“Think Again” Very Helpful Book

Front Cover

Adam Grants book, “Think Again: The power of knowing what you don’t know” is a very good and helpful book. Especially for the current times. As James Lovelock exclaimed,

“We live at a time when emotions and feelings count more than the truth and there is a vast ignorance of science.”

James Lovelock (in Revenge of the Gaia)

For some reason, I did not think I wanted to read Grants book, however, I am now glad was able to “think again”and read it. As we all aware, sometimes we become stuck in our beliefs and are hesitant to rethink because we are afraid it can make us look bad.

The book helped me learn to embrace confusion and to be excited when I found contradictory information. It also helped me rethink about “Rethinking” and it enabled me to realize that when I discover thoughts could be better, it was a good to change my thoughts. This was one of the best things I got from the book.

The ideas in this book also resonated with me because I remember I had heard about how one of my hero’s, the management guru Dr. W. Edwards Deming would regularly “think again” about his successful ideas. Even though he was highly successful, he never wavered from rethinking his ideas and update them so was able to continually improve.

The podcast,“I Make No Apologies for Learning” by Ron Moen and Cliff Norman for the Deming Institute document and demonstrate how Deming would continually think again about his work. The podcast is based on the response he would provide when people noticed his message had changed and evolved after he would “Think again” and learn. He wanted all to yearn to learn so they could think better. I encourage you to listen to this podcast.

   Artwork for Ron Moen and Cliff Norman of Associates in Process Improvement (API) - "I Make No Apologies for Learning"

“I Make No Apologies for Learning”

Ron Moen and and Cliff Norman Podcast

In the podcast they explained that Deming was not always easily accepted because he challenged peoples core beliefs and inspired them to think again. However, as they explained, thinking again took a lot of effort and many were not willing to make that effort. For me, it has been significantly beneficial to “think again”.

While it is impossible to list all the wonderful ways Grant inspired me to rethink with this book, I will mention a few that were helpful to me, please see if any may help you:

  • Doubt is helpful because you question your methods
  • Task conflict helps find better ways, no conflict means apathy
  • Question how, rather than why which also makes it less controversial
  • When not able to entertain different ideas, “What evidence would change your mind?”
  • To many facts will dilute their impact and audience gets defensive
  • Ask, can we debate about the ideas, not emotions
  • Acknowledge common ground in any debates, it can invite rethinking
  • As facts change, change your opinions
  • Challenging core beliefs causes emotional reactions
  • Confidence is the result of progress, not just its cause
  • Work to IMPROVE, not prove oneself
  • Seek to evolve ideas rather than confirm tehm
  • We need to rethink because of the accelerating pace of change in the world
  • A debate is not a war but a dance where you don’t always lead
  • Use curiosity and ask questions
  • Asking questions helps people rethink
  • Uncertainty signals confident humility and can increase your credibility
  • Contested views leave people with blurred vision and guards to be set
  • The act of resistance fortifies our psychologic defense system
  • Good communicators make their audience, not themselves feel smart
  • Acknowledging complexity disrupts overconfidence and spurs rethinking
  • Our beliefs are shaped by our motivations and desires of what we want to believe
  • Skeptics are scientific and can entertain new ideas
  • Deniers are dismissive and often twist facts to fit beliefs
  • Limitations are holes in the research but portals to future discoveries
  • Emotion should be in conversations, restricting them stymies rethinking
  • Inspiring messages are scrutinized less and often forgotten, need to invite rethinking
  • Respond to confusion with curiosity and interest
  • Confusion is a cue that there is new territory to explore
  • Happiness is more about frequency of emotions than its intensity
  • Meaning is healthier than happiness
  • Often people overemphasize pleasure at the expense of purpose
  • Enjoyment wanes, meaning tends to last
  • Passions are developed more so than discovered
  • Happiness depends on what we do, not where we are
  • Interest doesn’t always lead to effort and skill, sometimes it follows
  • Aiming at something or someone else to improve often leads to happiness as a side effect
  • Questions to ask ourselves about our ideas:What leads to that assumption?
    • Why do you think that is correct?
    • What might happen if it is wrong?
    • What are the uncertainties in your analysis?
    • What are the advantages to the idea?
    • What are the disadvantages to the idea?

Thinking again can help us generate comprehensive improvements through the creation of net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, or by practicing paneugenesis.  I look forward to hearing about the how you thought again and were able to generate benefits for everyone and everything.

Please share what you learned when you thought again so we all can benefit! Thank you.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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

Standing on Natures Shoulders

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

We live life to make it more livable.

Paraphrase of Jane Benyus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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

Getting Better as We Fix What we Broke

Without question, especially speaking morally, we must fix what we broke. Relatively speaking, despite being the most educated and advanced civilization to date, we are causing damage to our environment, we are sicker and less happy and more in debt than we should be. We are more materially abundant than ever. Despite striving for and getting much more, we only learned that we cannot buy happiness or health, it must be earned.

Fixing what is broken also relates to prevention. Even if we prevent all problems, we have not intentionally done anything to promote a better outcome. To promote better we must enable more capacity and increased potential. If the focus changed from fixing what we broke to building more capacity, potential and partnerships, so a better future could be realized, we would get better while also fixing what we broke.

Relying on sustainable development as enough to stop or reverse climate change is like suggesting quitting smoking is enough to heal a lung cancer patient.

paraphrase of James Lovelock in “Healing Gaia: Practical Medicine for the Planet”

Regeneration Means more than Sustainability

Sustainable Brands: The Shift from Sustainable to Regenerative

BeWell’r,

Craig Becker

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

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

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

Asking Better Questions Can Generate a Better Tomorrow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

and not

merely the absence of disease and infirmity.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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