Do Good or Don’t Do Bad – Does it Matter?

First – “Nothing is wrong”, everything is fine.  At least I can assume that because you are reading this.  Besides, as noted,  Prevention can’t work and Problems are Irrelevant – if improvement is desired. Of course saying nothing is wrong, this is our reality, does not mean things are good – they are just not bad enough. We could however be jumping from crises to crises.  If we want things to be better, there is only 1 option, make it better – or don’t.

As William Shakespeare declared (see previous post: We Choose Why Things Happen)

Things are not bad or good, thinking makes it so

What is the goal, to maximize social benefits or create behavior change? Choices of behaviors must be measured against benefits of taking alternative behavior choices. Reduction in speed limit is related to less accidents but behavior adaptation often nullifies benefits.

In Germany, when a highway went from no speed to a speed limit, people took alternative routes. While the highway had less accidents, the alternative routes they chose instead had more accidents.  The overall outcome therefore was a wash. People preferred increased mobility, ability to drive faster, than to travel more safely. People therefore were motivated to maximize benefit, not minimize problems.

In a Bill Burr comedy special (showing on Netflix), “I’m Sorry you Feel That Way” he explains why sometimes we go off the rails – that is make a poor choice. During a section he is discussing religion and death. He then discusses the differing beliefs about what happens after death. At one point he says,

…This might be the most arrogant thing I say all night but I actually resent the fact that I’m gonna get judged someday – like if thats true. That somebody’s gonna judge me that doesn’t even make any sense, like dude you made me – this is your F*** Up!…You give me freedom of choice, whores, you make me suck at math and you don’t think this thing is going to go off the rails? Like you set me up to fail and now you have the balls to now question your own F**ing work…            – Bill Burr, comedian

Isn’t this life?  We go off the rails because we are human and want to maximize benefits.  There are many influences in life. Sometimes we learn the hard way. Our aim however needs to be more than just “to get back on the rails” – the state quo.  We must aim for a better way to move forward. If we just get back on the rail we are returning to life as it was, not better. We must generate a better way to move forward.
As the Indian Proverb relates:

When you shoot an arrow for distance, aim high not on the level, for even if it does not go the distance you desired, it will go much farther than it would have if you had shot it on the level.

Life is interesting or irritating – that is our choice.  If we want better, we must create a new reality.  We can’t just fix problems because that means we are back to where we were while fixing a never ending list of problems by running crisis to crisis without ever making it better.  These actions therefore make the start quo our highest possible outcome, our ceiling. Why? Why not set for an Idealized Outcome?

This means if Do Good or Don’t Do Bad – Does Matter?  There are multiple implications.  Doing something, doing anything causes everything else to change.  Not doing something is something in the future so this leaves us at the whims of all else that happens.

Technically this is the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.  Things move toward chaos, entropy unless we create more order.  I highlight this is the comparison of pathogenesis and salutogenesis.  This concept is also explained by The Royal Institution which ends by explaining,

We can take comfort from the fact that we can continue to create things and draw local order from the chaos for a long time to come…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWkTdqmULVo

An example is how many are finally realizing the benefits to people, animals and the planet that come from eating a whole plant based foods.  Animal agriculture is bad for people, animals and our environment and consuming whole plant based foods is good for our health.  This is an example where doing something, eating whole plant based foods is much better than simply avoiding animal derived foods. Actually just avoiding animal foods doesn’t make us stronger because we must eat what we should eat – plant based foods.  I was reminded of the power of foods tonight when I saw, “Eating You Alive“.

One can avoid animal based foods and just eat processed foods and this is likely even worse.  The way to better health for people and the planet is to eat more whole plant based foods – so doing good is more effective than not doing bad.

In a related conversation between legendary organizational behaviorists, Dr. W. Edwards Deming and Dr. Russell Ackoff, they pointed out the importance not just doing the wrong things better, but actually doing the right things to improve:

The distinguished systems theorist Russ Ackoff describes the trap as ‘doing the wrong thing righter’. ‘The righter we do the wrong thing,’ he explains, ‘the wronger we become. When we make a mistake doing the wrong thing and correct it, we become wronger. When we make a mistake doing the right thing and correct it, we become righter. Therefore, it is better to do the right thing wrong than the wrong thing right.’ Most of our current problems are, he says, the result of policymakers and managers busting a gut to do the wrong thing right.

