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Make 2019 Great! For Everyone & Everything!

We are all in this together.  As you begin 2019, I encourage you to take Selfish, Selfless, Synergistic actions that result in pervasive, reciprocal interactions from which everyone and everything benefits.  As Frank Borman quoted when he saw our blue planet:

To see the Earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the Earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold — brothers who know now that they are truly brothers. – Archibald MacLeish

Keep in mind, when you are helping others you are helping yourself and this ripples out for and to everyone and everything.  As Charles Schulz showed us in Peanuts:

 

 

 

 

 

Make it a beneficial ripple. Choose to be the hero:

   A way to make 2019 better, will be to join “Team Human” as media theorist Douglas Rushkoff discusses in his TED Talk, ” How to be ‘Team Human’ in the Digital Future.  Enjoy.

 

Please share your thoughts on how you will take action to help create a better tomorrow. Lets make  2019 Great, I will do what I can!  Let me know if how I can help you…

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

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Wellness is the “Opposite of Loneliness”

I was moved by Marina Keegan’s amazing final essay at Yale. Tragically she was killed in a car crash a week after graduating, she was 22. She created the essay below for a special edition of the Yale Daily News edition that was distributed at the class of 2012’s commencement.

I inspired because I realized this is what our world should be and what we all want. It is like how I feel when I attend the National Wellness Conference every year. This means making the world a place where we become the best versions of ourselves.

As she shares, it is not about just being comfortable but about progress, as shared in a previous essay, Is Wellness Progress?  My push is that we all need to enlarge our circle include all living things in creating progress so we generate improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Enjoy…

Marina’s essay

Screen-Shot-2014-04-07-at-2.48.26-AM

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life. What I’m grateful and thankful to have found at Yale, and what I’m scared of losing when we wake up tomorrow and leave this place.

It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it’s four a.m. and no one goes to bed. That night with the guitar. That night we can’t remember. That time we did, we went, we saw, we laughed, we felt. The hats.

Yale is full of tiny circles we pull around ourselves. A cappella groups, sports teams, houses, societies, clubs. These tiny groups that make us feel loved and safe and part of something even on our loneliest nights when we stumble home to our computers — partner-less, tired, awake. We won’t have those next year. We won’t live on the same block as all our friends. We won’t have a bunch of group-texts.

This scares me. More than finding the right job or city or spouse — I’m scared of losing this web we’re in. This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness. This feeling I feel right now.

But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move to New York and away from New York and wish we did or didn’t live in New York. I plan on having parties when I’m 30. I plan on having fun when I’m old. Any notion of THE BEST years comes from clichéd “should haves…” “if I’d…” “wish I’d…”

Of course, there are things we wished we did: our readings, that boy across the hall. We’re our own hardest critics and it’s easy to let ourselves down. Sleeping too late. Procrastinating. Cutting corners. More than once I’ve looked back on my High School self and thought: how did I do that? How did I work so hard? Our private insecurities follow us and will always follow us.

But the thing is, we’re all like that. Nobody wakes up when they want to. Nobody did all of their reading (except maybe the crazy people who win the prizes…) We have these impossibly high standards and we’ll probably never live up to our perfect fantasies of our future selves. But I feel like that’s okay.

We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lay alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out – that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it’s too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.

When we came to Yale, there was this sense of possibility. This immense and indefinable potential energy – and it’s easy to feel like that’s slipped away. We never had to choose and suddenly we’ve had to. Some of us have focused ourselves. Some of us know exactly what we want and are on the path to get it; already going to med school, working at the perfect NGO, doing research. To you I say both congratulations and you suck.

For most of us, however, we’re somewhat lost in this sea of liberal arts. Not quite sure what road we’re on and whether we should have taken it. If only I had majored in biology…if only I’d gotten involved in journalism as a freshman…if only I’d thought to apply for this or for that…

What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.

In the heart of a winter Friday night my freshman year, I was dazed and confused when I got a call from my friends to meet them at EST EST EST. Dazedly and confusedly, I began trudging to SSS, probably the point on campus farthest away. Remarkably, it wasn’t until I arrived at the door that I questioned how and why exactly my friends were partying in Yale’s administrative building. Of course, they weren’t. But it was cold and my ID somehow worked so I went inside SSS to pull out my phone. It was quiet, the old wood creaking and the snow barely visible outside the stained glass. And I sat down. And I looked up. At this giant room I was in. At this place where thousands of people had sat before me. And alone, at night, in the middle of a New Haven storm, I felt so remarkably, unbelievably safe.

