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

Insight Powered by Nature

As I took out my compost this morning, I noticed more growth under a tree my wife had me clear last week. I didn’t want it to become a big problem so I pulled these small growths out before they got established. As I pulled out these small plants, I found that the roots were long and they were all connected. Wait a minute???

These connected roots meant that these plants were cooperating to be stronger, it was not survival of the fittest – it was survival of the most cooperative. This brought home many of the lessons I have posted about nature. Including Tree’s to Nuts to People – ALL Connected SuperCooperators, Strategic Alliances are Powerful, Mimic Mother Nature to Create a New Political Party, Deserts to Garden – Helping Nature Generate All Good, Standing on Natures Shoulders, What goes down, must go up?, Trees & Forests Can Help Us!?, More Trees, More Benefits, and many more.

We, us homo sapiens, the human race, are nature, (We are Just Talking Apes) shouldn’t we act like nature? It seems we can trace our successes to when we collaborate like the late Ray Anderson demonstrated at Interface where he boosted profits as he made life better for everyone and everything (see We Must Make It Better – Saving the Planet not Enough!, Did we give up? Hospice for Earth? We Need Better! and others) and we can trace our problems of waste and environmental degradation to times when we fail to act like nature. Acting like nature means we should make life more livable for everyone and everything, which also means we are living a good, vitality generating life. Personal and planetary health are connected, interdependent and necessary.

According to my weeding this morning, nature seems to be telling us, LOUD and CLEAR, we are stronger when we cooperate and work together. Being strong means finding things we can cooperate on and using that part to create a connection from which we can grow strong together. To me this means, to generate the comprehensive benefits we all desire, we must create net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions from which everyone and everything benefits.

For much of my career I had been trying to push this positive agenda with intermittent partnerships. I now have a great team of advisors and collaborators and the progress has accelerated tremendously. Like the plants I picked this morning, my experiences have demonstrated I am stronger when I cooperate with others. Please share how you found a way to collaborate and how that has made you stronger. 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

An All Good Simple Clean Up

38,973 Bar Of Soap Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

In baseball, the 4th hitter in the line up is called the clean-up hitter. The clean-up hitter is often one of the best hitters on the team. Most coaches adhere to the idea that the first 3 hitters in the lineup will be those with high on-base percentage so the fourth hitter, can “clean up” those runners on base and score runs. The hope is doing this will mean the team will not waste any opportunities to score due to the higher probability of the clean-up hitter “hitting” them in.

Clean-ups are generally good things. It means we don’t leave a mess or leave waste. In nature, there is no waste. Natures functions such that all living things: animals, plants, human and Gaia (Earth) function in ways that make life more livable for everyone and everything. Nature is not survival of the fittest but of the most cooperative and adaptive (see Tree’s to Nuts to People – ALL Connected SuperCooperators, Strategic Alliances are Powerful, Survival of the Fittest Misleading and others).

With this in mind, we human beings, who are a part of nature, should do what we can to make life more livable for everyone and everything. At this stage of our development, we really need to be living regenerative lifestyles to repair the damage we have done (see Getting Better as We Fix What we Broke, Fixing Problems is Inefficient, Ineffective & Insufficient, More than a “Whack a Mole” Life and others).

Of course life is already busy, nobody needs more responsibilities so this is a simplifying suggestion that provides multiple benefits and is a time multiplier (see Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…. As Einstein explained,

Here is the suggestion or recommendation, when we clean up, use bar soap. Yes there are body washes, shampoo, conditioners, and more, but they are all soap. With regard to the lasting impact of soap, it is generally considered negligible because it breaks down quickly. However “…although the impact of soap itself is supposedly next to nothing, the packaging can actually make a difference, according to Conservation.” Logically, bar soap has less packaging, is lighter to transport, easier to store and has less disposal issues since it does not come in a plastic bottle. See more here.

Overall, in a civil of society we should be clean, however these efforts should not harm or harm other forms of life. Using bar soap helps us be in line with nature, is simple, eliminates complexity, a key driver of quality improvement as espoused by Dr. W. Edward Deming, and therefore can improve our lives and that of everyone and everything else.

