Thank You Mr. Obvious

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

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

Am I missing something?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

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