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I’d say that’s how I feel at Yale. How I feel right now. Here. With all of you. In love, impressed, humbled, scared. And we don’t have to lose that.

We’re in this together. Let’s make something happen to this world.

Hard to say it better than that. Lets work together for progress by generating comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

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Less Bad ≠ More Good – We Must Create Good

I often put this, + , on top of many students papers.  This means, less negative does not equal more positive. Negative and positive events are independent. Eliminating what is undesirable does not create what is desired. Often students tell me that the organization or university will thrive if we eliminate smoking, if we prevent violence or if just get stop eating unhealthy food. This is not necessarily true, the absence of bad does not create good.

Peanuts - Just not UNHappy

Stopping someone from being killer does not cause them to do good deeds. In class, prohibiting students from using phones or other electronics does not make them good students. Not doing the wrong thing does not cause, inspire or lead to someone doing the right thing. Specifically, not doing the wrong act does not enable one to have skills or abilities to do something good or better. How could they develop new abilities by stopping something? What new ideas or skills could be developed from inaction?

In other words less negative does not equal more positive (< – ≠ > +). This idea was documented in Frederick Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene Theory. His work demonstrated eliminating dissatisfaction did not create satisfaction. He demonstrated getting rid of dissatisfaction could not create satisfaction because non-dissatisfaction and satisfaction were independent and caused by a different set of factors.

Positive can only result by actively thinking about and designing a way to generate comprehensive improvements and by developing new skills and abilities that create interactions so everyone and everything benefits. To make sure desirable interactions happen, there must be a focus on the outcome and how everyone and everything benefits. I refer to this as aiming for +3, see video.

Everything is connected, if one thing changes, everything else changes because it adapts to that change. To create positive we must use systems thinking for any choice or action. In other words, to create the +3 we can practice paneugenesis and do all good by using pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions that generate comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Peanuts - Be > Not BadUpon reflection, I realized this was something I practiced in my life. Our house burned down on April 29, 2014. (See story at, Dad Our House is on Fire!..People are Amazing) We could of used insurance to rebuild our house back the way it was, which was nice, but like most, we wanted a better. Our idealized outcome was of a more efficient and more usable house. That is what we did. Since we are consistently doing things everyday that create tomorrow, shouldn’t all our efforts be about creating a better tomorrow instead of working to maintain the status quo.

The riskiest  thing we can do is maintain the status quo. – Bob Iger

Doing better takes self-reflection and thought. We will need to think, will these future efforts create what I have always had or will these efforts result in something better? Unfortunately we cannot know for sure if they will work but we must be willing to experiment, based on existing evidence and accept that Challenge. After accepting the Challenge we need to have the Courage to be Committed to work toward creating that better outcome. Our Commitment in creating a better outcome will also require our development. Our development will mean the learning of new Competencies in the form of skills, abilities, and potentials. This development will also mean making Connections to people and organizations that can help us make progress toward that idealized better outcome.  To learn more about a way to C these 7C’s see this post.

To create an idealized outcome, one that is not present today cannot happen unless we create the necessary conditions, environment to generate that desired outcome. To create better, I recommend taking these steps to create all good with selfish, selfless, synergy or the Practice of Paneugenesis:

1. Operationalize an Idealized Outcome – make sure all involved parties know what is to be created and be sure that it is better than what can be now. The outcome should have pervasive and reciprocal effects that carry meaning and impact to and beyond the individual.

2. Discover Precursors – what must exist now to make the idealized outcome a reality. Discover what skills, abilities, traits, environments are necessary and or must exist to realize the idealized outcome. These precursors are conditions that must be created and not currently present.

3. Optimize the Process – what must be done to create those precursors that will enable the idealized outcome to be realized – go do that now! Do what must be done to create and put in place the necessary precursors discovered.

4. Plot Progress – find measures that document and demonstrate progress is being made toward the creation of discovered precursors and or idealized outcomes. Progress measures that indicate movement is being made toward the creation of the new, desired reality are necessary to give meaning and purpose to the process and to help participants maintain motivation.

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I look forward to enjoying a better tomorrow!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Valuable Skills of Multipotentialites & Steve Jobs

Did you ever think that you might have been better at something else? Do you have multiple interests? In Emilie Wapnick’s interesting TED Presentation about her many interests she makes a persuasive presentation about the value of having multiple interests. In this presentation, those with multiple interests are called Multipotentialites.

