This captures all I am trying to do and what needs to happen. We need to create a new reality. Yes there are multiple problems, however solving those problems isn’t enough, we must create a better reality. Nature means living in ways that make life more livable for everyone and everything. We must be led by our dreams, not pushed by our problems. Below is Coach Williams message.
I also feel this saying was expressed by Chris Stapleton in his song, “Starting Over” when he sang, “…Nobody wins afraid of losing…” We need to do better, not just avoid doing bad. We must “Start Over”, better.
These thoughts were also expressed by Greta Thunberg. She Connects Climate, Ecological, and Health Crises in this short video. While she does highlight problems, moving toward, or being led by our dreams of a better life for all will crowd out the problems:
Start over by being led by your dreams – make a better reality. I am interested in hearing how you generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Please share how you make it a great day, week, year, life.
It seems every day I get hit with more messages telling me the same thing, we need more good, not just less bad. We can do things that not only benefit ourselves, but also leave everyone and everything else better. Transactions where each side just trades goods, is not enough, our transactions must have positive ripples. Even President Biden’s plans seek to “Build Back Better”.
Overall, I am continually learning we can be better when doing good. For example, last week I saw, “Kiss the Ground“, a movie that demonstrated how farmers, food, nourishment and society can be better through better methods. My wife shared something that makes her life better and also improves our world. I also read an excellent journal article by Ilona Kickbusch, PhD, Visioning the future of health promotion , that explained there are better methods needed for the future and was how she was visioning this for the future. I keep hearing we can do more good, not just less bad.
When I say it must be more good, not just less bad I mean the more sustainable, selfish, selfless, synergistic way of doing. For example, my wife changed from dairy creamer to almond milk creamer and she prefers the almond creamer, its better – selfish. Choosing almond rather than a dairy based creamer is good for the environment and animals – Selfless. My wife, getting a better morning brew and the opportunity to feel good about herself in a better environment means she can have a better day and help more kids – she teaches – synergy. Only when it is more good, will we stick with changes and only then will we want to look for more ways to be more good, not just less bad.
“Kiss the Ground” is a movie about better soil, which makes better food, enables farmers to earn more money, can capture more carbon and makes better food. The food nourishes us more, which means we want more of this food that the farmer feels good about selling, because he knows it also benefits the environment, so he wants to make more of, etc. etc. it goes round and round of more good, not just less bad.
In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, Halbert Dunn devised of the concept of Wellness. He explained wellness must be:
Strong enough to activate devotion of time, resources, and energies toward understanding and culturing health in a positive sense
Halbert Dunn (1959, High Level Wellness for Man & Society)
As he stated, Wellness, which I define as progress, (See Experiencing Wellness = Progress Toward Desired) must be strong enough to devote time, resources and energies toward it development. I think he meant that its achievements should mean enough to us that we want to work toward its achievement.
For example, the 2021 JAMA article, Association Between Structural Housing Repairs for Low-Income Homeowners and Neighborhood Crime by Eugenia C. South, MD; John MacDonald, PhD; Vincent Reina, PhD, showed fixing up house, not only gave people a better place to live and a better life – the better community also had less crime. Could it be because people watched out for their neighbors, had more pride of ownership, or other reasons. Yes! More good, is has more of an impact than less bad.
Over and over evidence continues to document that we should focus on how to create more good, not just less bad. To make things better, we have to also fix what we broke. Either way, it is the best thing we can do because we will be making a contribution, Selfish, that others will benefit from, Selfless, and then there will be a better world, Synergy. #SelfishSelflessSynergy
I continue to work to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions from which everyone and everything benefits because it makes my dash – , valuable. The Dash is the poem written by Linda Ellis where the dash represents the time you were alive (i.e. like for my dad, 1932-2019) He made his dash valuable.
I am hoping these posts will inspire you to make your Dash even better by engaging in selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions that help everyone and everything. Please share how you generate #SelfishSelflessSynergy!
I thought understanding more about Chaos would help because it espouses to make universal laws about complex behavior. It also helped me understand that many things we take as fact, such as when the comet will next pass or the when the next eclipse will occur, is only a prediction, not statements of fact. It also explained, research scientist are not innovators but problem solvers under NORMAL conditions. These solutions do not account for outcomes when things are not as expected.
Chaos is about dynamical or changing nonlinear systems which are counterintuitive. It is said to have developed because more and more scientists felt reductionism, which is the compartmentalization of science, or the studying of isolated parts rather than the whole, was an impediment to their work.
