Habits Can be and Should be Good

Judson Brewers excellent book, “The Craving Mind: from cigarettes to smartphones to love – why we get hooked and how we can break bad habits” and his TED Presentation, “A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit” is focused on ending bad habits. Ending bad habits is helpful, however creating good habits can be even better because they help us improve.  We can create good habits by intentionally taking action to develop specific helpful behaviors.

Dr. Brewer shared many great insights in his book.  One I found important was when he suggested rather than focusing on our craving, a desire to do something, a bad habit we should instead become curious and discover what is happening.  He suggests doing this so curiosity becomes our habit.

My focus has been on how to develop good habits that improve our life.  I have focused on habits because habits require a lower cognitive load and therefore provide us with greater capacity and potential to excel. For example, I just came back from swimming.  I have been a swimmer most of my life and I am able to swim and do laps habitually, it does not take conscious effort to swim.  Since I do not need to devote my mind to the task of swimming, I can think about other things.  Luckily, many of my ideas or answers to questions I have come to me when I swim. I discuss this idea of having more capacity at my Capacity Enables Creativity and Crisis Mitigation post.

Another insight Dr. Brewer shared that I found enlightening was how he discussed what I term, Selfish, Selfless, Synergy. If interested, see Experts & Joey Explain Benefits of Selfish/Selfless/SynergyMaking a Symphony with Selfish, Selfless, SynergyBiology & Evolution Make Us Selfish, Selfless, & Synergistic, and many more.  My point has always been that being selfish is being selfless or that they are these ideas may be the same.  If you are interested in this perspective, Bill Clinton and Joey explain in the video’s below.

Dr. Brewer however clarifies the idea of being selfish and or selfless.  He suggests acts are selfish when they are done for external or extrinsic rewards and selfless acts are when actions are taken for intrinsic reasons.  For example, he suggests holding the door for someone to get a “Thank you” in return is selfish and holding the door for the intrinsic reward of feeling good for is selfless.

My thoughts about this are that there is overlap and both methods provide a reward. Dr. Brewer however helped clarify how we think about rewards for our actions may help make our actions more consistent with our intentions.  Research by ETbHiggins would also suggest a consistent self-regulation style will also improve performance of those actions.

It also seems that  intrinsic rewards can also be extrinsically rewarding at a later time, thus an overlap.  It is also likely most of us know this at some level, even though we mostly do an action for intrinsic reasons.  I hope this fits with my idea that money must follow, it should not lead. That is we should do good, and in time if our good provides value, we will be rewarded beyond just feeling good for doing good.  After all, if we are not rewarded over time, we could not continue engaging in those actions.  Does that make sense?  In addition, research to date seems to suggest we will perform better and create more value when intrinsically driven than if driven for extrinsic reasons.  A great amount of research supports this contention.

All in all it seems this could also support the idea of paneugenesis.  That is we should focus on creating all good and can feel good for doing good because practicing paneugenesis is to generate comprehensive improvements for everyone and everything by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions.

Please share your thoughts.  I recommend you read Dr. Brewer’s book and Practice Paneugenesis to create all good so everyone and everything benefits.  Doing so should also help you feel good for doing good!

If interested, you can see other posts I made about this concept at Everything Happens for a Reason! Make it Good!Do Good or Don’t Do Bad – Does it Matter? and others.

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

Create All Good – Paneugenesis – in Prisons?

Is it possible to use selfish, selfless, synergy to create all good and generate comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits in prisons? Germany’s new approach to prisons, the same country that created and used concentration camps to break people, now uses a dramatically different approach that may benefit society. The first section of the 60 Minutes video below shows their recent presentation about how they are jailing people in Germany.

This new approach that helps people learn how to be to contributing members of society, rather than punishing them, shows promise. This approach also lines up with Steven Pinker’s findings that suggest society is becoming moral, see this post.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts about this development. Make it a great Holiday!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

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


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.


Scaring Doesn’t Work – Focus on Better! 👍🏻

Energy and Environment
James Hansen’s controversial sea level rise paper has now been published online

For years I have been hearing about problems associated with sea level rise. It seems they are trying to scare us into action. Scaring however has been shown time and time again when removed by time, it doesn’t work. Scaring may create an immediate reaction but it does not lead to the long-term change and dedication needed. Movement toward a better outcome and a better world – something everyone desires – does manifest commitment, adherence, and better performance.

Of course a sea level rise would be a problem, however, instead of focusing on what to do make a better world, most of these articles, including one linked above, focuses on who agrees or does not agree this will happen. Who cares? If it happens we all lose, nobody benefits. Instead why don’t we think about how to make things better in ways that are helpful to enabling everyone and everything to benefit.

As I learned last week and posted here, we have the technology and know how to have a better world without reliance on fossil fuels, what many say is the main culprit  in global warming.  My point, however is that even if all the experts are wrong and it is not fossil fuels that are causing the problem, the solution toward a more democratized, stable, fulfilling world is more likely if we decarbonize our economy. Why shouldn’t we move in that direction to make things better.

In other words, lets stop arguing about what is the cause and instead just focus our efforts on how to generate comprehensive benefits by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits. This means creating all good or the practice of paneugenesis with selfish, selfless, synergy (described in video below). I look forward to how we can create more good, not just less bad – also in previous post. Make it a great day, year, life! If you want to learn more, you can review this longer presentation.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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

My Sister Practiced Paneugenesis and Everything Benefitted!

As you know, paneugenesis is a selfish, selfless, synergistic actions that create interactions so everyone and everything benefits. I was happy to learn that my sister, Holly Hennessy, who is  Vice Principal in California is practicing paneugenesis by leading a 6th Grade class in a real life civics lesson. She and the students took time to make a local park more beautiful so everyone and everything benefits. Those that participated realized they could make a difference and that their actions matter. Read more about what and how they did it here.

Bellflower students keep Carruthers Park beautiful

Students from Woodruff Elementary and Bellflower Middle School raked wood chips in fitness areas at Caruthers Park on Friday, Jan. 30, as part of a service projected dedicated to beautifying the 20-acre Bellflower city park. Courtesy

See athttp:/http://www.presstelegram.com/lifestyle/20150207/bellflower-students-keep-carruthers-park-beautiful

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

Create selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions

so everyone & everything benefits!

Selfish Selfless Synergy In Action

The selfish, selfless, synergy or the practice of paneugenesis which is done by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits is something anyone can build into their life. Of course one of the greatest benefits is the self-worth or good feelings about oneself that is generated by creating such actions beyond the benefits afforded everyone and everything. In the TED presentation below by Aziz Abu Sarah he explains how tourism can make the world a better place – yes tourism!

The examples he provides supply excellent examples of how he is making the world better in his own unique way and  may help you think how you could do it in your way. It is the action we take that provides the evidence about ourself we need to feel good. Happiness does not just happen nor is it the our default state. As Martin Seligman in Authentic Happiness, Flourishing and other publications & Tal Ben-ShaHar in Happier and other publications has shown, happiness has to be earned by doing something. Unhappiness on the other hand requires nothing. If you don’t do anything, unhappiness is the outcome most likely.

Enjoy this presentation on Aziz is using Tourism to create Selfish, Selfless, Synergy:

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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