In a very convincing way she points out that being multipotentialite leads to the development of super powers. The specific super powers developed include:

  1. Idea Synthesis – the ability to synthesize multiple concepts and ideas from different areas
  2. Rapid Learning – as noted in previous posts, being able to learn fast is a sign of high intelligence (See here). Rapid learning becomes a super power because of how many times multipotentialites are beginners and endeavor to learn something new. These repeated learning experiences help multipotentialites become rapid learners as repeated exercises become habitual.
  3. Adaptability – ability to morph into what is needed because of the ability to take on different roles as needed for each endeavor. Of course new skills are needed for these roles and this enhances ones capacity and potential.

Interestingly, it is the3 skills developed by multipotentialites that  can help us be successful in the 21st century thus validating pursuing and developing multiple interests and related skills. These skills are valuable because today we need innovators and creative thinkers to make tomorrow better. Being able to use idea synthesis, becoing a rapid learner and being adaptable means we can more quickly generate comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits (which is the practice of paneugenesis).

I encourage you to watch her TED Presentation:

As I listened to EmilieWapnick’s presentation it kept reminding me of Steve Jobs amazing Stanford Commencement speech. In this speech he shared 3 stories, one was about the ability to connect the dots. He related this to when he went to Reed College and took a calligraphy class because he found it interesting, beautiful and amazing. He then related it to how that then later led to the Mac having multiple fonts and beautiful typography (which Windows and the whole computing world copied) highlighting the value of following his interest and being a multipotentialite.

After all, it was the ability of pulling together multiple interests that made the modern computing world and most advanced living ideas possible. Below is his Stanford presentation. If you have never seen it or even if you have I encourage you to watch it and share the overlap you see or don’t see. I look forward to hearing from you. Enjoy.

Gender Equality is about Making Things Better

If we are going to make society better for everyone, it must be better for all not just a select few in the name of equality. W. Edwards Deming, the great quality management guru explained, “Defend your rights, you lose.” His point was that changes cannot be about just individuals doing better but about helping the whole system function better. When the system work better, everyone benefits.

Another way to say this is I how I have documented  Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant and Fixing Problems is Isufficient, Ineffective, & Inefficient because eliminating problems does not mean we get what we want. To get what we want, as is made clear with the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, we must cause it to happen. To cause desired outcomes we must move beyond problems to a focus on improvement for all.

Michael Kimmel’s TED presentation provides a great example of this thinking with, “Why gender equality is good for everyone — men included“.  Although his presentation seems to be about women’s rights, really it is about a better way so everyone and everything benefits. In the presentation he uses data to describe actions taken to create a better world also lead to an end of inequality. This of course is how to Practice Paneugenesis by generating comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Enjoy:

I look forward hearing about how you make the world better as it also eliminates or makes irrelevant things that decrease our quality of life.

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Capacity Enables Creativity and Crisis Mitigation

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To me this is something powerful I learned by reading McDonough and Braungart books, Cradle to Cradle and Upcycle. In Cradle to Cradle they had a section about Ways to Improve Success. They discussed it as a way to understand and prepare for the learning curve so things would be learned more easily. In their description I understood them to say for us to develop into who we want to be, we needed extra capacity to get better at what we do.

How can we get or have extra capacity when it seems that life continues to crowd more and more information and things into every day? We had thought when cell phones and computers were just ideas that when they existed they would make our days simpler and easier. I remember when I was younger they used to talk about a 4 day work week because we will be able to get so much more done that there wouldn’t be a need to work more. Instead, although these better and more efficient ways have helped us work harder and produce more, which is good, it has seemed to squeeze out leisure and rest since we can work 24/7.

This relates to something Seligman discussed in Flourish (see this post), Kahneman discussed in Thinking Fast & Slow (see this post), and Gladwell in Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking about why it is good to have habits. Each of these respected researchers and authors thoughts related to capacity when they discussed the value of habits and how they could help us be better. Seligman even suggested that the ability to do things faster was related to higher intelligence and only when basic things are habits can we get things done more quickly. In Blink, Gladwell documents how experts are able to know in an instant complex things before they even know why or how they know. He goes on to show that these experts know because of their reserve of knowledge, skills, and wisdom which created their expertise from previous work.