The book explains that work in chaos has changed our view. While we had thought simple systems behave in simple ways, and complex behavior implied complex causes; now scientists know simple systems give rise to complex behavior and complex systems give rise to simple behavior. Thus counterintuitive. They also explain, “Life sucks order our of a sea of disorder”. In other words, we make life work by causing order, for the short term. Reading this Chaos book answered many questions, however, like when I got my PhD, it ended up raising many more questions then it answered.
We all want life to mean something, however that depends on the time and scale we consider. If consideration is for 1 day or 100,000 years, that means our actions have meaning or they do not. This conversation about meaning and life is one I have had with many colleagues I respect, such as Don Ardell. In our discussion of his new proposed Law of Wellness, he shared this good 5 minute presentation he did for Ignite Tampa 2015 about Life, Meaning and Meaninglessness:
While I agree with all he says, I thought the emphasis should be adjusted toward what we can do to make meaning and purpose now, in the short term to give our lives direction and purpose. Recently I also watched/listened to a TED conversation with astrophysicist Katie Mack about the origins of the universe that turned out to be relevant but caused even more disorientation. If you are interested, you can see/listen to it at TED: The Mind-Bending Reality of the Universe.
…I want you to believe that the universe is a vast, random, uncaring place, in which our species, our world, has absolutely no significance. And I want you to believe that the only response is to make our own beauty and meaning and to share it while we can…
I personally want to have a positive impact on the world, which can be seen as selfless. However I want to do that so I can feel good about myself, which is selfish. I also aim to create positive pervasive and reciprocal interactions so they are synergistic.
My reasoning suggests to me, we should all attempt to engage in Selfish, Selfless, Synergistic interactions (#SelfishSelflessSynergy) to generate comprehensive improvements that benefit everyone and everything. What do you think? Please share…
PS – I also came across this note by 9/11/2021 note by Seth Godin that I think captures these ideals:
Unlike most of the sciences, astronomy is always done at a distance. You can see the stars, but you can’t do anything about them. Sometimes the media would like us to believe that we’re all astronomers, simply passive witnesses in a world out of our control. Sometimes the media would like us to believe that we’re all astronomers, simply passive witnesses in a world out of our control. But the world is never out of our influence. Remembrance, connection, possibility, invention, empathy, insight, correction, care and justice are all up to us. We not only observe, but we make changes happen. Our participation (or apathy) leads to a different future. The ocean is made of drops. And the drops are up to us. Who else is going to care enough to make an impact?
SEPTEMBER 11, 2021
Please share your thoughts, and most importantly, please engage in #SelfishSelfessSynergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.
According to Suzanne Simard’s excellent 2021 book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest,that reviews her powerful, replicated, scientifically valid research, “Diversity matters and everything in the universe is connected.” Throughout her book she explains how forests generate magic through synergy. As she points out, we have missed the power of synergy and mistakenly simplified societies and ecosystems because our “Reductionist science” has been looking at the individual parts rather than the whole.
From my reading, Dr. Simard is saying that nature innately practices paneugenesis, or generates all good, by being reciprocal and helping all be better. Although not a perfect analogy, I realized something I teach, strategic alliances, may be even more powerful than I had thought. Even though I stress the importance of building them and keeping them as working professionals, I had no idea that they have their bases in evolution and ecology. I had stressed that strategic alliances were great because they not only help involved parties, now I know that when they are done right, they have even more powerful synergistic benefits than I had realized.
Strategic Alliances help generate WIN-WIN-WIN outcomes. Strategic Alliances can be defined as:
An agreement between two or more individuals or entities stating that the involved parties will act in a certain way in order to achieve a common goal. Strategic alliances usually make sense when the parties involved have complementary strengths.
What I found most fascinating was how she was able to show us that forests are like sentient beings because trees, animals and even fungi perceive, relate and communicate. She also showed us how forests cooperate, make decisions and remember which demonstrates wisdom and intelligence.
Dr. Simard optimistically documented how we can generate more good by helping nature do what it will do automatically. I encourage you to build strategic alliances with everyone and everything because as Dr. Simard’s work has demonstrated, like the synergistic relationships in nature, together we can generate MUCH more good, not just less bad. Please share how you have built and are building strategic alliances to generate more good!
On September 5, 2021, the Guardian Posted this supportive editorial, acknowledging we are all connected:
I am currently reading about Chaos Theory and in my reading they cite this about Gaia Hypothesis and something I hope to explore soon in future posts, please share if you have any insight:
James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis proponents of the Gaia Hypothesis in which the conditions necessary for life are created and maintained by life itself in a self-sustaining process of dynamical feedback
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…
Regret is very powerful because there is usually no opportunity for a do-over. This is probably why the second of Steven Covey’s 7Habits for Highly Effective People was, “Begin with the End in Mind”. The habit recommends we “envision what you want in the future so you can work and plan towards it.” This is also how I recommend you create all good and is the first step in of the Paneugenesis Process, “Operationalize an Idealized Outcome”.
What do you want to achieve in the end? What are you hoping to accomplish? What do you want to be known for? I use this way of thinking becauseI want to help create a better future. Everything I do has been about improving processes, most specifically the lifestyle process, so the product, the endgame, health and well-being in my case, can take care of itself. The only way to improve the outcome or the endgame is to improve the process. There is no other way. If a process already worked or the method was adequate, the desired outcome would have been achieved.
I work as a health and wellness professional. I regularly post about how to improve the process by creating reciprocal, pervasive, selfish, selfless interactions so everyone and everything benefits, an end I believe most desire. #SelfishSelflessSynergy
My research has repeatedly shown that as you improve the process by taking beneficial physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and environmental actions, you get a better life satisfaction, and a better quality of life. The end comes about because you have more capacity, more potential, better energy, improved sleep, a better social network and also, as a secondary effect, less problems. Though all problems do not disappear, when difficult things do happen, you are better able to handle those situations. This means an improved process gives people more freedom. More freedom therefore is the result of an improved process.
Applying to Life Today
What’s the goal with anti-vaccination and then resistance to masks? Is the endgame more freedom? How is that possible with this process. Not masking or not taking vaccinations cannot lead to more freedom. Evidence indicates we should adjust the process and follow the science because masking and vaccinations work.
Some people don’t want to wear masks or get vaccinations. Do they understand that not getting the vaccination is the reason we need to wear masks? In a strange twist, evidence indicates the ones being most protected by masking are the unvaccinated. They are the ones being hospitalized with COVID and are also the ones that enable it to replicate and evolve into different variants.
Begin with the End in Mind
Let’s give ourselves an opportunity to generate comprehensive improvements in the future, the end on my mind, by wearing masks and getting vaccinated so everyone and everything benefits. This process helps individuals, selfish, others, selfless, and enables us to do more together, synergy. The side effect is the end of COVID, Yea!
Another good article on the topic is Charles Blow’s 8-8-2021 NYT’s column, “Anti-Vax Insanity“. Please help by getting vaccinated and masking up so we can end COVID and then work to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interventions so everyone and everting benefits.
In a related article, Nicholas Kristof’s New York Times column, Vaccinate the World! The Best Investment Ever, recommends the US and Group 7 Leading countries help poor countries get vaccinated to enable us all to move forward. From my perspective, Kristof’s article is suggesting a Selfish, Selfless, Synergistic strategy we should encourage.
Jamelle Bouie’s August 13, 2021 column, If You Skip the Vaccine, It Is My ‘Damn Business’ highlights the connectedness of all of us and the value of selfish, selfless actions that are synergistic #SelfishSelflessSynergy. He brings into focus the role sports figures play and how we are all connected:
Wearing a helmet while bike riding, strapping on your seatbelt in a car — these are personal decisions, at least as far as your own injuries are concerned. Vaccination is different. In the context of a deadly and often debilitating contagion, where the unchecked spread of infection has consequences for the entire society, vaccination is not a personal decision.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts below. Thank you.
I would like to thank Bill Redding for his helpful feedback on this post.
Believe or not, we can generate all good by using a creative and innovative spirit with straws, as started by Asava. As most of us know, the problematic impact of plastic straws has been in the news. Straws, however, are only a small part of the problem and may cause others as noted by Stanford.
Banning straws may confer ‘moral license’ – allowing companies and their customers to feel they have done their part. The crucial challenge is to ensure that these bans are just a first step.
JIM LEAPECo-director, Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions
There are better options. For instance I learned of an option when I was traveling through Utah; Kanab Utah to be exact. When I was there, we stopped at the Asava Juice shop to get a healthy smoothy. When we stopped there, they provided a an edible straw rather than a paper straw or a recyclable straw, or even a straw made from recycled material.
From my perspective, this is a step in the right direction. It was a good straw with regard to functionality. While the straw was made from Agave or sugar, not the healthiest alternative, there was no plastic waste. To instill continual improvement, the next step would be to make the straw from a healthy ingredient grown from regenerative agriculture.
To me an edible straw represents progress, thank you Asava for making me aware of this creative and innovative alternative! Now we must ask, what can be done to make those straws more beneficial to person and planet? Asava helped me discovered the start of a way to generate comprehensive benefits with straws.
The next step should be to develop an edible straw that provides good nutrition and comes from regenerative agriculture. Incredible, edible straws would provide a pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless synergistic interaction from which everyone and everything would benefit.
Please share other solutions that generate comprehensive benefits and your ideas for the next step to create incredible edible straws that generate comprehensive benefits.
A recent July 12, 2021 New York Times Daily Podcast, “A City’s Steps Toward Reparations” helped me better understand how wonderful and needed reparations are for society. When I first heard about reparations I, I had many questions and doubts. While I thought it was a good way that we could possibly makeup for some of the horrible ways African American’s were treated, I was unsure how reparations would help. However after learning about how the reparations were done in Evanston Illinois, to subsidize housing, I realized it was much better than I had thought.
During our history, African American’s had difficulty getting and owning property, not because of what they had done, but because of redlining laws, prejudice, and as we learned, because it was stolen. I encourage you to listen to the linked wonderful NYTimes Daily podcast so you also can understand how helping others helps move society forward for everyone and everything.
Success breeds success, good begets good (See Good Begets Good and Bad Begets Bad: Green Grass Theory). We must do all we can to enable people to be the best version of themselves. Helping African Americans get what was previously withheld from them will enable them to meet at least their basic needs so they can move toward self- actualization. This therefore is an example of not only how to practice paneugenesis, but how to enable Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
This would be an example of how society can’t generate comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless interactions from which everyone and everything will benefit and while all improve, we can fix some things we had done wrong.
alter Isaacson’s new book about Jennifer Doudna and her journey to gene editing and the Noble Prize. He ask many important questions about what it means now and for our future. He is able accurately highlight the value of this technology and its riveting development, while also acknowledging the scary side.
CRISPR technology is a simple yet powerful tool for editing genomes. It allows researchers to easily alter CRISPR is a technology that can be used to edit genes and, as such, will likely change the world. The essence of CRISPR is simple: it’s a way of finding a specific bit of DNA inside a cell. After that, the next step in CRISPR gene editing is usually to alter that piece of DNA.
He describes how easy it is to end up wanting to have a child that is smart, athletic, ore even have blonde hair and blue eyes – the Nazi trap. Is that the outcome if we leave it up to the open market? People generally want what is best and if people can choose the best options, why wouldn’t they? Government regulation concerns have been written about from Orwell’s 1984 to Huxley’s Brave New World.
While these concerns are appropriate, my perspective on his little bit different. While Walter Isaccson does an incredible job describing and helping the reader understand this complex topic, I was left thinking that he had not addressed the obvious dilemma of unfulfilled potential. If we do take the path of altering our genes to get an unfair advantage, what suggest it would be used? Our world is full of smart and talented people that have not fulfilled their potential. I am sure all of us have unused potential. We could all be better at many things, this however takes deliberate work to get better. Would people put in the time and effort? If so, why do they not do that now?
In addressing the issue of what is too much for gene editing, he asks, “what’s the difference between people who hire extra tutors or provide more opportunity to help kids develop or instead pay to change one’s gene’s?” This question is hard to answer, however an even harder question is what inspire them to work harder?
From my perspective, to treat genetically inherited diseases makes sense. Gene editing then can and should be used to eliminate diseases such as Hodgkins or Sickle Cell anemia for which we have no treatment. As Isaacson asks, what is the difference between doctors to treating diseases or starting treatment before it happens? Of course, changing something before it happens means we don’t know if there were positive potential options also eliminated.
The big question, just because they have the potential, does it mean they’re going to have the associated outcome? The other question is what else are we losing? Would a nicer personality in Steve Jobs still have produced the same results?
I think they’re jumping the gun about gene editing. Does gene editing guarantee a better in life? What do you think? Can we edit genes so people are more likely to want to generate comprehensive benefits? Can we create genes that such that the default thought is to create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits? Or is the practice of paneugenesis, creating all good, something that must be learned?
As I reviewed this post, I realized it was all questions. My answer: I think it the better world will need to be nurtured and natured into our existence by creating an environment that nurtures, supports, encourages, and reinforces the practice of paneugenesis, the creation of all good, or more, not less disorder is likely. What do you think? I encourage you to read the book and share your thoughts.
