Humanity’s Insignificance in the History of the World

In an enlightening and educational documentary, The History of the World in 2 Hours which is linked and also visible below, it was reinforced and helped me remember much of what I had learned about how our world evolved. It also made very clear and helped me realize humanity’s insignificance. The world has been around for 14 billion years, humans, in all forms, maybe 200,000 years or less than even 1% of time.

By seeing all that has happened, it helped me understand the insignificance of our existence. Knowing this motivates me even more to want to learn how to live the best we can to make life more livable. Learning to live with and in our world is the only way we will be able to expand our capacity and achieve our potential for a better life. Living in cooperative, not in a competitive way, allows, well actually facilitates, the development of greater complexity. Throughout evolution, it was not that bad was destroyed but that more complex efficient, effective organisms grew from the organisms that did not adapt and cooperate to make life better. A great resource about these concepts is Martin Nowak’s book, “SuperCooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and Why We Need Each Other to Succeed” 2011.

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It seems clear we can live better by respecting and cooperating instead of living as if we own the planet which will likely to end our short run. This idea, however, I think was better explained by the comedy genius George Carlin. As he explains, humans are currently acting like a virus on the living human planet which the planet will work to eliminate. Instead of being a virus, we can learn to live as part of this wonderful system in ways that creates interactions so everyone and everything benefits which is paneugenesis or selfish, selfless, synergy.

Make it a Great Week!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

A Philosophy to Use???

I recently wrote a teaching philosophy – I adopted it some for this post to apply more generally. To write this philosophy I adapted the 7 C Model I use for many things I do. If you have time, please take a look and share your thoughts… Thank you.

Teaching Philosophy

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The teaching techniques and philosophy I developed and use has evolved over the past 14 years. Overall my teaching philosophy has developed techniques to fulfill the goal of helping others evolve into a better, more competent and capable version of themselves. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe captured my philosophy well when he proclaimed,

If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however, if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that.

How I accomplish this  philosophy can be described with what I refer to as a 7C framework which includes Challenge, Courage, Competence, Commitment, Connection, Contributions and Consequences.

In my efforts to be an effective teacher I initially ask the almost rhetorical question of whether or not they are interested in becoming a better version of themselves. Gaining confirmation, I them ask them to accept it as a Challenge. I also warn them that growth is hard. As Simon Sinek has stated,

If the challenge we face doesn’t scare us, then it’s probably not that important.

With giving them the idea that accepting the Challenge is important, I also explain that seeing this as a Challenge rather than a chore makes them more likely to think and act as needed to meet the Challenge. I also tell them my experience has shown that as they work to meet these challenges they will develop strengths and abilities they never knew they had. Of course since accepting the Challenge is scary, they need Courage.

As Mark Twain made known,

Courage is not the absence of fear, it is acting in spite of it.

I explain they will need Courage because as they learn new ideas and concepts to become who they want to be, these new ideas can be scary because they will Challenge their existing beliefs. I also explain that Courage is that voice inside of their head that says they can be better!

In concert with these efforts is my  aim of helping others become more capable through the development of Competencies from acquisition of new skills and knowledge. As the management guru W. Edwards Deming often stated,

Learning is not compulsory…neither is survival.

When I teach I provide opportunities to learn from lecture, homework, projects, and group assignments. In helping them learn and develop Competencies, I am not just working to help them survive, I am helping them realize their potential to thrive.

New abilities don’t just happen, a Commitment is needed. Colin Powell explains Commitment like this,

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.

Commitment is devotion or dedication which requires persistent effort and thought. To assist their development, I design my courses so they engage in preparation, hard work and have the opportunity to learn from failures. Committed students are rewarded with developed Competencies from their use of the many varied learning opportunities provided if not in a class, at work and in life.

I also emphasize the value of Connections through experience and teaching about other resources, people and groups. As Helen Keller said,

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.

To help them learn how to make connections I teach them about the benefits of developing strategic partnerships which are connections to groups that share a common goal and have complementary strengths. In my teaching I demonstrate this by making Connections with the library to help them learn, with Wellness Education so they can use their competencies, Career Services for developing job acquisition skills, and with the Volunteer and Service Learning Center to gain leadership skills through the completion of a Service-Learning assignment.