Habit

As is well known, it takes 10,000 hours or ten years of work to become an expert in any area. During those 10,00 hours it is important we become knowledgable and improve our ability. It is also important that as we develop, we practice doing things well because as Aristotle observed – excellence is a habit, not an act.

aristotle-quote

So how does this relate to capacity? Habits provide and create capacity because habits are performed with less effort and require lower amounts of energy. Duhigg in The Power of Habits showed how we use less brain power when we have habits. As you can see in the visual, less brain activity is needed to do a habit than when doing something that we have to think about how it must be completed. This is important because brain activity uses more glucose than any other human activity. In other words, thinking takes a lot of energy. I guess this explains why we often get tired when we only think even if we are not physically active.

Unknown Habit Brain Rests copy

 

It takes energy to develop habits, those 10,000 hours needed to develop expertise, which means during that time we should  develop efficient, helpful habits for what we can. With habits we don’t have to expend as much effort to do things that must be done and then we have an EXTRA CAPACITY of energy to use to develop ourselves and our ideas so we can learn, develop and use new and better ways.

In other words, to have the capacity to innovate and think about better ways, we must get good, really good at what we must. During this time we when we learn we should work to make our acts habits so we have extra capacity to use to innovate. We need this capacity to adapt, improve and innovate to make things better. Beyond the energy to make things better, it also provides a clear mind to think about not just mitigating or fixing a problem but instead about how can we do things better so the problems are avoided or become irrelevant (see here). In reality, crisis mitigation or solving a problem is really a method to be at best average, not excellent (see next post) . This happens because if we are drained from continually thinking about what should be one, it will be all we can do to just mitigate a crisis. However with capacity created by developing and using habits, our efforts can be directed toward not just eliminating a problem but making it better. (See here or here or here or here or here and many more previous posts)

 habits wordle

How can you use this idea? For me I think about what parts of my day I can you get really good at so it becomes an almost effortless habit. This reminds me of something I read in one of the Steve Jobs books. In this section it was explained that he made a habit out of clothes he would wear. He chose to wear the same looking clothes every day so he would not have to expend energy to make that decision.

Habits are helpful because the willpower and effort needed to make most decisions are like muscles, if they are overused, they become fatigued. Habits give those thinking muscles time to rest and recover. Give yourself extra capacity and do better by making what you can a habit. To practice paneugenesis, we need to innovate to find better ways that generate comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits. I look forward to hearing about your successes.

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Fixing Problems is Inefficient, Ineffective & Insufficient

Don’t fix problems, it cannot get us to where we want or need to be. Our focus must be on Better. This concept was ringing in my head as I watched a 60 minutes episode. As I watched it also suggested to me why many things that seem necessary are not being funded. Below is Preview of that 60 Minutes episode from November 23, 2014:

In this episode Steve Kroft reported about problems with our roads, bridges, airports and rail. He explained that they are outdated and need to be fixed. Throughout the segment everyone he talked with agreed that they were falling apart and were in immediate need of repair. Even so, nobody seemed to have the motivation to fix the problems with these necessary and vital conduits to transportation. Below is a discussion about the issue. Link to whole 60 Minutes episode here.

Although I saw the need to do something and was concerned and disgusted that these problems were not being fixed, I realized the emotions generated by the story did not motivate me. In the story they acknowledged that we are way behind in rail transit and one of the only first world nations without High Speed Rail. I realized, I was not motivated to move or do something because even if it was fixed, we would be left with our currently outdated structures. How can anybody get excited or motivated to raise money to rebuild something that they admitted is already outdated?

If we are going to spend money, wouldn’t people be more motivated to create something better, not just less bad? To me this means the focus needs to be on how to Operationalize an Idealized Outcome. The Idealized Outcome discussion needs to be about what could and should America have to THRIVE, not just survive. This should have been an exciting story about what could be created and how this new vision would enable so much more.

Of course those of you who have followed me and my work with paneugenesis understand that better is my focus. I work to Generate Comprehensive Improvements by Creating Interactions so Everyone & Everything Benefits! This links to a previous discussion  “Prevention Can’t Work & Problems are Irrelevant”  which explains how to take this approach and how to switch to  a better focus. A result of a better focus is it also remedies or makes problems irrelevant. Focusing on problems is insufficient, ineffective and inefficient. We must focus on what could be and how to make it happen.

The 60 Minutes Falling Apart Story provides another example of how and why our focus needs to be on better or the end to Practice Paneugenesis so everyone and everything could benefit. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
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