It is almost like being a clean-up hitter, using bar soap makes life better, enables us to save money and also helps us contribute toward making life more livable. In other words, using bar soap is a way to create all good, or is a way to practice paneugenesis because it generates comprehensive improvements from a net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interaction from which everyone and everything benefits. Please share your thoughts!

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

Accelerating Forward Faster

COVID has changed us forever. Never did we believe a virus could change our society as dramatically as it has. COVID has caused us to quickly move even faster than we thought possible. Unfortunately, in some ways we could be accelerating forward faster.

Our justified fear of the spread of the virus and problems associated with COVID has overly emphasized prevention by crowding out the promotion and improvement of health BEYOND the absence of disease. We can be and do better. Improved well-being amplifies the power of prevention. Prevention has been wonderful, but as I noted earlier, Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant! or at least it is insufficient when health improvement is our objective. Positive health amplifies prevention so we can accelerate forward faster.

Health is the PRESENCE Of WELL-BEING, it is not the absence of problems. Think about it, you feel good and have joy when you do things that make you feel good and or do good. Avoidance can only lead to temporary relief, not well-being.

Well being is caused by interactively developing physically, mentally and socially through conscious actions. Prevention efforts keep us from doing things. The BEST WAY TO PREVENT PROBLEMS is to be as healthy as possible. Prevention is a by-product of improved well-being. Study after study shows those engaged in health causing behaviors and thoughts in multiple dimensions, which my studies have labeled as social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, physical, vocational and environmental, benefit with improved well-being and higher life satisfaction due to the cumulative effect of these multiple well-being enhancing actions. There is no magic bullet.

To be able to prevent bad things, we must be strong mentally, physically and socially resulting from the development of those assets. Prevention, if taken alone, encourages us to isolate and become stagnant. Only when we take action can we get healthier and stronger. If you are interested and have time, I detail this in this Creating Better presentation.

Exponential growth

Another factor related to our difficulty, as Michael Lewis describes in The Premonition: A Pandemic Story, is from our problem understanding exponential growth which explains the rate a virus can spread. After all, isn’t it hard to believe a penny doubled every day for just 30 days would amount to over $5 million dollars? Even crazier, folding a typical piece of paper 50 times would end up being over 7 million miles long???? HUH?

Of course this is hard to believe, see the videos below that attempt to help us grasp the concept of exponential growth:

Exponential Growth:

Overall, we should be taking actions to enhance our well-being which will amplify our ability to prevent problems as a by-product of improved well-being. In other words, we can accelerate forward faster and experience better well-being with a side of prevention. This future will happen when we work to generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions from which everyone and everything benefits. Please share how you make your life better do 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

Is this Why Some Phrases Stick?

For the millions (well not yet) of you that follow me, you know I often use this blog as a scratchboard. I post these ideas hoping some of my unfinished thoughts will aid you in your thinking process. I recently realized that certain phrases seem to keep coming back to me and seem relevant. SInce I am a professor I a proposing a hypothesis about why they have stuck and I would appreciate your thoughts on accuracy of these thoughts. Can you do that by leaving a comment at the end?

One of the phrases that has stuck was in my thesis that I completed for my MS in Wellness Management at Ball State University. My thesis study focused on lifestyle behaviors. Throughout the paper I continued to emphasize that lifestyl behaviors were necessary, but alone they were insufficient. That phrase…

“…necessary but insufficient“

…has come back to me again and again. Most recently I heard it when I listened to Freakonomics episode #498. In the 1890s, the Best-Selling Car Was … Electric. In the episode they discuss how after a huge false start, electric cars are finally about to flourish. However in the episode, they emphasize that while moving to electric cars is necessary, it is insufficient to solve our climate crisis due to the many other damaging environmental factors from agriculture, cement and steel making and other processes.

An important aspect with this idea seems to be consistency. By that I mean that, it seems waht a person considers necessary actions are are also probably consistent with your values and therefore beneficial to your well-being. What are things you do that are necessary, but insufficient? Please share and also let us know how and if it helps.