After participating and presenting the 2021 6th International Conference on Salutogenesis: Advancing Salutogenesis for thriving societies in June, I had another realization about how salutogenesis can be differentiated from pathogenesis. My understanding is that salutogenesis methods can cause better, not just less bad, outcomes. Pathogenesis was developed for less bad outcomes. It works great and effectively treats disease and its precursors. From my understanding, that means salutogenesis must produce something different, not just another way to do the same thing, such as treat problems more effectively.
I realized that salutogenesis is primarily what you use daily – over the long term. I had this realization as I listened to many good presentations and had invigorating discussions about salutogenesis with colleagues. While salutogenesis produces immediate benefits related to feeling good for doing good, salutogenesis is about how to play the long and short game. Salutogenesis therefore is for chronic care, while pathogenesis, or traditional “health” care, must play the short game for emergency care. Pathogenesis then should primarily be used for the short-term or acute care.
To explain this I have updated my often viewed video, Pathogenesis & Salutogenesis. The previous video has almost 30,000 views as of June, 2021. Please let me know how you like the update and if it has helped you better understand how to effectively use salutogenesis to generate comprehensive improvements.
Here is the updated video which is also posted here and on my YouTube Channel.
For me salutogenesis is a way to practice paneugenesis because it can generate comprehensive improvements and create all good for health. Life is all about probabilities, not guarantees. Salutogenesis improves the probability of better outcomes.
We can increase the probability of generating comprehensive improvements if we work at creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. As W. Edwards Deming always asked, “By what method?”. Using the method of salutogenesis for health will help just as it will help to use quality management methods for business and manufacturing and Nudge techniques for policy.
I hope this inspires you to generate comprehensive improvements. Please share effective methods you have used that can generate comprehensive improvements so everyone and everything benefits.
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.
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“.
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.
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.
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 “ThinkingOutside 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!)
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.”
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.
As I listened to the April 30th 2021 Friday Morning, NYT Daily Podcast,”Odessa, Part 4: Wellness Check“, I was stunned at their focus and how it seemed to relate to life. At the end of April 2021 there is hope that we are coming out of the pandemic. This 4 part NYT Daily Podcast has described the experience of a High School in Odessa Texas during the last half of 2020 as they attempted to have in person classes during the pandemic.
I enjoyed the podcasts focus on the progress they made to have school despite difficult times. I was then confused when their ending question was, “What is the permanent damage that has been done?”. They also stated they were asking this question about the impact on these 17 year old students.
I stopped walking as I was listening because I realized it related to me and my story. At 17 years of age I was the passenger of a car that collided head on with another. Despite difficult times because of the accident, I carried on. What was my option? In my incident, the driver and the other 2 passengers were killed and I suffered a severe head trauma that left me comatose. The Odessa podcast shocked me because I wondered why they were asking about the permanent damage being done instead of how and why some did well and how how they can do better.
In my recovery, I also wondered, “What is the permanent damage done?” I am sure there is some, however it it is not where I focus. I focused then and still do, on discovering how I could make progress. This focus was possible because of the significant positive help from family and friends, most especially my parents. Can you have this type of influence on your family friends and or organizations.
A progress, not problem focus is helpful because my success, and the triumphs of anyone, come about by finding ways to do better or more good. Progress cannot develop evolve or happen, unless by accident, by only learning how to experience less bad. Bad or difficult things will happen, they are inevitable, however we will only be capable of overcoming those difficulties if we have a capacity that enables us to adapt and “carry on” in a better way. Searching for permanent damage will not enable us to do better or have more capacity. To move forward we must develop our capacities and enhance our collaborations. It is also valuable to remember the self-worth reinforcing feelings accomplishment generates, especially through trying experiences, by focusing on progress, not problems.
As noted often on this blog, research from my work and that of many scientists has documented how it is more effective and powerful to generate more good, or comprehensive improvements, than it is to diminish bad. Even though less bad may not be the focus, it is often the complementary side effect. For instance higher quality products and services generated by quality management methods also result less bad in the form of in lower costs and less waste.
The most notable proponent and promoter of quality management methods can be seen from the work of world changing quality management Dr. W. Edwards Deming. His promoted quality methods provides a processes to generate more good and as a secondary benefit, less bad. His quality management methods are relevant and useful everywhere because as he stated, by doing things this way, “everyone wins”. I prefer everyone benefits because if someone wins, it suggests there are also losers. Quality management methods like paneugenesis helps everyone and everything benefit. If it does not, it is not being done correctly.