All of this relates to how what we do impacts everything else or systems appreciation.  As noted, it is suggested we focus on doing all good by generating comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits or the Practice of Paneuegenesis. I encourage you to engage in the practice so you can “Make it a Great Week!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

 

Advertisements

Best Practices and Meeting Specifications are Orwellian

Orwellian” is an adjective describing a situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free and open society. Orwellian can be deceptive and manipulative use of language.  It is Orwellian when words do not convey meaning but corrupt meaning.  This causes us to alter our perception and create a false reality. (see video)

Most of us know this happens when many politicians speak.  It is however very common in our language. Health Centers are Orwellian because they are not where we go for health, “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being”, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) but are places to treat sickness. Health  is “…not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.”  There are many more examples. For instance I am reading more about quality management methods and a recent section discussed best practices and another talked about specifications.  These are examples of Orwellian terms.

Best practices and meeting specifications are the same idea in different contexts.  Best practices are generally for a service organization and meeting specifications is for a manufacturing organization. Do these practices produce the best outcome?

If we review the idea, at best, these methods would help the employee and organization achieve what is considered the minimum acceptable, NOT THE BEST.  Despite being called best practices, what would you call practices that are not the best but acceptable?   The idea  of “Best Practice” also halts a search for improvement because if it is the best practice, why search for better ways?

Higher quality or quality management practices as espoused by W. Edwards Deming means lower costs and increased productivity.  This definition is different than the general understanding and is another example of Orwellian talk. High quality is not just meeting specifications or doing what is considered best practices it is instilling continual and never ending improvement through innovation.

Meeting specifications, therefore, is the bare minimum, NOT high quality. 

Innovation is the way to improve.  Innovation, however can only happen after statistical control is achieved through reduced variation.  This means the process will produce a predictable outcome, something not possible without stability.  Innovation comes from improving the process with better methods.

Whether we are discussing products, services, or life, it is all about the process.  Do not let Orwellian speak keep you from taking action that will result in better outcomes.  Our lifestyle is our process. By continually improving our lifestyle process, the product of a better life will take care of itself.  Study, learn, and experiment so you can innovate and improve the process of your life. As you continually improve the process, the result will be a better and better outcome.

For me the way to continually improve my process is to find ways to cause all good by generating comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic, interactions so everyone and everything benefits or the Practice of Paneuegenesis. I encourage you to engage in the practice so you can “Make it a Great Week!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

 

We are Being Ruined by Best Intentions and Best Efforts

W. Edwards Deming said,

Best efforts and hard work will not suffice, nor new machinery, computers, automation, gadgets. One could well add that we are being ruined by best efforts put forth with the best intentions but without guidance of a theory of management for optimization of a system.”

What does he mean by this?  How can best intentions and best efforts make it worse? As he explains, if we are doing the wrong things such as tampering by altering methods based on results, thus increasing variation, rather than improving the process, and decreasing variation, it makes things worse.  He also suggests best efforts just get the wrong results faster.

An example of this phenomenon is described by Dr. Michael Greger, MD in his thought provoking, scientifically supported video “Do Mammograms Save Lives?“.  As he explains, the good intentions and best efforts used to encourage mammograms may be making things worse – not better.

As Deming explains, we need a method to achieve the goal or the goal would have already been achieved.  The method he recommends to improve is to have a clear aim and use his System of Profound Knowledge’s four interrelated areas: appreciation for a systemknowledge of variationtheory of knowledge and psychology.

I use these methods by working to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic, interactions so everyone and everything benefits, which is the Practice of Paneuegenesis. Make it a Great Week!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Taxes are Investments! Government is Good!

Taxes pay for road, parks, police, fire, libraries, schools and so much of what allows civilizations to function.  Taxes pay for and maintain the commons, that is those resources belonging to the people because they are the resources we all use and depend on.

The government is designed to be the arbiter of the common good so it can assure the commons are maintained for all of us. Taxes are the funds to protect and maintain the commons from which we all benefit.  Understanding that we all benefit may help people see that paying taxes are a way we can invest in society and is a way to not only maintain but also possibly improve our society.

Parks, libraries, museums, public education and so much more that makes civilization great is made possible because of government and taxes.  Privatizing these commons has proven to make a few rich while the rest are hurt.  To maintain and improve the commons, we must remember that taxes are investments and government is good – heck the government should be us – WE THE PEOPLE!

The concept of the commons has been with us since the 1800’s and was made famous by Garrett Hardin’s Essay, The Tragedy of the Commons.  An interview with Garrett Hardin is below.  What can be learned by thinking about the commons is that what is good for all of us, is good for each of us.  

In other words, Paneugenesis is a good solution for the commons.  Paneugenesis means we improve , not just maintain the commons.  Practicing paneugenesis means we all get the best use of them because this would mean that everyone would work toward doing what is good for all of us by generating comprehensive improvements through the creation of pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.  As noted, what is good for all of us – is good for each of us: Selfish, Selfless, Synergy!.  Below are a few video’s about the tragedy of the commons if you are interested.

