission if done right. As I reflected, I realized how different our conversation would have been if we would have thought about what the best way would be to travel, rather than how can we just convert what we currently do toward something better. This question enlightened.

A Problem focus is limiting

Questions enlighten. If we start with the understanding we want things to be better and deprivation will never work for the long term, it will help. Deprivation means doing without. Unless we have a better substitute, it will not be desired. Seeing the new way as better requires framing and promotion. Simply eliminating a problem is less bad, not more good and it limits our thinking toward the problem, not a possible paradigm improving solution as documented by Barbara Fredrickson’s Broaden & Build Theory of Positive Emotions (see Build a Net Positive Life for ALL).

This is important because we always move towards what seems better. But to get us to move in that direction, the good must be 3x better than the loss is bad (refer to Critical Positivity Line or the Losada Line). The positive must be 3x more beneficial than the loss because evolution taught us to be oversensitive to losses. We function with what experts call loss aversion. Loss aversion is part of us because it enabled us to survive. Therefore, if we want paradigm improving answers, we shouldn’t ask, what is the problem? As Einstein explained:

Image] #Einstein: We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we  used when we created them... | Einstein quotes, Wise quotes, Quotable quotes

Asking a different question enlightens because it can enable us to use different thinking. In health we seem to only ask, what causes sickness? Why are we asking that question when we want to know, “What causes health?” Asking the right questions can help us think about how to create comprehensive improvements that are much more than just not bad.

I know this realization has helped me “Think Again” (see “Think Again” Very Helpful Book) as Adam Grant suggests. Enlightening answers require better questions (see Asking Better Questions Can Generate a Better Tomorrow). Our current focus may help solve a problem but it is unlikely to shift toward true, net-positive, improvement.

As we work to make things better, the new ways will need to crowd out bad things. From my perspective, we should be asking – how can we generate comprehensive improvements? We need to be asking, how do we create net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions that cause benefits so everyone and everything benefits? For example attempts to answer this question see: A Way to Practice Paneugenesis, A Paneugenesis Process for America, Create All Good – Paneugenesis – in Prisons?, Practicing Paneugenesis – An Example and many more on this site. These examples are times when people asked questions that kept them out the rabbit hole trap.

Please share questions that help you and may help us think about how to generate comprehensive benefits. Thank you – I look forward to hearing from you.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com