The other phrase that keeps coming back that I used in my dissertation when I got my PhD from Arizona State and have also used in many articles is…

“… latent underlying constructs“

Latent means hidden or concealed. However it is not really hidden, it is just not prominent or noticeable right away. I have used this phrase to document the importance of health and or the environment. Health is something that enables all else, but is hidden or latent because without it, everything else is problematic. Of course when we don’t have health, it is prominent, but the lack of ill health is latent or hidden yet it is still necessary.

The Revenge of Gaia: Earth's Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity: Earth's Climate Crisis and the Fate of Humanity

I also read a lot of James Lovelock and in all his books, especially in The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity: Earth’s Climate Crisis and the Fate of Humanity, he emphasizes the necessity but insufficiency or our current environmental actions. He suggests, “…We are like a revolting teenager, intelligent, with great potential, but far too greedy, and selfish for our own good” and that “…We must stop acting as if human welfare is all that matters”. He says this due to the interconnectedness of all living things, most especially the living Earth, or Gaia as he explains. As we all know, without a habitable earth, nothing else is possible. In this way, Earth is the “latent underlying construct” that is “necessary”.

In writing this I am just realizing these phrases are related. Latent underlying constructs are necessary, but insufficient. To me this means we must build on our good actions to enable continual and never ending improvement. In my teaching, I emphasize the ripple effect or the fact that it is not just what happens right away from that transaction, it is also about what happens down the line because that transaction that really matters. For instance, we can get car to go using fossil fuels, but the leftover CO2 from burning this fossil fuel is rushing climate change. This means the ripple of climate change, not the transaction of driving is most relevant.

This idea then brings us back to the start of this post about electric cars. Electric cars are necessary and can help, especially if we power them with clean renewable energy, but they are insufficient. They will not repair what we damaged, their use will just not add more, or as much damage. For these reasons and many more, my focus has been to attempt to generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits – which is the practice of paneugenesis.

As a professor, I write and publish articles in journals. These articles allow us to share our inferences, which means we use our expertise to share what we think the data for findings from a study or experiment mean. This also means inferences are not always accurate, they are initial understanding of phenomena.

Overall, this means my inference is that those phrases have stuck and keep coming back to me do so because they are relevant and important. What do you think? Do the reasons stated accurately explain why those phrases seem important and relevant and have therefore stuck with me and keep coming back?

Please share the thoughts and also actions you take to help even though we must all contribute because alone our actions may be necessary, but insufficient. Thank you – I look forward to reading 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

Why bother?

Prevention is taking effort to do things so something that doesn’t exist now, may not exist in the future. Why bother? How do we know it might happen in the first place? This happens when people attempt to prevent diseases such as diabetes. Why bother to only prevent? If we bother to cause more good by generating more physical, social and mental well-being, we get more good while also simultaneously making it more like we prevent the bad outcome.

In a similar way, my smart neighbor has a great perspective. He is confused about why people bother to spend energy to fight things that don’t exist, such as fighting to outlaw Critical Race Theory from the curriculum when it is not being taught. Why bother?

I thought about this idea and why people bother to use unneeded effort when I watched John Stewart‘s good Climate Change The Problem episode on Apple TV .

The issue that caught my attention on this episode was when they said recycling was created by fossil fuel companies to put the blame on us. They also said that we cannot fix the problem of climate change by recycling more. Why bother? to bring this up.

Of course recycling cannot fix problems created, but doing so means we do not cause more bad and add to the issue. Recycling is also the minimum of what we should be doing. We are nature and nature produces no waste, why should we? (see: Standing on Natures Shoulders and Did we give up? Hospice for Earth? We Need Better! and many more)

Recycling, actually upcycling, as developed by McDonough and Braungart for their book Upcycle is what we should do (see: Concept: Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad).

That is we should not use things once and leave them worse but leave them better after getting good use. This way we generate more good, not just less bad. Ideas for upcycling are provided at Upcycling: 20 of The Best Examples We’ve Seen, Top 10 Upcycling Ideas, and many more internet sites including in the video below, 35 Ways to Upcycle Everything Around You.

Why bother? Bother because doing things this way means we can feel good for doing good as we help generate comprehensive improvements by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish selfless, synergistic interactions that benefit everyone and everything. Nature does this, see Oceans Generate More Good, Deserts to Garden – Helping Nature Generate All Good,What goes down, must go up? and more.