Make it a Great Week!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

There is Only US, There is no Them

Enemies, rivals and the like are not them – they are us.  It is all US.  What we sometimes see as enemies are our neighbors, our friends we haven’t met yet.  Others, when we get to know them, are more like us than they are different.  We should spend our time focusing on how we are the same and how to collaborate so each will benefit.  We all share the same water, land and air – the commons – and for any of us to function well, we all need the commons.

Our economy is a subsystem of our ecology.  Big corporations, although the US government mistakenly has categorized them as people with rights, unfairly use and damage the commons to turn a profit.  Destroyed commons means we all lose, including those corporations.

Corporations use an unequal share of water, land and air, and yet for some reason our government gives them tax breaks.  Taxes are a way we invest in society.  By giving corporations tax break, it is saying they do not have to pay to maintain these commons.  If you want to learn more, I recommend Thom Hartmann.  I just listened to his book, “Screwed” and he also has a youtube channel here.

Hartmann’s big issue is the vanishing middle class.  An example of some things shared in the book “Screwed” were his description of how we had recently heard the concern, “Do you want government determining your healthcare?” He explains that such a claim is just half the story. The real question is do we want government making that decision or a a corporation whose main objective is profit to make that decision?

We are all in this together and we are all connected and that is why I believe what Thom Hartmann promotes is related.  It is all a system, so we need to make the system work better to realize benefits.  To improve the system we can, “Make a Wave!”  The Ripple Impacts all in the path.  Six degrees of separation are really six degrees of connection.  Our connections are an example of Selfish, Selfless, Synergy because helping others helps the system which helps us.

As W. Edwards Deming demonstrated, to improve, we must improve the system. He demonstrated up 98% of the issues faced can be improve by improving the system.  Attempting to improve by treating all issues as special situations that need unique solutions only makes things worse.  Our focus needs to be on how to improve the system by making what we have work better.

For example, I was just in a class that focused on health literacy and its importance.  Instead of suggesting new programs that take money from the system to support those special efforts, the best solution is to improve system. We should highlight the associated relationships as we improve education, while we also improve health care professional, client or patient interactions and improve information provided.  Our efforts should improve what we are already doing.

We are all connected.  We all share this world.  Our economy is a subset of our ecology.  Optimizing instead of maximizing is what nature does, it helps all areas thrive while it also enables, supports and creates interactions that facilitate more complex organisms to evolve.  These new organisms evolve if and only if they help support and build life to make it a better place for all to live.

I look forward to hearing how you make the system work better so we all benefit by generating comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic, interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Make it a Great Week!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Everything Happens for a Reason! Make it Good!

Everything does happen for a reason. At least we want to believe things happen for a reason, even if it is a distasteful reason. We want a reason because it is harder to live with the idea that things happen for no reason. The brain can’t process unknowns or believe there is NO reason for why things happened (I suggest you see related posts I made about Meaning and meaninglessness in life here and here).

Things happen for a reason, but it is not the reason most think.  We all want to live in a world that makes sense and is fair so we believe that anything that does happen, had to happen and that there was a logical cause. We especially want this to be true if suffering or difficulty was involved.  Nobody wants there to be meaningless suffering.

During my adult years I have come to the conclusion that everything does happen for a reason, but it is the reason WE decide, it was not preordained.  This belief has evolved from life experiences and from my multiple readings of Harold S. Kushner’s incredible book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People“. A book I STRONGLY recommend you read.  After all, is there anyone that has not known suffering?

When_Bad_Things_Happen_To_Good_People

If you are not aware, I was the passenger in a  car that collided head on with another.  My result was the best. I suffered a severe brain contusion that put me in a coma for a week and paralyzed me for a short time. It  also caused brain damage that eliminated my memories. My 3 friends (the driver and the other 2 passengers) were tragically killed and the people in the other car were badly injured. After I began to recover from my near fatal car accident that occurred on September 21, 1984, (see the story here) my mother recommended I read Harold Kushner’s book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People“. She had read it.

Many suggested to me that I was saved in the car accident for a reason and God had a plan.  As suggested by Kushner, this is just wishful thinking and an attempt to defend God and was an attempt to give a reason to my suffering.  I cannot believe I was saved for a reason. If there is an all powerful, all knowing, kind, supernatural being, then my accident would not have happened.  I could of learned the lesson or whatever I was supposed to have gained from that accident in a way that would not have caused so much harm, sadness, difficulty, and death to so many.

