Trees & Forests Can Help Us!?

I recently read and reviewed a very interesting book, The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World. It amazed and inspired me. The wisdom in the trees is amazing, we can learn so much about how we can make our lives better for everyone and everything by learning how trees manage their lives. As Peter Wohllenben documents, with clarity and support, forests practice Paneugenesis because they generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Below is the review I posted on Goodreads and Google books.

Wow – what different thoughts I have after reading this book. I was surprised at how much this book impacted my thoughts. Understand I also have an informed bias. I am an environmentalist and believe we not only must live sustainably, but we also have to fix all we have broken. My reading indicates this book supported that belief while also helping me gain an even better and deeper understanding of the innate interconnections of all living beings on earth.

The book nudged me to see trees, and plants for that matter, as living beings, but on a different time scale than us. Trees live 500 to 1000 years so they change slowly. This slow rate of change has caused us to see trees as things, rather than living beings. Wohlleben makes a strong case for how and why trees are living beings. He even got me to understand how trees may have emotions and feelings. As he states and makes clear, “… Trees are not competitive crusaders but members of a connected, related community system.”

I was amazed over and over again by the hidden capabilities of trees and forests. Trees also form a community and are connected. They also help each other, even other plants thought to be competitors because it is the whole, the forest, that takes priority. I was continually awed. For instance, I was amazed to learn about all the natural defenses trees and forests develop to use for floods, heat and cold that are lost when trees are moved from the forest to a city.  

I was also amazed to learn how trees clean the air. Trees also react to their surroundings. Trees send out scents to attract predators or push away greedy plants or animals when needed. I was also amazed to learn if trees don’t have time to rest due to lights in a city or are not able to experience the coolness of the winter, they die earlier. It was also interesting to learn how helpful it is for the well-being of trees to have relatives, such as mother and father trees, close by. The mother trees nurture their babies, just like us. I was amazed to learn that trees also suffer from loneliness and die early when they are removed from a forest.

In other words, trees practice paneugenesis and therefore generate comprehensive improvements by making life more livable. They are act selfishly to keep a forest abundant because it provides their greatest chance for a good life, it acts selflessly by helping others when they need it, and these selfish, selfless, symbiotic actions cause synergistic benefits from which everyone and everything benefits.

Near the end of the book, he stated: “Forests are not first and foremost lumber factories and warehouses for raw materials, and only secondarily complex habitats for thousands of species, which is the way modern forestry treats them. Completely the opposite, in fact.” In a similar way, this is the point I try to make with my work focused on health. We do not first and foremost take actions and do things to prevent bad consequences from happening, and only secondarily improve well-being, which is how our “health” care system and society works now. Results document the complete opposite is the more beneficial path.

We should engage in actions that enhance our society with a systems appreciation so our actions generate comprehensive improvements that benefit everyone and everything. This is the system of the forest that Peter Wohlleben explained in his book, “The Hidden Life of Trees: what they feel, how they communicate: discoveries from a secret world”. Nature can teach us so much…

I was inspired to learn more about what the trees and forests can teach us so I am now enjoying Suzanne Simard’s book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest.

Please enjoy this short introductory video by Dr. Simard:

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

Advancing Salutogenesis Ideas

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

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

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

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

My Presentations

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

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

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

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

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Article Published to Improve Education & Health

 

With my colleagues, Ashley Norris,MS, Susannah Berry,MS, Beth Chaney, PhD and Molly Robinson, MPH, I expanded my research to early childhood education. The study was interesting and I learned a lot. Through this work I learned we can positively impact education and health by empowering the student and teacher in ways that also improve health behaviors. I published the findings in the American Journal of Health Studies article, “Pilot Assessment of the Scholar Checklist: A Tool for Early Childhood Health & Education“. If you are interested, you can see more about the article here.

Be Well’r, 

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

For Complex, Oblique(Obliquity) is More Effective – Updated

We are so smart, we overcomplicate things. Making it more complex can help us understand, however for action, simplicity is necessary. Most goals or desires we have in life have more complexity than readily apparent. We are physical, social, emotional, spiritual dynamic, interrelated beings. Things continually change because as anything changes, everything changes. For this reason, and many others, John Kay convincingly explains why the interactive, oblique process, what he calls obliquity, is a more effective method. Obliquity is  being deliberately indirect.