I look forward to hearing why & how you bother.

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

Become by Doing

We become what we are by doing or we are what we do, repeatedly. We can choose this – however this takes effort. (see “Spooky Simple” Post)

As Huberman discovered:

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

Andrew Huberman, PhD – Stanford

Better Life Automatically

The most amazing realization from these insights is we can continually get better, by doing what helps us become better. Better yet, this can be what we do automatically (see What We Do Without Thinking) if we create beneficial habits. This can happen, for the most part.

Habits are what we do, without thinking because it is what we have repeatedly done in the past. Consciously we can chose what we do now, and over time it will be what we have done which become our habits.

The best way to develop habits is with help. The best help we can have is to design our environment so it cues, supports, encourages and reinforces our desired choices. Have healthy food at home, prepared, if you want to work out in the morning, sleep in your workout clothes, have a friend relying on you and so many more ways.

While some may see this as a shortcut health and well-being, it is not – it is a direct route, not a short cut and it will take time. The time however can be used effectively by using some simple hacks such as those mentioned above (this also means you have become a time multiplier, see Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…)

Outcome Measures Drive Action

Another helpful tool will be how you measure what you do. It is best to focus on measuring your actions or your process and how it has improved. Measure and highlight what you do well – the good conversation you had, the walk you took, the time you exhibited patience, the time you helped another before they asked, or the times you acted as you knew you should. All those times the real you shined – then do it again and again. In time, it will be automatic and you will be the person you desire. Measure what you do well, rinse and repeat!

Theory for Good

Theories are predictions that explain phenomena and how things interact and the expected result. Theories should be able to explain the past and predict the future. Theories however have mostly been used to describe and explain bad things, not desired good things. We need a theory for a good life that can theoretically describe how to create a better life for oneself and the world. Selfish, Selfless, Synergy is the answer which is the practice of paneugenesis.

Assistance can help, an environment that reliably and objectively provides good options will help. Find good, supportive friends and build an environment that encourages you to generate comprehensive improvements. When I went to the National Wellness Conferences, I was always motivated by the good in all because the environment supported the creation of net-positive pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions from which everyone and everything benefits.

My career has now been dedicated to making the world like the week I used to spend at the National Wellness Conference (see National Wellness Conference – Amazing!). I learned that when we all worked together to generate comprehensive improvement, everyone and everything benefits.

What we need is a reliable, objective way to to guide us on this path so we design environments and lifestyles that generate comprehensive benefits. Wisdom of the commons can help. Together we can work on this project of improvement, please share how you help generate comprehensive improvements.

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

Its Go Time: The Meteors Coming

As made clear in “Don’t Look Up“, the recent Netflix movie, we do not have time to debate, It is Go Time. The movie is a great analogy of current times and a cry for critical thinking and action.

It requires reflection and optimism that we can make a difference. We also must believe our action can make a difference. As Israel Zangwill reflected:

“Take from me the hope that I can change the future, and you will send me mad.”

Israel Zangwill, English dramatist (1864-1926).

Daily news seems to express concerns that it could be too late, including in this recent Washington Post article:

Satellite images show the Amazon rainforest is hurtling toward a ‘tipping point’

Of course, what option is there? The ONLY option is to do good, feel good for doing good and be regenerative, not just sustainable. Review of the interconnected world clearly demonstrates, the world wants to regenerate. The awesome thing is that the only way we can save ourselves is also the best way to create the best life for everyone and everything. We all benefit from generating comprehensive improvements when we are creating net positive, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Nature does this, in all ways, including with the “Wood Wide Web”, where roots distribute resources most efficiently so trees make up a healthy and vibrant interdependent forest. The trees don’t fight for survival, they share to create overall success. That is how nature works.

We are nature, we can do this. We want to do this, well most of us, look at how the world is helping the Ukrainians and sharing resources. For more examples of how this works, see What goes down, must go up?, Survival of the Fittest Misleading, Strategic Alliances are Powerful, Trees & Forests Can Help Us!?, Tree’s to Nuts to People – ALL Connected SuperCooperators and many more. Please share how you are creating comprehensive 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

What goes down, must go up?