To help them understand the value of their knowledge, I relate class to their future and how it will enable them to make Contributions. Albert Einstein warned,

One should guard against preaching to young people success in the customary form as the main aim in life. The most important motive for work in school and in life is the pleasure in work, pleasure in its result, and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community.

It is by accepting the Challenge, having Courage, being Committed to learning new Competencies and making Connections they are able to Contribute to individuals, groups and society, thus making a career of which they should be proud.

Finally, since the Dalai Lama suggests that in this life there are no punishments and no rewards, we simply suffer or enjoy the Consequences of our actions and choices, I explain the beneficial Consequences of their Contributions to others and to themselves. The consequences they will be able to enjoy include autonomy to direct their career and life, mastery over many topics and hopefully the discovery of a life purpose. Through their personal growth their Consequences beyond autonomy, mastery and purpose include self-confidence and the ability to be a happy, successful citizen  who contributes as a role model and helps create a better tomorrow.

This teaching philosophy helps me continue to learn, grow and improve. It also keeps my teaching and learning as an interactive, not a passive process. I cannot make others learn and it seems these techniques and philosophy helps me provide an opportunity to learn. This philosophy and these techniques also force me to continually learn and develop better ways to learn and share new information. I hope that my teaching efforts are providing others with the ability to create interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Of course having the honor to teach and in attempting to help others become better versions of themselves, it has hopefully provided me a way to become a better version of myself. For this I am thankful for these  opportunities.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Boost Productivity by Rewarding Health with General Leave Policies!

Most current  leave policies reward sickness instead of health. At many organizations, such as school districts, teachers must pay to get a personal day off to do things such as  a function they want to attend with their child or spouse. However, if they want a day off with full pay, they need to be sick. In this way, the  system rewards those who get sick yet charges others who want to do things that contribute to their life and the well-being of themselves and family members or friends. Does that make sense?

A better solution would be to have general leave days. Most all working professionals are given a certain number of sick days – and they should because things happen. What if instead of giving a number of days for sick leave, they instead have a number of general leave days. This way, people can then use those days for functions they feel are important for their life and well-being. Many studies document the benefits of having control over schedules and life and how they benefit health and productivity. Also, if they do get sick, which does happen, those general leave days can be used. If a person is sick often, this then limits days they can then use for personal matters. In this way, it rewards healthy employee’s with greater freedom over their schedule and actually encourages and rewards those who work at being and improving their health.

Beyond the value of more freedom and control to healthier employee’s, there are several advantages to a General Leave policy rather than the traditional sick day system.

1. Employees are more likely to plan for absences instead of taking off at the last minute. This means employees will make adjustments so their work gets covered, negating any possible drop in productivity.

2. A general leave policy shows employees the organization cares about them and wants to support them. As research has clearly shown, when employers care about the  employee’s, employee’s reciprocate by doing better work for that organization. Higher productivity has been attributed to employee’s who care more about their job and their employer.

3. General Leave policies reward and encourage health while making sickness less accommodating thus encouraging employee’s to engage in health promoting actions to make sickness less likely.

4. External incentives are generally bad because they destroy intrinsic motivation but policies that incentivize desired behaviors actually build intrinsic motivation while creating a culture that nurtures health.

**Of note, with this policy it is vital organizations also provide a health promoting culture and programs to make it easy for employee’s to engage in health promoting actions. Without creating a health promoting culture, these policies can be seen as manipulative instead of supportive.

Please share your thoughts as to how we can continue to create interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

I look forward to hearing about how you use selfish, selfless, synergy to generate All Good by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits!

Practicing Paneugenesis – An Example

This is a fantastic example of how to create interactions so everyone and everything benefits. If we are going to do things differently, they absolutely HAVE TO BETTER, NOT JUST LESS DAMAGING.

Although I am a vegan because of the impact animal food production affects planetary and personal health (of course planetary and personal health are interrelated), adopting ideas as presented by Dan Barber would cause me to rethink that stance. In Dan Barber’s Presentations about How I feel in Love With Fish and A Foie Gras Parable provides a better way! Enjoy…

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

I look forward to hearing about how you use selfish, selfless, synergy to generate All Good by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits!

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