John Kay discusses it in his book of the same name and the TED Talk, Obliquity: How Complex Goals Are Best Achieved Indirectly below.

Oblique approaches are regularly used. Effective methods focus on building a better process so the product will take care of itself. For example, rather than going directly at health, which is complex, Antonovsky demonstrated with his salutogenesis model the focus should be on building meaning, manageability and comprehensibility and then health will be the subsequent consequence.

This approach also supports the paneugenesis process because working to develop  Precursors are indirect factors necessary to realize Idealized Outcomes. In other words, the paneugenesis process is an example of using indirect methods to achieve complex goals.

In support of the idea of obliquity, James Clear shared this:

“Friendship happens on the way to something else If you “try to meet new people” it feels weird and forced. The more you aim for friendship, the more it eludes you.But if you aim to learn or achieve something with others, friendship happens naturally during the shared pursuit.”

James Clear 9-9-2021 Newsletter

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

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

Lifestyle Behavior for Health Article Published in AJLM

A great deal of focus, attention, and money has been spent to help us improve our lifestyles with the belief that this will lead to improved health. Without a doubt, there is potential. Reality, however, shows us that although some things are better, the trend is not what it should or could be. From my perspective there may be a better approach. Evidence from my work and from many others suggests that  a comprehensive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic salutogenic or health causing approach would be more effective.

Data in this article documents a lack of progress using current methods in improving lifestyle behaviors. My colleagues (Kerry Sewell, Hui Bian and Joseph Lee) and I published this article, Limited Improvements in Health Behaviors Suggest Need to Review Approaches to Health Promotion: A Repeated, Cross-Sectional Study in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine to recommend a another approach.

If you have time and are able, I encourage you to read the article and share your thoughts and also let us know how you generate comprehensive improvements! Thank you.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Thank you for reading, please comment below and contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Friday Bonus Post: Thank You Dr. Greger

I have noted often, I eat more plants and encourage others to do the same because it will help everyone and everything. It is good for us, good for animals good, good for workers, good for the air, good for the land, good for the water, good for…Dr. Greger summarizes it well here. Enjoy and make it a great weekend by generating comprehensive benefits through the creation of pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Please share your thoughts below. If you have questions or ideas to share, please contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Asking Better Questions Can Generate a Better Tomorrow

For us to create a better world, we have to ask the right questions. If we don’t ask the right questions, it is impossible to get the right answer. Asking the wrong questions means no matter how hard we work at getting the answers, we still won’t get what we want because we asked the wrong question.

Of course, if we are asking the wrong questions, the data we collect to answer the question will be wrong. Working with the wrong data leads to improperly informed data based decisions. We then waste effort, no matter how hard or how diligently we work. As practice continues to illustrate, Dr. W. Edwards Deming forsaw future problems from the existing methods. With regard to this situation, he would say,

It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.

We can’t do good work if we don’t answer appropriate questions and have bad or wrong data. Additionally, working this way leads to more problems. Using the wrong data and asking the wrong questions means we get wrong answers. Relatedly, Russell Ackoff said it was most important to make sure you taking appropriate action. Appropriate action is impossible with the wrong data and the wrong question. As he explained,

Climate change is a current example where people cherry pick data to support a preconceived view rather than letting data determine the situation. Walter Williams regular uses cherry picked data to support a different pespective as he did in his November 20, 2019 column, Scientists: Dishonest or Afraid?. A response to his column pointing out that he used bad data can be seen at, Climate scientists neither dishonest nor afraid. In my view, it is important for us to get perspective. To get perspective, it often requires us to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

From a larger perspective, there are no problems just a reality to improve. In other words, things are functioning, all we can do is improve what we are doing to have  a more beneficial impact.

This issue was brought to my attention as I listened to the first episode of the Solvable Podcast.