Dr. Deming’s work is certainly foundational to what I do. A foundational principle of quality management is continual process improvement. I have translated these quality management techniques to wellness and lifestyle process improvement. My work has also shown the most effective way to generate more good and practice paneugenesis is to work toward creating pervasive reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.
Shakespeare provides another related perspective when he explains that there’s not good and bad, it is just what we label it. For this situation, we should choose progress, not problems
The labeling perspective is also shared by Ben Saunders who trekked the South Pole. At the end of his Ted Talk, “To the South Pole and Back – the hardest 105 days of my life”, he suggests we focus on progress
“Happiness is not about finish lines…If we can’t feel content here, today, now, on our journeys, amidst the mess and the striving that we all inhabit, the open loops, the half finished to-do lists, the could-do-better-next-times, then we might never feel it.”
If we truly want to make progress and overcome problems as necessary side effect, our focus has to be on progress, not just problems. Please share how you focus on progress and how this has helped. Thank you for all you do to help all of us make progress!
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
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.
Life is full of positive and negative events. Both are necessary. The goal is to end up with more good than bad. Evolutionarily speaking we are more reactive to negative events, possibly because avoidance of those events was necessary or survival. The preference for negative events was documented by many researchers. These researchers also identified the need for positive interactions in our life to outnumber our negative events by about 3. The 3 to 1 ratio of positive to negative events was necessary to have net positive life according to Barbara Fredrickson’s and the Losada line, Corey Keyes with the Mental Health Continuum and many more. These findings replicated and documented the the original findings by Kahneman and Tversky that showed our innate tendency to be risk averse and to have what they termed loss aversion because negatives, or losing something, was more impactful and meaningful than the positives of a possible gain.
This means to create a Net Positive Life, we must cause good, do good and help many. To have a net positive life, we must consistently work at better ourselves, as we help others and our environment. In other words, the +3 life I discuss from selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions relates to how we can have a net positive life and exceed expectations:
These points were driven home again from my reading of the fantastic work by Bradley and Taylor in “The American Health Care Paradox: Why Spending More is Getting Use Less”. A book I strongly recommend you read. In the book they use powerful data to document how we are all in this together, and we do best when we help each other. With powerful clarity, they document something we all already innately know, better health cannot be achieved through medical means. They end the book with:
To that end, an ever-growing body of literature suggests that broadening Americans’ historically narrow focus on medicine in pursuit of improved national health may ultimately hold the key to unraveling the spend more, get less paradox.
While medicine is good at medical care, America does have the best emergency care, our lives and health are not linear, they have multiple causes. These multiple causes mean we need to also, if not primarily, focus on the social, behavioral and environmental non-medical determinants of health because it is more effective at improving quality of life as it also decreases the need for medical care.
Throughout history, America has made an attempt to support and improve non-medical care with community health centers, HMOs, and now ACO’s. Unfortunately, the power of the medical lobby and their concern over losing paying patients caused these efforts to be watered down to a focus on medical care. Without question, medical care is crucial for specific illnesses. Medical care is vital for acute, short term care, I am alive because of it. However a larger content is more predictive and necessary to improve public health. Bradley and Taylor also show us many successful efforts in America that resulted in better health. These attempts also were significantly less expensive and better for all involved.
America Actually Spends Less On Healthcare
With clarity, they demonstrate America does NOT spend the most on healthcare if you account for all the factors associated with health, not just medical care. Medical care and social services are interrelated. Nations that spend more on social services enjoy a higher quality of life and better health and spend much less on medical care – because it is not needed. America spends the most on treatment and rescue care because America’s system neglects the social, behavior and environmental determinants of health.
America’s neglect of social, behavioral and environmental determinants of health has resulted in very bad outcomes. Despite spending so much on medical treatment, America lags other peer nations in
Low birth weight
Injuries and homicides
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs),
Drug related deaths
Chronic lung disease, and
Quite an indictment of our current system. Medical care is good at treating disease, what it is designed to do, it is not good at creating health, it is not designed to do that, medicine is about eliminating disease. We must remember health is the PRESENCE of physical, mental and social well-being and NOT MERELY the absence of disease and infirmity. The movie, “Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare” by Shannon Brownlee demonstrates this in stunning clarity.
To build a net positive life for ourselves and our nation, we must generate comprehensive improvements by engaging in more social, behavioral and environmental interactions that facilitate health for all. I look forward to hearing about your selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions that help everyone and everything benefit.