Suzanne Simard amazed the world when she revealed the Wood Wide Web, which is the interconnected web of roots under the forest that nourishes, shares, and makes possible a healthy forest ( see Strategic Alliances are Powerful and Trees & Forests Can Help Us!?) in her book  “Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest“. I was reminded of the miracles performed down below a forest by mother nature when I learned about what is up in a forest. This Radiolab podcast, Forests on Forests, explains about Tree Canopies and their life building, supporting and enabling properties.

Radiolab is fantastic. In this podcast, From Tree to Shining Tree, they explain that previously tree canopies were pretty much completely ignored by science. Mother Nature continues to amaze. As they described, “It was as if researchers said collectively, ‘It’s just going to be empty up there, and we’ve got our hands full studying the trees down here! So why bother?!’ But then, around the mid-1980s, a few ecologists around the world got curious and started making their way up into the treetops using any means necessary (ropes, cranes, hot air dirigibles) to document all they could find. It didn’t take long for them to realize not only was the forest canopy not empty, it was absolutely filled to the brim with life. You’ve heard of treehouses? How about tree gardens?!” In other words, all of life on earth exists to make life more livable. 

This RadioLab podcast explains about the secret powers of these sky gardens from ecologist Korena Mafune, and we follow Nalini Nadkarni as she makes a ground-breaking discovery that changes how we understand not just what is below in the forest, but also what is up. 

They acknowledge that they learned about the magical world of the canopy from this beautiful video from Michael Werner, Joe Hanson, and the PBS Overview team. It features Korena Mafune’s research up in the treetops, as well as the people who have dedicated their lives to saving what’s left of the old growth forests. I highly recommend checking it out! 

Thoughout the podcast they referred to Dr. Simard’s wonderful work and the previous podcast they had done about her work, From Tree to Shining Tree. I strongly encourage you listen to their podcast done with Dr. Simard in 2016. Their Radiolab podcast was before her 2021 book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest and it is a great stand alone presentation and also an excellent complement to her book because it seemed to hightlight additional areas of information that were not stressed in her book.

Overall, I continue to be amazed at how well nature, by default, generates comprehensive improvements to make life more livable for all by creating net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. We are part of nature, meaning we should have living styles that also make life more livable for everyone and everything. Please share how you create all good by practicing paneugenesis with selfish, selfless, synergy.

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

Put a Cork in It

My wife an I attended a presentation by Frank Hyman, the Liberated Gardner that was sponsored by the Pitt County Agriculture Center in Greenville, NC. It was very good. He had many helpful ideas about how to garden for good, organically and by using what you have. He discussed ideas about how to collect water in barrels to use, even how to collect extra water from your air conditioner, the benefits of using soaker hoses, and how to get better use of mulch.

An interesting mulching idea we learned was that growing herbs, such as rosemary, from the Mediterranean should not use normal compost, as we had, but gravel compost because they evolved in a dry environment. Normal compost keeps them too damp and explains why we had not been able to grow herbs very well. Gravel compost keeps the herbs from being moist or being overwatered. Using gravel compost also means watering can be done monthly.

He also explained how to use 2 inches of mulch from leftover leaves and other materials we normally send the landfill. This saves us money and improves the planet by not sending excess garbage to the landfill where it will rot and produce methane, besides the fossil fuels burned to transport to the landfill.

All of his ideas were ways to generate comprehensive improvements because they created net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions with the environment from which everyone and everything will benefit.

One of his most interesting ideas was how he used leftover wine corks as a compost (as explained in the video and picture below.

Wine cork compost for tree

His presentation beneficial things that are easy to do and good for everyone and everything. He said he was a “lazy” gardener, but not really lazy it was his way of describing that he did not want to spend too much time working and more time enjoying his garden and the food it produces. I encourage you to review his material and attend one of his sessions if you can, it was very helpful.

Please share any gardening tips you have so we all can benefit! Thank 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

James Lovelock is Amazing

James Lovelock is over 100 years old now and wrote this book at 100. As I posted on Google Books and Good reads for a review, I was fascinated by the fresh ideas and the overwhelming logic and science provided in this book.