In this episode, which is also on Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast , Gladwell interviews Rosanne Haggerty about homelessness. Rosanne explains how we are asking the wrong questions about homelessness. She explains that we believe the homeless problem cannot be solved because we are using the wrong data. She also explains how we are spending more to keep the status quo than it would cost to provide a solution to the housing problem from which everyone could benefit. She suggests a sticking point may be an issue of fairness. I encourage you to listen to this episode on #Solvable and share your thoughts here.

With regard to cost, once again this is the wrong question. It is not how much will it cost but how much can we save by providing housing. A positive benefit would be calculated even before related benefits such as what those people can contribute to society are considered.

This is another “True Cost” example (see True cost is all about The External Ripple). True costs for homelessness must include the widespread burden put on public service workers, police, teachers, EMT, court systems, doctors, librarians, emergency rooms, and the healthcare systems. We can provide an investment in housing for less then it costs to maintain the status quo and this investment will pay societal dividends that benefit everyone and everything.

If you are interested, Roseanne Haggerty indicated that the article in the New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell, Million Dollar Murray helped inspire her work. The article outlines the huge costs of just one homeless person had for society.

 

The issue about the wrong question and the wrong data resonates with me because it has been my life’s work. My work has focused on improving health. While most believe better health is accomplished by minimizing and or preventing disease. That line of thinking is once again asking the wrong question which means that associated work provides inappropriate data. Of course decreasing disease problems is helpful and good, but better health cannot be answered by focusing on disease. Please see Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant!.

Currently we have an acute disease care system which is helpful, useful and important to treat problems for the short term. This system, however, is insufficient and inappropriate to generate a better life for all. To create a better life, we must ask about how can we not just have better health, but how do we create a better life for everyone and everything, not possible as things are now.

Health is important, not as an ends, but as a means because it enables a better life. As James Clear explains,

Having health isn’t everything, not having it is.

To create this better life, we must consider everyone and everything because we are all connected and we all rise and fall together.  The question cannot be how do we fix disease and or infirmity, but how do we cause health. We also must be sure that health is understood as the World Health Organization defines it:

A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being

and not

merely the absence of disease and infirmity.

This concept can be applied to everything. I use it for all I do. For example, I have applied this idea to Higher Education when I sought to discover What Helps Students Thrive? not just survive. The questions cannot be about how we prevent failure but how do we facilitate higher levels of success, not possible otherwise. This is what I call Exceeding Expectations, +3. (see video)

I continually challenge myself to exceed expectations. I ask myself, how can do my best in my roles as a husband, parent, friend, co-worker, professor and citizen? My question for myself is how can contribute more as a member of society, not just how do I avoid causing problems. I know when I do this, generated benefits are widespread. Doing this helps others, it helps me feel better about myself, and these actions provide data to support the positive feeling generated about myself. It is a no lose proposition.

If we don’t ask the question, better answers will only be discovered by accident. I recommend we make a concerted effort to ask the right question. Asking the right questions will help us get the right data which will help us make better decisions which can benefit all. In other words, we should be asking ourselves, how can we…

Generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits?

For those of you that follow me, you know this is how to practice paneugenesis or create all good. Don’t we all want to be contributing members of society? Doing this enables us to be who we want to be. As more of us do this, we create a better life for ourselves because we live a life of purpose and meaning. A by-product from living this way, as more of us do this, a better society for everyone and everything evolves.

 

Please share how you practice paneugenesis. I encourage you to practice paneugenesis to make it a Great Holiday season for yourself and everyone else. Enjoy and feel good about the beneficial interactions you create with friends, family and the environment.

 

Terrorism Cannot be Prevented Or Eliminated

As we have learned, we cannot kill all the terrorists. Of course when we do, as with Al-Qaeda, a new version of it, as happened with ISIS, evolves. In other words,

Terrorism Cannot be Prevented Or Eliminated

Killings, sanctions, and or isolationism cannot get rid of terrorism any more than angioplasty or stents can get rid of heart disease.  These approaches are as illogical as saying not having an aspirin caused your headache or not having a doctor made you sick. Right now all we are doing is reacting bad situations with techniques to treat the symptoms. For a short time, some times, they end the symptom but then, eventually, usually in short order, the symptoms and more reappear.

The original issue, terrorism, heart disease, or anything we try to prevent, eliminate and or treat, will reappear because the Precursor’s or causes of the issue are still present. The conditions that led to that outcome are still present so it has to reappear. Unless a new reality is created, old symptoms have to reappear.

As we have learned, education and women’s empowerment are the best ways to move society forward, and as a by-product, also effectively end terrorism. This works because education and empowerment creates a new, “Idealized” reality where more is possible than what existed previously. The same is true for health. When people discover a plant strong, usually near vegan eating style, develop stronger relationships with people and the environment, and become physically active, they create a better life. In addition, the secondary by product, as demonstrated by Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn’s study’s have shown, the also reverse heart disease.

This is a backward way of saying working to create something better, a new reality using the Paneungenesis Process is also a more effective way to prevent problems than efforts aimed at only eliminating undesired outcomes. In other words, a focus on Creating More Good, Not Just Less Bad isa  more effective way to have less bad. Which also, most importantly, if done correctly, benefits everyone and everything.

As a reminder,

Practice Paneugenesis using this 4 Step to Process

  1. Operationalize Desired Idealized Outcome
    • Determine an Idealized outcome that is better or improved from what is possible or able to happen now
    • Must incorporate Systems Thinking so the outcome benefits are on multiple levels without any seen harm to other levels
  2. Discover and Develop Necessary Precursors to make Desired Outcome Possible
    • Research to discover what must come before idealized outcome, what must be true for desired outcome to occur
    • Assess current process to discover and learn current processes used or must be created to manifest ideal outcomes
  3. Optimize the Process to Develop Skills and abilities that make Precursors possible(this is Green Grass philosophy, its designing a process to help grass grow)
    • Develop good practices (append existing or start new processes)
    • Forget about what you should avoid
      • ONLY Focus on doing what makes desired things happen
    • Nurture, encourage, engage in and reinforce helpful actions
    • Update unneeded, outdated or inappropriate actions to ones that created idealized vision
  4. Plot Progress to document, demonstrate, and celebrate Improvement
    • Measure and document process progress moving forward toward idealized outcome
      • Note specific ongoing processes completed that cause movement forward
    • Plan and develop next steps to enable continual improvement

We cannot prevent or eliminate terrorism, though we can lessen some fo the things that we don’t want. However, if we want a better tomorrow, it can only happen by moving toward a new reality and this is something new that must be created.

Creating something new and better will necessarily push out what we do not want – it has to or the new reality will not exist (see Green Grass Theory)

I have noted this before in Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant! and to move forward we must Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad. I look forward to hearing how you create a better tomorrow, please share your successes.

As you know, I will work for progress by generating comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, or by practicing paneugenesis.  I look forward to hearing about the progress you help generate.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

If you want to contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Great Holiday Present for Self

Happy Holidays!  I hope all are making it a great holiday season.  If you are interested in getting yourself a holiday present, I recommend the book I just finished, Recovery Break Through!: Using muscle testing for accelerated recovery and increased performance. I see the Kindle Edition is only $2.99. Either way, I look forward to all of us working together to make 2019 a Great Year.  Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Here is the review I posted on GoodReads:

Great book. Not sure I would have believed most of what was written had I not experienced this helpful and valuable therapy. Myself, my wife and kids all have had therapy and it is as good as advertised. To me this is a much more appropriate way of care, being proactive to be better, or well’R as I promote. Approaches, as originally termed by Amory Lovins in 1975 can take a “soft path” or a “hard path”. Lovins explained the “soft path” would be with the natural rhythms of the world, like with renewable energy, and this would not have many detrimental side effects because of its compatibility with nature and our socio-political values. The “hard path”, on the other hand, for energy requires digging ancient sunshine from fossil fuels and burning it with factories and excavation, which we all know has multiple negative impacts on society. His words are prescient and this idea of a soft or hard path can be applied to most issues. In health the “soft path” is called salutogenesis or a health creation and or a health origins approach and the “hard path” is the pathogenesis approach or disease origins, fix the problem approach. The KORE “soft path” approach is important and valuable because despite doing all everything we can to be well, things still happen or as explained by this book, imbalances, and using KORE helps without causing other damaging problems or side-effects. It would be helpful to get this approach more common in America. I encourage all to learn about Dr. Brazier’s KORE Therapy.

For me this is another way to go on offense to create health promotion gains as I discussed in this interviewAdvancing Wellness Interview about Causing Health, and in this articleArticle: Going on Offense to Enable Health Gains Published.

Please share your thoughts on how you will take action to help create a better tomorrow. Lets make it a Great Holiday Season and Make 2019 Great!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Comprehensive Benefits from a Community Based Lifestyle Program

Dr. Michael Greger shared some wonderful 5 minute “Nutrition Facts” videos about the “CHIP Program”. I enourage you to review the CHIP Health site to learn more.

CHIP started out as the Coronary Health Improvement Program and is now named, the Complete Health Improvement Program because of its comprehensive benefits.

The three videos below include  “The Weight Loss Program that Got Better with Time“,  “CHIP: The Complete Health Improvement Program” and “a Workplace Wellness Program that Works“.  This inexpensive community based education program is getting great results and helping many feel better as they learn about the power of plant based foods.  I encourage you to watch these interesting presentations to learn more!

The possible confounding association of CHIP with Seventh Day Adventists was raised, however, as shown in the third video tests with rural participants indicates the program helps.

It is great learning about programs that work while they also help generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

I look forward to hearing how you help make it a Great Week for everyone and everything!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Evolution of Positive Health

I just uploaded a video to my YouTube page (below) that reviews how I see the evolution of positive health. Within this video I describe how the concepts of wellness and salutogenesis are related. After you watch this short 11 minute video, please share your thoughts. Thank you.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

 

 

Great Documentary to Watch: “Food Choices”

I watched “Food Choices” on Netflix (it is available through many sources). I thought it was a great documentary about how to make good choices and the impact of food choices on personal and planetary well-being.

I liked it because it was not heavy handed. I posted two trailers below. I encourage you to watch it and share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

Wellness is the “Opposite of Loneliness”

I was moved by Marina Keegan’s amazing final essay at Yale. Tragically she was killed in a car crash a week after graduating, she was 22. She created the essay below for a special edition of the Yale Daily News edition that was distributed at the class of 2012’s commencement.

I inspired because I realized this is what our world should be and what we all want. It is like how I feel when I attend the National Wellness Conference every year. This means making the world a place where we become the best versions of ourselves.

As she shares, it is not about just being comfortable but about progress, as shared in a previous essay, Is Wellness Progress?  My push is that we all need to enlarge our circle include all living things in creating progress so we generate improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Enjoy…

Marina’s essay

Screen-Shot-2014-04-07-at-2.48.26-AM

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life. What I’m grateful and thankful to have found at Yale, and what I’m scared of losing when we wake up tomorrow and leave this place.

It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it’s four a.m. and no one goes to bed. That night with the guitar. That night we can’t remember. That time we did, we went, we saw, we laughed, we felt. The hats.

Yale is full of tiny circles we pull around ourselves. A cappella groups, sports teams, houses, societies, clubs. These tiny groups that make us feel loved and safe and part of something even on our loneliest nights when we stumble home to our computers — partner-less, tired, awake. We won’t have those next year. We won’t live on the same block as all our friends. We won’t have a bunch of group-texts.

This scares me. More than finding the right job or city or spouse — I’m scared of losing this web we’re in. This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness. This feeling I feel right now.

But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move to New York and away from New York and wish we did or didn’t live in New York. I plan on having parties when I’m 30. I plan on having fun when I’m old. Any notion of THE BEST years comes from clichéd “should haves…” “if I’d…” “wish I’d…”

Of course, there are things we wished we did: our readings, that boy across the hall. We’re our own hardest critics and it’s easy to let ourselves down. Sleeping too late. Procrastinating. Cutting corners. More than once I’ve looked back on my High School self and thought: how did I do that? How did I work so hard? Our private insecurities follow us and will always follow us.

But the thing is, we’re all like that. Nobody wakes up when they want to. Nobody did all of their reading (except maybe the crazy people who win the prizes…) We have these impossibly high standards and we’ll probably never live up to our perfect fantasies of our future selves. But I feel like that’s okay.

We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lay alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out – that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it’s too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.

When we came to Yale, there was this sense of possibility. This immense and indefinable potential energy – and it’s easy to feel like that’s slipped away. We never had to choose and suddenly we’ve had to. Some of us have focused ourselves. Some of us know exactly what we want and are on the path to get it; already going to med school, working at the perfect NGO, doing research. To you I say both congratulations and you suck.

For most of us, however, we’re somewhat lost in this sea of liberal arts. Not quite sure what road we’re on and whether we should have taken it. If only I had majored in biology…if only I’d gotten involved in journalism as a freshman…if only I’d thought to apply for this or for that…

What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.

In the heart of a winter Friday night my freshman year, I was dazed and confused when I got a call from my friends to meet them at EST EST EST. Dazedly and confusedly, I began trudging to SSS, probably the point on campus farthest away. Remarkably, it wasn’t until I arrived at the door that I questioned how and why exactly my friends were partying in Yale’s administrative building. Of course, they weren’t. But it was cold and my ID somehow worked so I went inside SSS to pull out my phone. It was quiet, the old wood creaking and the snow barely visible outside the stained glass. And I sat down. And I looked up. At this giant room I was in. At this place where thousands of people had sat before me. And alone, at night, in the middle of a New Haven storm, I felt so remarkably, unbelievably safe.

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I’d say that’s how I feel at Yale. How I feel right now. Here. With all of you. In love, impressed, humbled, scared. And we don’t have to lose that.

We’re in this together. Let’s make something happen to this world.

Hard to say it better than that. Lets work together for progress by generating comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

 –

🌏🚀🚀We Can Have Both!🚀🚀🌏

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Having just read The Martian and the recent Matt Damon hit, The Martian, this TED presentation is interesting. Stellar astronomer and TED Senior Fellow Lucian Walkowicz works with NASA’s Kepler’s mission and provides a useful perspective. To me she is saying, if we have a backup plan, we often do not take care of what we have as we should. The issue with life and earth is that there is no backup. This also relates to Risk Homeostasis Theory (see previous posts) that shows when we feel safer, we act more dangerously. Most advantageous would be to think how can we act to benefit today AND tomorrow!

To me what is important in this message is we can have both, it is not should we take care of the planet or plan to live in the stars – we should do both. This has been what I promote for health, it is not should we prevent disease or promote health but promote health for a better life and prevention happens because of the better life created! From this example, we should be working to make life sustainable, exciting and better on earth while we also look for possibilities in the stars – the best of both!

The message I walk away with from this short (5:50) presentation, “Let’s Not Use Mars as a Backup Planet” is we should be consistently and consciously working to generate comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits! I look forward to hearing how you Practice Paneugenesis and hearing about the resulting benefits we all get to enjoy.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Do Whatever You Want – You will be Ok, is that desired???

Do Whatever You Want and you guess what, you will probably be Ok. Ok, yes, Great?, unlikely. Much of this post came to me after reading about Risk Homeostasis Theory and thinking about my life. As many of you know, I was the victim of a near fatal car accident where the driver and 2 other passengers in the car I was riding were killed. I suffered a severe brain trauma, lapsed into a coma, was paralyzed and lost all I had ever known. Still today, as a published professor, writer and speaker, it seems I am still able to function at a high level.

Does recovery’s such as mine lead us to believe we can do what we want with impunity? I was fixed pretty much, why should we be careful? Aren’t we encouraged to get all we can now? Situations seem to suggest we can do what we want and still be ok. Yet as I learned, it is true we can do anything we want if we  just want to be ok. I however wanted to be better than ok. To be better than ok or just not bad, I had to work to be able to function at a higher level through specific actions. I like must people want to have a life of meaning and do what Steve Jobs referred to as making a dent in the universe.

Isn’t great what we are after? Are any of us striving and working to be average? How many want or think their kids are average? Statistics impossibly document that over 50% of us consider ourselves better than average – at least we want to believe that. If most of us want to be better than average, what should we do? How can we make it happen? What do you want out of your life? Not bad or Really good? To me being better is a simple choice, work to be better, or don’t.

Of course that simple idea is challenged by Gerald Wilde’s Risk Homeostasis Theory (RHT) (linked to article). Dr. Wilde’s focus is traffic safety. He however proposes that RHT can be a theory to predict all human behaviors related to health and safety. He explains that homeostasis is an active, not static process because preserving equilibrium is about ongoing change. He compares risk homeostasis to processes like body temperature, heart rate and sugar level that constantly work to keep levels within a range through process adjustments. Homeostasis, therefore is a process of continual adjustments to short-term fluctuations to maintain long-term steadiness.

In my recent read of Target 2: A New Psychology of Safety & Health; what works, what doesn’t and why I feel like I was educated and enlightened. The data provided and his explanations seem to justify logic but do not flow with traditional understanding of how to make things better. Risk Homeostasis Theory is explained by what he calls the Delta Fallacy. He explains the Delta Fallacy as: if there are 3 delta’s through which water flows to go to the ocean, blocking 2 delta’s does not mean that only 1/3 of the water gets to the ocean. As happens, the water still gets to the ocean even though 2 deltas are blocked, however now instead of through the 3 deltas, more flows through the one open delta or new channels are developed to disburse the water. In other words, simply blocking the flow does not change the output of water into the ocean, it just changes its path to get to the ocean.

Wilde uses this as an analogy for risky behaviors. He explains, if we block one risky behavior, it will come out in other ways. He supports this contention with mountains of data. Some simple examples he provides with research include when anti-lock breaks are on cars, people then adjust their behaviors by driving more recklessly relying on the ABS system and death rates overall remain constant. He explains this as an unconscious adaptation that takes place to maintain, or to keep our risk level constant or homeostatic. He supports this contention with many more data supported examples that show no change in overall deaths despite engineering, education and enforcement safety actions such as seat belts, air bags, road improvements, and driver education and the outcome of traffic death rates.

The reading that really caught my attention was when he ventured over to health behaviors citing examples such as cigarette smoking by documenting that when tar and nicotine were reduced, deaths remained constant because people changed how they smoked. Studies document “Harder” Smoking. Article: Smoke Harder? As many of us can readily recall, we know the people who exercise longer or harder so they can eat more unhealthy foods, nullifying gains produced by exercise.

In other words, what he is saying is that focusing on risks and decreasing risks does not and cannot create better outcomes, it just changes how it happens – the Delta Fallacy. What is most interesting is how he documents that people and society per se have a target level of risk that they are willing to accept or have and one that they work to maintain. With well supported documentation for this contention, he shows that when we take action to decrease risk in one way, we will increase our risk in another way so our risk level remains constant or homeostatic.

Wilde proposes this closed loop Homeostatic Mechanism Model. It is considered closed loop because as environment or behaviors decrease risk, behaviors adapt accordingly to keep risk levels and related outcomes constant. I found it interesting to do a thought experiment using these homeostatic mechanisms, which I will follow up with research, about how this applies to our life and that of our culture.

Homeostatic Mechanisms

Overall, in well supported ways he documents that traditional methods we use to make us better are ineffective because all these actions do is switch the risk based behaviors. These actions end up just switching the risks we are currently engaged in based on political direction of the day to other risky actions that are we are not dissuaded from doing.

So how can we be better? In his book he proposes ways we can use to adjust the target risk level people are willing to accept and have. I will address specific ideas related to his recommendations in coming posts related to his ideas that seem to correspond with my work. Examples I will use focus on creating a desirable future expectation or what he calls expectationism for a better tomorrow. The other related idea I will address focuses on ways to overcome difficulties enmeshed with behavior change related to todays desire to maximize personal benefit over social benefit or what I call the greater good. In other words, this idea addresses concerns related to why and how we would choose to engage in actions to generate comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Thank you for reading this, making these posts helps me learn. Please, share your thoughts, questions or assertions – I look forward to a lively discussion.

I was unable to find any presentations by Dr. Wilde.

Here is a brief overview of the theory: Wilde – Risk Homeostasis Theory an Overview and here is a link to the Risk Homeostasis Resource Center. At this site is a copy of Target 3, which appears to be an update of the book I just read Target 2.

This is  a link to a radio show about Risk Homeostasis Theory available at the resource center site.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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