The world is not fair, therefore finding a why or reason that makes us think the world is fair would be counterproductive.  Kushner recommends we move away from searching for why and for someone to blame because blaming the victim is a way of only reassuring ourself and that the world is fair and not a bad place.  Finding a why suggests there are good reasons for suffering, there are not.  He then suggests this causes the fortunate to believe good fortune is deserved and not luck.  A difficulty with this approach is that doing so means all will feel better except the victim.

I CHOSE the reason for the accident. I have chosen to view that the accident was a sad and tragic event that also I decided pushed me to develop skills I would not have otherwise gained.  I can’t undo the accident, it happened.  As Kushner suggests, we need a new question.  Instead of WHY did this happen to me, we should ask, “Now that this happened, what do I do now?”  I chose to get help and develop the skills and abilities I needed to live a better life. The importance of this approach is noted in the title of Kushner’s book. The title of the book is not WHY Bad things happen but WHEN Bad things happen. Similarly, Tony Robbins suggests we should notice the skills  and or the abilities we develop to deal with difficulties in our life we could not develop otherwise and use those to improve the lives of ourselves and others.

To me, reasons are not pre-determined, we choose the reason and if we choose to develop abilities not possible otherwise – then we CHOOSE what to do when something bad happens.  When things happen in life, good or bad, choose a reason that helps us learn how to generate comprehensive improvements by creating selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Make 2018 a Great Year

“I look at what I do to see what I believe”.  If we have to see what we are doing to know what we believe, we have an opportunity to take more control over our lives. If we want to make 2018 great, we will need to be more directive in our actions.

Image result for 2018 png

I heard that quote in Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale  interesting speech Ten Tips For Success.  I learned about Mr. McIngvale from my reading and active learning with  “12 Days to Deming“. Jim “Mack” McIngvale was one of Deming’s students who successfully used the Deming management methods and philosophy in his business.

For me that saying was a great reminder and it provided great insight.  As Tony Robbins explains, we are unhappy when the blueprint we have of our life, what we thought our life would be,  does not meet our reality.  In other words, this happens when our daily actions, or  the data we collect about our daily actions, does not paint or give us a picture of our life that we like. For instance, to make sure my data paints me a picture I like, since I say I care about the environment, I bike when I can or when I drive I use a Prius to support those values.  I also say I care about animals and the environment and therefore follow a mostly vegan diet to support those beliefs and values.

I have my students do a personal philosophy paper which is an introspection of their life. I also do it regularly through reflection and self-monitoring .  I do this to know if my actions match my values.  I do this because I don’t want to have to look at what we do to see what I believe.  Even so, sometimes I get off course and my actions don’t match my values.  When this happens, I adjust my actions and feel better for it.

When our actions do not match our beliefs or values or our blue print as Tony Robbins talked about, this is what psychologists call cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological distress) experienced  by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas or values.  This happens when a persons day to day actions do not represent their beliefs, values, and or desires.  It is not about a one time lapse as much as a regular contradictory practice. In other words, when our blueprint of our life does not match what happens in our life, we may become depressed, sad, confused….

Most of this happens beyond our consciousness as life pushes us here and there. Unfortunately, when this happens we unknowingly lose faith in ourselves because what we do does not represent what we believe.  However, rather than seeing this as a problem, see it as a guide.  When we get uncomfortable feelings, stop and reflect.  Thomas Friedman discusses this idea in his recent book, “Thank You for Being Late”, I discuss at New Responsibilities are Opportunities..

For me this means I first decide what is important, determine what I want to be and then become that person.  I do not have to be a product of my circumstances, I can chose to become something that I hope radiates inspiration and pride.  Our actions are important.  As we know, our actions speak so loudly, they often drawn out our words.  As has been said,

The understanding that our beliefs should match our actions is something I see as important and I have posted about it often. See at Choose Well: Economics is our Values, Not MathOur Economic Choices Demonstrate our ValuesUnintentional Consent: Are you giving it?Action Taken that Created a Better Future in Costa Rica;Its All Meaningless! Here is How to Create Meaning!;Serendipity? Don’t “Have” a Nice Day – Make it So!; and many more.

Make 2018 Great

To have the life desired in 2018, I hope you will do like me.  I have decided to proactively determine what I want to be and then determine how those values will be represented by my actions each day.  If I do this well, I will not need to tell people what I believe, I will show them with my actions.

In my view we are more alike than we are different.  We all want clean air, water and land.  We all wan to be healthy and happy and we all want a better future.  Lets make this more likely by our actions in 2018. I look forward to learning about how you will show our shared values and beliefs.

As I attempt to do, lets work together to create all good. Lets Practice Paneugenesis so we can  cause all good by generating comprehensive improvements with pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

%d bloggers like this: