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

Method to Improve Judgements

I recently read the 2021 book, Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass Sunstein. I posted a paired down version of the review below:

“Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement” was a good surprise for me. Daniel Kahneman and Cass Sustein’s were two of the three authors of this book. Their books, Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast & Slow” mentioned in many posts such as Unique Well-Being Influences of Experience and Memory) and Sunstein’s “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, & Happiness” (also discussed in many posts) were both great books. This book for me was an extension of those works and how to use the ideas presented in those books more effectively. It certainly shifted my thinking from believing it was just bias that could cause errors, to understanding how our diverse thoughts can be more effectively coralled in ways that result in better judgment. The book also helped me understand why noise is an unseen and therefore uncorrected problem and why a focus on improving our decision process can help.

Nate Silver’s book, “The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—But Some Don’t” differentiated the signal from noise in the data with a focus on recognizing the signal. This book explained more about the noise. It explained how “Noise” can cause errors when we use our mind as a measuring instrument. Noise, which can happen on occasion, because of hunger, other concerns, and inattention to details can lead to all of us generating different judgments, even to the same situations. These different judgments lead to increased variance. More consistency, a suggested goal, could occur by lowering the variance through better methods or processes. Improved processes was also the main successful method Dr. W. Edwards Deming promoted to improve quality.

I also now better understand the idea of “Wisdom of the Crowds”. They also acknowledged wisdom does depend on the crowd. The idea of wisdom in crowds is how multiple views aggregated can cancel out errors. Cancelling out or averaging errors cannot happen with single shot assessments by judges or insurance adjusters. To make these single shot judgments less problematic, they recommend improving the decision process by treating those single shot judgements as recurring events. In other words, just as Deming demonstrated with quality management methods, continual process improvements should be the focus – the decision making process in this case.

I was surprised to learn that the powerful impact of anchoring was so pervasive. Anchoring seemed to be a repeated issue or source of errors. Anchoring, as has been shown, happens in situation when the first event, such as a price mentioned, becomes the anchor or reference point from which all else is measured or judged. One of their suggestions to counter anchoring is to use base rates as an anchor. 

It was also explained how anchors are formed from first impressions, first statements and more. After an anchor is established, generally without our conscious recognition, we then use confirmation bias to distort new information so it fits that anchored or our original impression. We do this because we seek coherence. It seems none of us likes to be confused so we attempt o create coherence.

Noise is a very good book that helped me understand how our built in biases such as anchoring, planning fallacy, present bias (endowment effect), confirmation bias , substitution of easier answers for more complicated questions, overconfidence, loss aversion, availability and others impact our judgement. They also offered many ways to improve our judgement. Specifically it seems they are suggesting we slow down so we can use our logical brain, rather than our intuitive brain to make better judgements – what they call Decision Hygiene.

Basically, their generally suggestions to make better judgments, and be more accurate, are to take an outside view by determining a base rate, structure judgements based on several independently determined assessments (independence of assessments is vital), resist premature intuition (to avoid the anchoring effect), and then aggregate multiple independent judgements prior to making overall judgment. They also emphasize the superiority of relative versus absolute judgments. In other words, if you are interested in improving your personal or organizational judgments, I recommend the book, “Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement”.

An important lesson I was reminded of from reading this book was not to let one area be most important. As we build a better life, it all matters. As I show in my work with the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS), all areas in our life can make a meaningful contribution to helping promote personal and planetary well-being. In other words, my research and that of many others has shown that we can help generate comprehensive improvements by creating reciprocal, pervasive, selfish, selfless, synergistic physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, vocational, and environmental interactions that help everyone and everything benefit. The missed point, often because of the push for significance in research, is that the results are from the longer term accumulation of impacts and all contributions matter. If you are interested, you can review any of the peer reviewed articles I have published with colleagues. To access, you may need to go to libraries and use Google Scholar. A recommended search is Becker, CM, salutogenesis, health, and well-being.

Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about promoting selfish, selfless, synergy 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.

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.

Get in the box

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

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

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

What Would be “Thinking Outside the Box?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

German proverb

Time for a Reboot

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

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

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

More than a “Whack a Mole” Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

My Effort to Be a Positive Influence

My work has been focused on how I could help the world be better for everyone and everything – I was trying to promote selfish (good for me), selfless (good for others) synergy (better together). In 2012 I started making blog posts, only 3 that year. I posted about my attempts to generate comprehensive improvements and how others were doing the same. #SelfishSelflessSynergy

Over time I started using it as a scratch board for my ideas to let others know about what seemed to be interesting information I was learning and working through. Academic work takes years to get published, has been published in not readily accessed journals, and often it is dated by the time others see it. I therefore used this blog to let readers know about what I thought were interesting developments and issues.

My repeated theme is about how to generate comprehensive benefits. COVID-19 has made abundantly clear that we are interconnected and interdependent. Now, more than ever, we must work together to generate what we all want: comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions – Everyone and Everything can benefit.

It would be great to get more interaction, and more benefits. Please contact me, share posts, and let me know your thoughts.

To help initiate some interaction, I have provided this list as an easy way access past posts/information. Please share how you generate comprehensive improvements. Also if you want me to address anything special or have questions, please contact me at BeWellr@gmail.com. Thank you.

Use this list to access ALL posts.

Most recent Posts are listed first:

 

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

 

 

 

Many Agree: Masks Generate Comprehensive Improvements

“It is not masks OR jobs, it is masks FOR jobs.” – Thomas Friedman

Wearing masks is a way to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

James Patterson agrees, here is his perspective. He wears a mask because he cares about you.

Tom Hanks explains this perspective:

Wearing masks, in other words is a way to Practice Paneugenesis to create all good.

… it generate comprehensive improvements.

Pervasive = it sends out a positive example that may encourage more to do the same

Reciprocal = others are more likely to do the same, we mirror others

Selfish = the protected wearer can live a more varied and active life that does not endanger others or self. It is an example of how to create more good, not Just less bad during this difficult times.

Selfless = enables wearer to do enjoyable, health promoting activities with others while alsolimiting risk to self and others. More good, not just less bad.

Synergistic = engaging in society while also not risking self and others can benefit our economy enabling others to work. In this way the whole is more than the sum of the parts

Thomas Friedman also agrees, explaining, “…Wearing a mask says: “I’m not just concerned about myself. I’m concerned about you, too. We are all part of the same community, the same country and the same struggle to stay healthy.” In his 7-29-2020 NYT Column,

If Our Masks Could Speak

Something that’s supposed to cover our mouths speaks volumes about how crazy some people have gotten.

FastCompany article supported this with their article, “Masks don’t just save lives. They boost the economy: Researchers find that wearing masks can help avoid devastating economic shutdowns.”

Very prophetically W. Edwards Deming declared:

Defend your rights, you lose…

By this he was saying that if one just fights to make their part of the system better without understanding how it negatively effects the whole system, we all lose.

As John Muir, the first elected president of the Sierra Club, explained:

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

Wearing a mask acknowledges that you are part of an interconnected and interdependent system and that you want to make a contribution toward improving the system upon which we all depend.

People have a right to not wear a mask, however that right takes away from everyone else. As Paul Collier noted in the The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties, reciprocal obligations are what builds a better society. Obligations help improve because they yield more revenue and more positive feelings for generating contributions.

And: Fast Company’s Article: The 21 best arguments for wearing a mask

If you are interested, I discuss these ideas from a different perspective  in A Way Forward Provided in “The Future of Capitalism”. I also discussed it in MLK Day FOR Everyone’s Benefit and in Gender Equality is about Making Things Better.

I encourage you to wear a mask so you can Practice Paneugenesis and generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish selfless interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Make it a Great Day & Week!

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

 

 

Make 2020 Your Best Decade Yet…

This post provides my wishes for a Happy New Year and ideas to make this a great Decade for everyone and everything!  Like most of humanity, I desire a better tomorrow. While our specific visions may differ, at core we want a world with more Love, Well-Being, Capacity and Potential. Scientific evidence has demonstrated that this type of future is not only possible, it is already on-going. Most things have gotten better in many ways.

We often miss the improvement because progress erases its tracks. Instead of complimenting our progress, society looks forward toward where we want to go next and forgets to take pride in the progress that has been made. Knowing our tendency to look past achievements, it is helpful to remember to Plot Progress so we can feel good about what has been accomplished.

On December 28, 2019, Nicholas Kristof‘s NYT’s column proclaimed, “This Has Been the Best Year Ever For humanity over all, life just keeps getting better” and “…In the long arc of human history, 2019 has been the best year ever.” Another good summary of our improvements was made by Steven Pinker in Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. I described this at Things are Great – And They are Getting Better… and also explained the importance of noticing and documenting our progress at Record Progress To Feel Good or Evidence Disappears. See more in Steven Pinkers Washington Post Interview: “A Harvard professor explains why the world is actually becoming a much better place“. Overall Steve Pinker describes how and why we have,

More Abundance, less poverty; More Peace, less wars; 

More Health, less sickness; More Sustenance, less hunger; 

More Productivity, less barrenness; More Freedom, less tyranny;

More equal rights, less bigotry & discrimination; 

More intelligence, less dull wittedness;More literacy, less illiteracy

More knowledge , less ignorance; More happiness, less misery, meaning…

Overall: We have More opportunities to enjoy family, friends and nature,

less drudgery and monotony

Of course bad things are also happening. Unfortunately, only stopping the bad things cannot make it better, science has provided a preponderance of evidence and examples that documents we must Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad.

Creating Habits

As we all know, if we want to make this a great new year and our best decade ever, we will need to take action. Our actions often turn into habits. This can be good because it frees our brain to do more, however it can also cause unthinking actions and we just do what always did. Understanding this suggests we should remember what Charles Kettering said,

We continually form habits, often without trying. To create the future we want, we should consciously create habits to our liking. Norman Doidge uses an analogy about sledding on a hill with soft snow to describe behaviors and habits.

As we have all experienced, after taking a few trips down a hill with soft snow, the repeated route becomes cleared and easiest to use. In time the path becomes somewhat hardened. Because it is a formed path, it becomes the path that is most likely used again. That path, like things we do in life can become a habit. The other areas of soft snow, like other options available to us in life, are still available. Taking those unused or lightly used paths will force us to develop new behaviors and learn new things.

Choosing to take a new path will likely take more effort because it is a different, unknown route. Although it takes more effort, if we are thinking as we take the new route and believe it is the best course of action, it can be worth the effort. Not only will we be engaged in an exciting and novel activity, we will be learning because we will have to expand our capacity and skills to design this new path. As noted by Robert Frost in “The Road Not Taken”, …taking the road less traveled has made all the difference.

Brain Plasticity

Norman Doidge‘s analogy about habits was in his book “The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science“. A short synopsis of this good book is provided in the video below.

Doidge’s powerful book made clear, through multiple examples, that we are able to continually improve our capacity and abilities because of our innate Brain Plasticity or Neuroplasticity. Brain plasticity is the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections. It is the ability of the brain to change continuously throughout an individual’s life in response to thoughts and actions.

Doidge drives home the message, outlined by others, such as Gladwell in Outliers, Clear in Atomic Habits and many others that mass, dedicated practice can help us become and be who we want to be. The book also drove home the point that everything is connected. Over and over it was emphasized that as one thing changes in the brain, the whole brain reorganizes. Thus as anything changes, everything changes. As Deming also explained, everything becomes reorganized because if it did not, the parts could not work together. It is a great book that I recommend. Enjoy.

Now back to the brain. Along with Doidge’s book, “Soft-Wired: How the Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life” by Dr. Michael Merzenich was very powerful. It probably impacted me more because my dad recently passed away and had suffered from dementia and Alzheimers. Dementia is brain plasticity in the wrong direction. It is a horrible disease.

Soft-Wired was consistent with Doidge. That is, although plastic brain changes happen automatically when we are young when our brain is developing and forming, the brain still changes throughout our life. From cradle to grave. The less rapid adult changes that happen in adulthood, unlike what happens in childhood, is that to a greater extent we can direct how our brain changes and thus create the brain we want. Multiple examples and my own recovery from a car accident where I suffered a severe brain contusion, makes clear, despite difficulties, the brain can reorganize and improve with directed effort.

Make 2020 a Great Start

Understanding this means we should use the “fresh snow” in 2020 to design our actions into habits we want. We should do this because evidence suggests doing so can help us generate the outcomes we desire. To start the decade right we should dream and focus on what we want to happen. Not just for ourselves but for society so we can live in a place that nurtures, encourages, supports and promotes chronic wellness. We defined chronic wellness as a persistent positive conditions enabled through engagement in health-causing actions.

The long term dream should be exciting, motivating and inspiring, so the desired outcome is more than just not bad. Of course we also need multiple short aims to document progress. For all these desires, they must be something that requires the development new abilities, connections and skills to make it so.

It also must be understood, actions should be about more than simply turning a negative into a positive. It needs to be more because it is impossible to practice paneugenesis if you start from a negative. Like salutogenesis, a health creating method or the study of the origins of health and a method to practice paneugenesis in health, you must start with the positive to create, not a negative to eliminate. To understand more, this idea is explained in the video that provides a comparison of Salutogenesis & Pathogenesis.

Eliminating a negative is like putting out a fire.

We cannot turn a negative into a positive. The best we can do is learn from a bad event and make things better in the future. For example, my Dad passed away last year and he had Alzheimers. It is a terrible disease because it turned him into a person we could not even recognize and everyone suffered. After seeing the terrible event, I have learned a lot more about brain disease and brain potential (see links and video’s by Merzenich and Doidge below). This does not make his death a positive, it will always be sad. I am however using that event to inspire me to learn more so I can design a better future for everyone and everything. This future will also make Alzheimers less likely as a by-product.

Being More Effective

Related to this and what has been frustrating to me is what seems to be a perception that there needs to be a problem before action is started. This is the same as attempting to turn a negative into a positive.  Fixing a problem is not necessary for improvement. Actually, if improvement is desired Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant! because Fixing Problems is Inefficient, Ineffective & Insufficient. Each link explains more about these ideas.

From that perspective, to illustrate this point, we all know the story “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”.

We learned from this fable that he was ignored because he said there was a wolf when one was not there killing his sheep. He did this because he was bored. Then when a wolf did show up and he called for help, nobody came to help. The moral of the story, “Nobody believes a liar” or “the habit of lying is dangerous”.

The story can relate to prevention because if prevention works, nothing happens. Yea! Thus the benefit is less bad, not more good.  If however we focus on creating more good, we can experience benefits which make it more likely we will take action and as a by-product, of generating more good, we will also be better able to avoid and prevent problems. Additionally, if problems happen, which they will, more good will enable a faster or more capable recovery.

For these reasons and many more, to make 2020 our best decade yet, a focus on creating more good, not just less bad is our best option. To understand more about this you can see this presentation I made to a sustainability committee, “Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad“.

Our Shared Desire for Improvement

Our shared desire is for improvement. Besides, attempting to turn a negative into a positive requires us to look back at how to fix something rather than how to create something better. No matter what we do in the future the negative still happened. In other words, as noted, putting out a fire keeps us at 0, or our status quo. If we want better, we must create better, or what I call +3.

Our shared goal should be to create a better future for everyone and everything that also makes it less likely for the negative event to happen – as a by-product. For this to happen, we need to take action so we can build on the wonderful progress we have made.  To continue progress we must go on offense to make it happen. I described how it can work for health promotion at Article: Going on Offense to Enable Health Gains Published.

A way to generate a desired future can be accomplished by using the first step of practicing paneugenesis. The first step is to dream about the future you want and create an Idealized Outcome. The Idealized Outcome must be something that could not happen otherwise, it has to be something we must cause to happen and it must be better than what would happen even if everything went well, the status quo. In other words, practicing paneugenesis can help you contribute to making 2020 the best decade for you and everyone and everything.

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
    • These Precursors are goals that must be achieve before an Idealized Outcome can be realized.
  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)
    • Update unneeded, outdated or inappropriate actions to ones that created idealized vision,
    • Focus on what causes more and more blades of grass to grow, and…
  4. Plot Progress to document, demonstrate, and celebrate Improvement
    • Measure and document progress forward toward idealized outcome
    • Plan and develop next steps to enable continual improvement

This video explains the concept of Paneugenesis.

 

Please share your progress and what you do to help make 2020 our Best Decade Yet.

If you are interested, below are some good presentations about Brain Plasticity.

This video is an interview with Norman Doidge about brain plasticity.

 

In this presentation Dr. Merzenich outlines some of his findings to help us generate the brain we want.

These are more videos that evolved from Norman Doidge’s book, “The Brain that Changes Itself”.

I look forward to working with all of you to make 2020 the best decade yet for everyone and everything by generating comprehensive improvements through the creation of pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, or by practicing paneugenesis.

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

Make 2019 Great! For Everyone & Everything!

We are all in this together.  As you begin 2019, I encourage you to take Selfish, Selfless, Synergistic actions that result in pervasive, reciprocal interactions from which everyone and everything benefits.  As Frank Borman quoted when he saw our blue planet:

To see the Earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the Earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold — brothers who know now that they are truly brothers. – Archibald MacLeish

Keep in mind, when you are helping others you are helping yourself and this ripples out for and to everyone and everything.  As Charles Schulz showed us in Peanuts:

 

 

 

 

 

Make it a beneficial ripple. Choose to be the hero:

   A way to make 2019 better, will be to join “Team Human” as media theorist Douglas Rushkoff discusses in his TED Talk, ” How to be ‘Team Human’ in the Digital Future.  Enjoy.

 

Please share your thoughts on how you will take action to help create a better tomorrow. Lets make  2019 Great, I will do what I can!  Let me know if how I can help you…

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Contact me at:
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

The Multiple Perspectives of Dan Brown’s “Origin”

Dan Brown’s fascinating and thought provoking book, “Origin“, provides a look at many issues from multiple perspectives.  He intelligently guides us through different perspectives that relate to science, technology, artificial intelligence, religion, the existence of God, Love and even Adam & Eve (as is also done by Harold Kushner in “How Good Do We Have to Be?”).  In Kushner’s book, he offers a  radically new interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve, which he sees as a tale of Paradise outgrown rather than Paradise Lost.  In Kushner’s interpretation, eating from the Tree of Knowledge was not an act of disobedience, but a brave step forward toward becoming human. A different perspective changes things as is shown in the Mutts comic below. I  also discuss the influence of perspective in these posts: Perspective Helps Clarify Relative ImportancePerspective May Create and Frame How People View EventsEnlightening Evolutionary Perspective on Health, and many more on this site..

Dan Brown helped me gain a new perspective on technology and how it can interact with humans to make life better. From this perspective, technology offers a way to improve interactions such that we have more ability to generate comprehensive improvements because we are more able to create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

In an entertaining fashion, Brown’s  “Origin” provides evidence to support multiple perspectives.  In a related matter, W. Edwards Deming often explained that facts were all dependent on context.  While many can misinterpret this conception to suggest that there are no facts, my understanding is these statements are made to help people understand that “facts” depend on context and only hold true in specific contexts.

In a tangible example that supports contextual facts, Dan Brown asks, can this Roman Number equation be correct,  I + XI = X? If you wonder how, what seems impossible, is actually all a matter of perspective.  The solution can be accomplished by changing the way the equation is viewed. To see how this is possible, write the equation down on a piece of paper and then turn it 180 degrees (upside down) and look at the equation once again. Now it is X=IX+I and it is mathematically correct. The task was accomplished by simply changing  perspective.

I encourage you to read Dan Brown’s book  “Origin“.  I think it can help “Make it a Great Week!”

Please share your thoughts so we can work to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless 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

Thank You Mr. Obvious

My work seems obvious so I am confused by traditional practice. I work with health. Most in health work from a disease elimination perspective to create health, despite the fact health is the PRESENCE of physical, mental and social well being and NOT MERELY THE ABSENCE of disease and infirmity. To accomplish this goal I use a salutogenic or health origins/causing framework while others use a pathogenic or disease origins/causing framework.

To me this is obvious, if we want to cause health, shouldn’t we study health’s precursors or causes? How is it possible to cause health through a better understanding of disease? Of course we must know how to cure and treat disease but causing better health has to lessen disease.

Am I missing something?

capt-_obvious

Other obvious things seem to happen. For instance a Mr. Obvious comment is, “And I found it in the last place I looked.” This is confusing, should someone keep looking for the item after they find it?

Another Mr. Obvious is reports of Greenhouse Gas (GhG) emissions. I hear reports of percent decreases in emissions and think great, less heat trapping emissions are being dumped into our atmosphere. This however is creative accounting, and not accurate. Generally what they mean is less emissions per square foot. For example, although less emissions are being released, the area using fossil fuels to heat, a/c and more has grown, therefore the emissions needed for that space also grew.

Despite dumping more GhG into our biosphere, a recent report documented “reductions”?

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It is like when we required the catalytic converters for cars. Although less emissions were released per car, we had more cars so there was no decrease in emissions. To me this is obvious, if we want to improve we must actually reduce the emissions in total, not just per square foot. We must find a way to do good, not just less bad (see here for more about this).

In another Mr. Obvious moment, a former student I had in 2006, 10 years ago, saw me recently and was impressed by something that should be obvious. Now she is getting a graduate degree. She said she remembered me because of one thing I said in class. She explained that her group was telling me that they did their best work under a time crunch so there was no reason to get started early. My Mr. Obvious, and obviously memorable comments was:

“Of course you do your best work when you are in a time crunch, it is the only option you have left. If however you do your work early, you have an opportunity to do even better work.”

While she doesn’t remember much else from class, so she claims, she said she always remembered that and now gets to work on her projects early so she can do better work.

To me my work is a Mr. Obvious. We should be doing what causes health because it builds physical, mental and social well-being and enables higher capacities and potential. Higher health is good because when something difficult or tragic happens, which most likely will happen, the person than has the capacity and ability to not just overcome, they can be better. If we only take preventive action, we are less likely to create the potential needed to achieve and reach a higher state of well-being. Increased capacity, skills, and potential is always useful to achieve what is desired and is especially useful if something difficult happens.

To me this seems obvious, yet to others it does not. For me it proved beneficial because at 17 I was in great shape, physically, mentally and socially and also had a great family. I did what I did to have a better life, not in case something happened and would more likely recover, but simply because I wanted a better life to enjoy.

Unfortunately something did happen, on September 21, 1984 I was the passenger of a car that collided head on with another. The driver and the other 2 passengers of the car died and I suffered a severe head contusion. I lapsed into a coma for a week. When I awoke, I was paralyzed and the brain damage caused me to lose all I had known. At the time, it was not expected  to be able to go to college and had a marginal chance of completing high school.

I did recover and am now able to thrive. (To see more of my story and recovery click here) My recovery was only possible because I was in good physical, mental and social well-being at the time. My parents and family were amazing and they were there for me and pushed me to be better.

Therefore, not only did being engaged in physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, vocational, and environmental health promoting activities at that time in my life make my things better then, it also helped me have a better life today. My parents consider my wonderful children, Amanda & Annika a miracle, as do I.

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Engage in health promoting actions to make your life better now. Not only will it make your life better, if something does happen, as things usually do,  it will help you avoid, overcome or recover faster. Make it a great day, week, year, and life!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Wear a Costume and Become Your Desired Self

happyhalloween1

All hallows day or Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Not for the  poor food consumption it encourages or even scary stories but because of the imagination it encourages. Creativity and imagination are important and valuable to humans.  A new and better future can’t just happen, we must creatively imagine what could and or should be then work to create it.

Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you’d like to act. ― Bob Dylan

Nothing desirable just happened, people took an effort and caused it to happen. Halloween encourages us to use our imagination and creativity to be anything we want to be. For this Halloween I encourage you to us it as your inspiration and motivation to imagine and become your desirable self.

To make it real, after Halloween, dress and act as the person you want to be. Dress and act like who you know you can be and become that person. All of of us want to make a positive impact, do this by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits as the person you know you can be.

To clarify this idea, I encourage you to watch Amy Cuddy’s fantastic TED presentation, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are”. In great detail  she explains more about how our actions tell us and others who we are and who we can become. Halloween is a great opportunity to instigate this change so dress up and act like who you want to be.

Amazingly, dressing up as to who you want to be actually changes us. Our bodies can change our minds. It is not “Fake it until you make it” it is “Fake it until you become it!”

I look forward to hearing about and experiencing the great contributions you make as the person you become.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Evolve Maintenance to Improvement to Create +3’s

Psychologically, socially, and even genetically we desire improvement, not just once in a while but always. We always want to improve because we quickly adapt to all new situations. In famous studies it shows whether one wins a million dollars or tragically becomes quadraplegic, their level of happiness or life satisfaction returns to what it was in a years time.

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In other words, this is more evidence that improvement means it is not just ending problems but the creation or evolution to a higher state of functioning. This higher state of functioning also must be created from our newly developed skills and increased capacity so this new level of functioning has been earned.  It has been repeatedly shown by several experts  that shortcuts to happiness, i.e. drugs instead of developed abilities or poor service focus and lower quality produced, generally provides a fast track to depression and lower profits. It is thought that these improved feelings do not last because we know that we don’t deserve improved outcomes.

As I have noted repeatedly, eliminating problems simply brings us back to where we were before, not better. Our constant goal and aim should be to create comprehensive benefits by creating interactions that benefit everyone and everything. Last summer I attended the 2014 UNC Sustainability Summit at Appalachian . At this summit, the difference between maintenance and improvement was noted. Maintenance means to maintain what we have. Of course that is good and better than making things worse and may be needed when something doesn’t work. From another perspective, it may be valuable to not see this as a problem but as an opportunity. These situations are an opportunity to create better if the focus is on true improvement and the aim is to create a +3 so everyone and everything benefits. Recall +3 relates to Exceeding Expectations.

A way to put this idea into practice is to evolve maintenance programs, groups or people to Continuous Improvers. As I have often discussed, the paneugenesis concept and model’s basic aim is to produce gains and make things better than they could be otherwise. As has been repeatedly documented, work groups that are free and able to continually improve a process unleashes creativity, knowledge, and motivation and it is these conditions that create and will often lead to beneficial serendipitous contributions.

The paneugenesis model creates improvement opportunities with its focus on continuing efforts to improve outcomes. Langley (2009) provides an example of how to apply these ideas. As a student of W. Edwards Deming quality management methods, he suggests evolving maintenance responsibilities toward ones that find ways to improve, not just maintain. Maintanence is not improvement because it often means putting out incessant fires or emergencies, which would  be a -3 so it can be returned to the status quo (0) or expected levels. The aim should be better or +3 outcomes that exceed expectations.

Therefore, if a Maintenance crew would practice paneugenesis they would evolve into improvement teams. That crew would then move beyond efforts to maintain the status quo toward efforts focused on improvement by instilling the aim of producing comprehensive benefits made possible by using system thinking to generate improved, pervasive results. This improvement approach can be adopted by all, so efforts improve and create a better reality instead of just maintaining the status quo.

UPDATE: In Thomas Friedman’s 2016 book, “Thank You for Being Late: An optimists guide to thriving in the age of accelerations” he explains how new, fast, free, ubiquitous and easy to use technology is helping make  this happen. He cites QualComm’s maintenance teams who are no longer just janitors but are now building technicians. Not only can they fix problems that arise, because of all the time sensors, they now have insight on how to fix it before it is problem and or how to make it work better than before. He explains they now have an ability to improve their contributions and this has created higher job satisfaction. Now these workers can make improvement because of available intelligent assistance from smart sensors in the building. These sensors complete what would be like an EKG or MRI of humans to their buildings thus giving the maintenance team insight and information on what can be improved.

Paneugenesis's Comprehensive Benefits
Paneugenesis’s Comprehensive Benefits

The paneugenesis model provides a framework or guide for groups to follow to exceed expectations and to achieve improvements beyond the status quo. Focusing on improvement imbues employees with an added opportunity to contribute and this has been shown to not only motivate employee’s and or individuals but also improves efforts. Efforts are improved because this method provides a strategy that uses distributed intelligence rather than centralized intelligence (Hawken, Lovins, & Lovins, 1999). Practicing paneugenesis at organizations and in society creates smart, learning groups and these efforts are likely to generate improved (+3) outcomes by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

The aim of paneugenesis is to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. This can be done by using this 4 step Paneugenesis Process:

1. Operationalize an Idealized Outcome – make sure all involved parties know what is to be created and be sure that it is better than what can be now. The outcome should have pervasive and reciprocal effects that carry meaning and impact to and beyond the individual.

2. Discover Precursors – what must exist now to make the idealized outcome a reality. Discover what skills, abilities, traits, environments are necessary and or  must exist to realize the idealized outcome. These precursors are conditions that must be created and not currently present.

3. Optimize the Process – what must be done to create those precursors that will enable the idealized outcome to be realized – go do that now! Do what must be done to create and put in place the necessary precursors discovered.

4. Plot Progress – find measures that document and demonstrate progress is being made toward the creation of discovered precursors and or idealized outcomes. Progress measures that indicate movement is being made toward the creation of the new, desired reality are necessary to give meaning and purpose to the process and to help participants maintain motivation.

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