Lovelocks book, Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence, provided a fresh look at everything. While I already had agreed with his Gaia Hypothesis, that earth is a self-regulating organism, he provided more evidence about the Gaia Hypothesis and also what comes next. The book helped me rethink many things, including what I assumed was an accepted fact, that the anthropocene period, where man is the driving force, was bad. He instead helped me think that his may be the stumbling steps of evolution. He also introduced what should seem like a crazy idea, that we can evolve to cyborgs, as a non-controversial logical next step. This book is more hopeful than most and helped me see his hypothesized future as not just logical, but exciting.

While this book supported ideas of how we can move forward, it also supported the ideas espoused by Jane Benyus that we should live in ways that make life more livable for everyone and everything. James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis proponents of the Gaia Hypothesis explained the conditions necessary for life are created and maintained by life itself in a self-sustaining process of dynamical feedback. We do this and improve our living conditions by living in ways that make life more livable for everyone and everything.

We are part of the natural system and as a part, it is imperative we live in ways that improve the system, rather than destroy it from our use. This was also was promoted by Russell Ackoff who I highlighted in my Moving Toward Better in 2022 post.

As posted previously, this 10 minute presentation , “Beyond Continual Improvement” was posted as, ‘If Russ Ackoff had given a TED Talk. In thishe clearly explains why we should only build better parts if those parts also improve the whole.

Please share how you improve parts that can help generate comprehensive improvements through the creation of net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, which means the whole system benefits. Thank you.

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

Wellness Days Generate More Good

My former Ph.D.mentor and and dissertation chair at Arizona State, Dr. Bill Arnold, recently sent me this NBC News article, “Employees are tired, stressed and burned out. That’s why I give mine ‘wellness days” with the header, “Your Point”. The article makes the point I promote that employers should treat employees as adults and give them freedom to use their days as desired. If employees are misusing the policy, attention should be directed toward a better culture. Work should be rewarding, as Dr. W. Edwards Deming often explained:

image of quote by Dr. Deming: People are entitled to joy in work.

To enable people to have a better work experience, to enable joy, employees should be provided “general leave” days, rather than sick days, to use. If people are sick, then those general leave days are used for sickness and cannot be used for desired activities. This policy therefore rewards people who are healthy by giving them the opportunity to have days off with pay to use as desired. This type of “Wellness Day” Policy can generate more good, not just less bad or fewer sick days (see Beyond Order and Status Quo). This policy will also encourage people to strive for higher levels of health, which will also benefit productivity and research shows also results in less sick days, as a by-product.

In other words, give employees wellness days so they can use those days to fulfill their potential. After all:

Are we living in Orwellian’s world? Why should we only paid for a day off if we are sick? Doesn’t this policy reward sickness?

Of course providing for sick days is important, which a General Leave Policy also accomplishes, but more is needed. People need days outside of work for importantthings in life such as attending a child’s performance, a child’s graduation (personal experience), or going to see a fantastic exhibit. All these things are important to help the employees have a better life. Keeping employees from doing what they want will negatively impact their productivity and attitude about work. This policy also means when they will miss work, it won’t be a surprise. With his policy employees will plan for the days missed which will also boost productivity when they miss without preparation. The policy highlighted in the article described their wellness days as:

With our five annual wellness days, we encourage people to stay out long before they become ill, no questions asked. If they do decide to share what they did, we love hearing how the concert, bike ride or time with their kids helped them recharge and feel even better.

The idea of Wellness Days is similar to the famed Google 20% time rule that encourages employees to spend 20% of their time on whatever they want. They trust the employees to do the right things and the payoff has been powerful (as noted in the linked article below).

Google Says It Still Uses the ’20-Percent Rule,’ and You Should Totally Copy It: Do they still really do this at Google? In a way, it doesn’t matter. You should copy it regardless

The idea is pretty simple: It’s that you, or a team, or a company–anyone, really–should divide your time working, so that at least 20 percent is spent exploring or working on projects that show no promise of paying immediate dividends but that might reveal big opportunities down the road. 

“We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20 percent of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google,” co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin wrote in 2004, before the company’s IPO. “This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner.”

A Wellness Day policy that provides paid time off work for general leave, rather than sick days, is a way practice paneugenesis because it is likely to generate more good, not JUST less bad. Wellness Days are more likely to enable employees and their organizations to generate comprehensive improvements because they will now have the capacity to create net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please share wellness days policies that work and also let us know how they have helped. Thank you.

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

A Part to Improve the Whole

Last week I posted about the need to improve individual parts in ways that benefit the whole (see Moving Toward Better in 2022). I provided the example of composting as a way to do this because it grows healthy soil, eliminates waste, benefits future plants, can provide jobs and healthy food while also providing other ecological benefits.

In all I do, I try to improve the whole, or generate comprehensive improvements by creating parts or interactions that are net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless and synergistic so everyone and everything, the system, benefits.

A Simple Example

As an example, my wife purchased a water bottle that is carbon negative in production. It works great. I have attached pictures. I like this example because it shows how we can contribute to a better system by how we live daily, not by doing something extra. Engaging this in acts like this is a way to practice paneugenesis because it can benefit everyone and everything as we can feel good for being part of the solution. Please share how you improve the system with your parts.

SmartShake Eco-Bottle

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

Standing on Natures Shoulders

Jane Goodall, in the forward to Paul Hawken’s 2021 book, “Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis on One Generation“, said we are homosapien’s, or the “wise” ape. That not only means that we part of nature, it also means we should be smart enough to learn from nature. I also recommend you look at the accompanying Regeneration website here. Regeneration will benefit everyone and everything.

We live life to make it more livable.

Paraphrase of Jane Benyus

The idea that we can learn from nature was best explained and brought to light most clearly by Jane Benyus with Biomimicry (see Parallel NOT Linear Means Create Positive AND Prevent Negative and many other posts). She explained how nature works and all we ever wanted to know can be discovered in nature. Nature evolved over the last 3.8billion years by learning how to make life more livable. While some things in nature go extinct, it is generally because it evolved into a more effective entity that worked better with the system. Everything is connected, which means it is vital we get along. It would be to our benefit to get along, or live in a way that helps the whole system do and be better. A concept I am attempting to promote and make more likely.

Promoting Selfish, Selfless, Synergy is how it seems to work and has been the focus of my work. This means I try to empower all to be their best (see Paneugenesis or creating all good here). In all I learn, I see others that were successful by using this concept. I therefore have built my career by standing on the shoulders of others who have done great work. Upon further reflection, I see that those that were successful used the genius of nature meaning they stood on natures shoulders. I hope my work expands the work of those I promote and that others will build on my efforts and work. Thomas Johnson is another example who was able to help organizations know how to do better by treating organizations as living systems in his book, “Profit Beyond Measure” (reviewed here at Deming.org).

Using what Benyus learned from nature, it suggests positive contributions must also improve the whole system. Therefore, the leaders I am attempting to build upon did not just shift a problem, which would mean they could cause a gain for one group and hurt another or the environment, they helped all advance. An example where we learned we did not really advance, but just shifted problems, can be seen with CFC’s. While CFC’s enabled refrigeration, a big benefit, it also put a whole in the ozone layer and its continued use would have been damaging. We have to do better than that.

The work I try to build upon didn’t just fix what was wrong, it gave us a whole new ways to do things. Nature helps us learn how we can do better. My mentors have done this. Dr. W. Edwards Deming generated what came to be called Total Quality Management. His aim was to help all win – the organization, the workers, the customers and the community. It was from this idea the #SelfishSelflessSynergy way that is also referred to as practicing paneugenesis evolved. To practice paneugenesis means to create all good.

Ray Anderson, another mentor, is someone who decided he must work in a whole new way with his company “Interface”. He changed his company to work in ways that benefitted nature. It also enabled the company to earn more profits and not make a living by “…stealing my grandchildren’s future” as he indicated. His company now works to regenerate rather than damage the environment upon which all depends.

A simple example of creating an entirely new way do do things, rather than just fixing what we have, can be seen in how Al Vernacchio suggests we teach sex education. I shared his work before here A Better Way to Talk about Sex?. Rather than adjusting the prevailing or existing baseball model often used as an analogy for sex, he offered a better model. As he explains, the existing Baseball model cannot or at least is highly unlikely to generate healthy relationships, and relationships are everything. He therefore suggests a new way to do things and explains why it is better for everyone and everything. If you have not heard this before, encourage you to listen and share your thoughts.

Al provides just one example. There are many others beyond what I shared that have provided a better ways to do things. We can all do this and must do this if we want a better tomorrow. I am working to do this and I strongly encourage you to do the same. Please tell us about your mentors who have benefited everyone and everything.

I will be learning from Paul Hawken how we can live in ways to regenerate life. I am trying to live a regenerative life by generating comprehensive improvements through the creation of pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits = the Practice of Paneugenesis. Please share how you are living a regeneratively to make it a great day, week, year, and life.

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

Repeated Message: Need More Good

It seems every day I get hit with more messages telling me the same thing, we need more good, not just less bad. We can do things that not only benefit ourselves, but also leave everyone and everything else better. Transactions where each side just trades goods, is not enough, our transactions must have positive ripples. Even President Biden’s plans seek to “Build Back Better”.

Overall, I am continually learning we can be better when doing good. For example, last week I saw, “Kiss the Ground“, a movie that demonstrated how farmers, food, nourishment and society can be better through better methods. My wife shared something that makes her life better and also improves our world. I also read an excellent journal article by Ilona Kickbusch, PhD, Visioning the future of health promotion , that explained there are better methods needed for the future and was how she was visioning this for the future. I keep hearing we can do more good, not just less bad.

When I say it must be more good, not just less bad I mean the more sustainable, selfish, selfless, synergistic way of doing. For example, my wife changed from dairy creamer to almond milk creamer and she prefers the almond creamer, its better – selfish. Choosing almond rather than a dairy based creamer is good for the environment and animals – Selfless. My wife, getting a better morning brew and the opportunity to feel good about herself in a better environment means she can have a better day and help more kids – she teaches – synergy. Only when it is more good, will we stick with changes and only then will we want to look for more ways to be more good, not just less bad.

Kiss the Ground” is a movie about better soil, which makes better food, enables farmers to earn more money, can capture more carbon and makes better food. The food nourishes us more, which means we want more of this food that the farmer feels good about selling, because he knows it also benefits the environment, so he wants to make more of, etc. etc. it goes round and round of more good, not just less bad.

In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, Halbert Dunn devised of the concept of Wellness. He explained wellness must be:

Strong enough to activate devotion of time, resources, and energies toward understanding and culturing health in a positive sense

Halbert Dunn (1959, High Level Wellness for Man & Society)

As he stated, Wellness, which I define as progress, (See Experiencing Wellness = Progress Toward Desired) must be strong enough to devote time, resources and energies toward it development. I think he meant that its achievements should mean enough to us that we want to work toward its achievement.

For example, the 2021 JAMA article, Association Between Structural Housing Repairs for Low-Income Homeowners and Neighborhood Crime by Eugenia C. South, MD; John MacDonald, PhD; Vincent Reina, PhD, showed fixing up house, not only gave people a better place to live and a better life – the better community also had less crime. Could it be because people watched out for their neighbors, had more pride of ownership, or other reasons. Yes! More good, is has more of an impact than less bad.

In my own way, it has been my focus to Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad as I explained in this 17 minute presentation I made to my university’s sustainability committee.

Creating more good was also what McDonough and Braungart highlighted in their book Upcycle (see Concept: Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad). Seventh Generation CEO Jeffrey Hollander also emphasized less bad is not enough to generate more good.

Over and over evidence continues to document that we should focus on how to create more good, not just less bad. To make things better, we have to also fix what we broke. Either way, it is the best thing we can do because we will be making a contribution, Selfish, that others will benefit from, Selfless, and then there will be a better world, Synergy. #SelfishSelflessSynergy

I continue to work to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions from which everyone and everything benefits because it makes my dash – , valuable. The Dash is the poem written by Linda Ellis where the dash represents the time you were alive (i.e. like for my dad, 1932-2019) He made his dash valuable.

I am hoping these posts will inspire you to make your Dash even better by engaging in selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions that help everyone and everything. Please share how you generate #SelfishSelflessSynergy!

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