Are You Productive at Lifting Things (labor) or Creating Things (elaborated nature)?

We all want to be productive.  To produce stuff with our creativity.  We vary greatly in what we are creative at producing.  That leads to 2 questions.  First, are you being productive?  Second, are you productive at lifting or moving things (labor) or at creating things (elaborated nature)?  How do you know?

As a human being, you do two things. As a being made out of matter–having a physical body– you move matter around. We measure matter and its movement with calories, a unit of energy.  As a creative being, you transform energy, from one form into another.  You have an idea, which you can choose to transform into a process that becomes a new outcome, a different form of matter.  We measure energy and its transformation with lumens, a unit of energy flow.  Said another way, as a human being, you move energy around and you transform energy.  One is measured in calories, the other in lumens.  

Another way of saying this is that you are both moving things that already exist (labor) and you are adding your labor to what exists (eLABORated nature).  There is a long history of thought around this. You can start with the labor theory of value. 

When you are being productive at work, are you measuring (1) the calories of moving already-existing things around or (2) the lumens of transforming something with your creativity?  Calories-equivalent measures tend to look at the monetized equivalents of inputs and outputs, like wages, hours worked, units produced, units moved.  The inputs and outputs are often in the same units of measurement.  They are usually expressed in the ecosynomic form of capacities and outcomes, also referred to as nouns.  The already-finished.  They all have a direct translation to material forms, often monetized.  Lumens-equivalent measures tend to look at the energy put into changing of form, from possibility to probability, from idea to process to thing, from outcome to insight to new idea.  The creative, evolutionary process. The inputs and impacts of that creative transformation are often in different units of measurement. They are usually expressed in the ecosynomic terms of (1) the development of new capacities and relationships, (2) the possibilities seen and manifested, and (3) the insights gained from observing what happened and evolving to new possibilities, processes, and forms.

If you are measuring the moving around of already-existing things, in calories equivalents, you are probably being productive in lifting-moving things (labor).  If you a measuring the changing forms of energy, as ideas, processes, outcomes, and learning, you are probably being productive in creating things (elaborated nature).  They are different processes, measured in different ways, adding different kinds of value. Which are you doing?

Inviting a High-vibrancy Data Artist–Communicating a Unifying Framework for the SDGs

Making It Obvious. How do you tell the story of the great challenges facing humanity? In a very simple and clear way that both shows the challenges and what you can do about it? As an individual, a small group, a large group, a nation, all of humanity?

OUR INVITATION. We would love to work with a high-vibrancy data artist to tell a 4-principles story, in a simple, clear graphic. Starting with the ideas described below, bringing your creativity to how to tell that story.  We are writing an article on this unifying framework, which we intend to publish in a prominent journal in 2022. Your art would be part of that article, acknowledged as your contribution.  If you are or know that high-vibrancy data artist, who would love to figure this simple, clear graphic out with us, please contact us.

What is the project?

The Challenges Humanity Faces. Many, many people around the world have taken up the work of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs were laid out by the United Nations. They provide 17 goals of a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.” Many have also taken up work on the planetary boundaries, a framework providing “a set of 9 planetary boundaries within which humanity can continue to develop and thrive for generations to come.” To figure out how to meet the 17 SDGs, while respecting the 9 planetary boundaries, some groups have started to work with the donut-economics framework providing planetary and social boundaries for the performance of an economy, that must meet the needs of people while not overshooting the planetary boundaries. This provides 26 boundaries.

A Unifying Framework. My colleague Adam Hejnowicz and I suggest a simple way to understand 4 underlying principles of the 26 boundaries, making it simpler and clearer how to deal with all 26 in anything that you do, and in any way that you choose to directly contribute. The idea works with the 4 spheres of the earth system: the mineral lithosphere, the water hydrosphere, the air atmosphere, and the life biosphere. Talking about them as spheres shows how they are both separate and how they mix. We suggest that all 26 boundaries deal with (1) the mixing and depletion of the spheres, faster than they naturally balance and replenish, and (2) equitable human access to those balanced and replenished spheres. Equitable access to clean minerals, water, air, and life.

The following links show how other groups graphically show these 4 spheres and how they influence each other.

Lopsided Value Generation: Who Is Better Off?

Look, she’s doing well. She made lots of money. Look, they are doing well. We helped them. Are they better off? How do you know?

One way to assess whether someone is better off is to see how much is flowing into their lives. These are inflows. Another way is by looking at what they are able to do, which you can assess through how much is flowing out of their accounts for products and services, for experiences. These are outflows. Whether they are better off can also be looked at by the wealth they accumulate, how much is in the stock of money, things, or experiences they have. This stock goes up when the net flow (inflows minus outflows) is positive–more inflows than outflows–and goes down when the net flow is negative–more outflows than inflows.

While the three ways of looking at better off might all be valid, they tell different stories. Based on what story you want to tell, you would use a different one of these three. They are better off because we gave them inflows. Inflows sound good. More is better. And, to know if someone is better off from the inflow, you need to know their outflow as well. For example, we helped them get 1,000 calories of food. Good. More is better than none. We can also see that these 1,000 calories are to feed 4 people for a day. They need to consume 8,000 calories (4 people times 2,000 calories/day/person). The net flow is still very negative–1,000 in and 8,000 out. They are better off with the inflow, but not enough to cover the outflow. Likewise, we can focus on the outflow narrative. They purchased 8,000 calories of food. Good. Did they have the inflows to cover that, or did they deplete their reserves to do that?

While both the inflow and outflow narratives seem powerful, they are usually partial narratives, often to the benefit of the storyteller. A fuller narrative looks at the stock with the inflows and outflows. They are better off when the stock stabilizes or increases, improving their resiliency, their reserves for a future day, and when their access to inflows is greater than their outflows. To summarize, the stock increases when the net flow increases. You are worse off, now and going forward, when that stock decreases. You are better off, now and going forward, when that stock stabilizes or increases.

That is a focus on the individual. Expanding the view to include multiple individuals, a different question arises. When these individuals interact, who is better off? We can look at their stocks, their accumulations of inflows and outflows.

Most better-off narratives focus on the inflows, outflows, or stocks of one of the individuals in the mix. Rarely do they focus on the net effect of the interaction on all of the individuals in the mix. They avoid telling the fuller story. Look at the massive amount of press on the accumulated wealth of the rich. Or how they helped the poor. All of these narratives focus on one of the inflows or outflows or stocks, not on the whole mix.

To know if people are better off because of someone’s actions, a simple thing to ask is whether all of the individuals in the mix are better off. At time zero, this was what was in each person’s stock. After the action taken, at time one, this is what is in each person’s stock. If all of the stocks have increased, everyone is better off. If one or more of the stocks have increased, and others have decreased, then that value was taken from one and given to another. It was redistributed. The total amount of value in all of the stocks stayed the same, moving some from one person to another. This is extraction. People don’t like extractive narratives, so they tell the story of how one person’s stock increased. They don’t tell you where it came from. Did it come from an overall increase in everyone’s stock or by extracting it from one person’s stock?

A straightforward calculation of the total amount in everyone’s stock is to look at the Total Value Generated for those involved in the ecosystem of the interaction. Sum up the stocks of all those involved at time zero. Sum up all of the stocks at time one. Is the value generated in each person’s greater? Is the total sum of the value generated greater? If yes, then everyone involved in the interaction is better off. If no, then someone gained at the other’s expense.

It is often challenging to know which scenario is playing out in a story you are being told. More value generated for all or extracted from some for others. Often this is because they are telling you about specific inflows or outflows or stocks, and not about the net effect on all involved. An easy way to do this is to talk about outputs instead of outcomes or impacts. This is what we did, our output. It hides what happened, the outcome, what that did, the impact of the net effect on everyone involved in the interaction.

Northwestern professor Gillespie and Harvard professor Bazerman formulate this as parasitic integration, where a win-win agreement contains losers. The net effect of the interaction is lopsided. Someone gains from the others. It might be a win-win for some, but not for all.

By asking the question of the Total Value Generated, you are providing a principle that suggests that a person’s actions within any ecosystem can leave the whole ecosystem better off. Instead of accepting the narrative of how someone is better off because she made lots of money, you can ask the question of whether she is better off because what she did increased the value for everyone involved.

This could change your understanding of what actually happened. Did you buy the food because it was cheap, or was the food cheap because the people doing the work were underpaid and the quality of the food was very low? Or was the food cheap because the company figured out how to profitably pay the workers well for high quality food, in a way that was less expensive to you. Were you and the company lopsidedly better off, while the workers were not, or was everyone better off?

By measuring the Total Value Generated, you can look at the Value Generated for each person (the net effect on their stock of their inflows and outflows) and for the whole of those people involved in the ecosystem. If the Value Generated for each increases, they are all better off because of what you did. A more efficient interaction.

The NocHoIce Placebo — You Might Have Just Been Given One, and How to Counteract It

You know about medical placebos. That is when they give you a sugar pill instead of the real thing. Medical research uses the placebo to see if the real thing actually has the intended effect, or it was something else that did it. They do this by giving you something that has no medicinal value, a placebo.

Placebos are used in a lot of places, not just in medicine. The word “placebo” comes from the Latin for “I shall please.”  Is that really a thought you had (the real thing), or did someone else put it there (the sugar pill)?  That is the thinking sugar pill (cognitiva placebo).  Do you really like your friend or love your partner, or did someone lead to you feel that?  That is the feeling sugar pill (emotive placebo).  Are you really get nutrients out of that food or the caffeine out of that coffee, or did someone give you a sugar pill, masquerading for an incomprehensible list of ingredients?  That is the biological sugar pill (biological placebo).  Is that a real door you are knocking on, or is it a Pauli-exclusion-principle space you cannot pass through?  That is the material sugar pill (materia placebo).  Placebos are everywhere.  Are you getting the real thing or a sugar pill, something with no actual value?

You probably took a NocHoIce placebo recently.  Did you get the real thing, or a sugar pill?   The thinking, feeling, biological, and material are all ways that you relate to and make sense out of your experience.  You know this.  You create a story, in your head, of how the world really works.  While as humans we don’t actually know how most things in the world actually work, we are really good at knowing that they do work.  [For example, physicists don’t know what time actually is, just that it works, relatively.]  We humans can also be good at knowing, from our own experience, whether we are experiencing a placebo or the real thing.

You have multiple ways of sensing what is happening.  In your thinking, your feeling, your sensory perception.  These are different systems that you can use to perceive and differentiate what is real and what is a placebo.  Integrating these different systems gives you a fuller perception of what is happening.

When you are NOT pay attention, you might be accepting the NocHoIce placebo (non election placebo). You are letting someone else use your attention.  To counteract the NocHoIce placebo, you already have what you need.  You have the YesChoice.  It is in your thoughts, your feelings, your intentions, your biology, your matter.  You can see the NocHoIce placebo and choose reality with your YesChoice.

What Should I Measure? What Am I Measuring? Inputs, Outputs, Outcomes, Impacts?

You are NOT measuring what you want. You want your efforts to do something, to mean something. You give your will towards a future you love. When you don’t consciously choose how you engage your will, your creativity, your efforts, your attention, you feel disengaged, like most of the people seem to feel most of the time at work. If you want your efforts to have an impact, then measure your efforts and their impact.

What are you actually measuring? Your impact? Probably not. Lots of research on evaluation shows that most people are measuring inputs or outputs. Not outcomes and impacts.

Two questions. What is the difference? Does it matter? There is a difference, and it does matter. In fact, What You Measure Is What You Pay Attention To (WYMIWYPAT — pronounced “wimy why pat”).

What is the difference? First of all, you get resources to do something that impacts someone else. In organization-speak, you engage and accumulate assets, which you transform into a service or product that others want. In the figure below, there are inputs that flow into the Asset Accumulation, and there are outputs that flow out. These outputs of resources generate outcomes, within the organization, which have impacts for the recipients outside of the organization. [Here are OECD definitions of these terms.]

Differentiating Inflows, Outflows, Outcomes, Impacts

Does it matter? What are you measuring? Most people are measuring INPUTS. Their story is about the number of people they have working, the number of service offices they have, the number of products they have, the inventory available. We are a 12,000-member company with 450 fully-stocked storefronts in 210 communities, providing dozens of services.

Some people tell a narrative about their OUTPUTS. The number of hours worked, the number of meals served, the number of units sold.  Last year, with 120,000 hours of service, we provided 234,000 meals to 56,000 elderly in 700 communities.

With a famous example, you can focus on the number of drills you have (inputs), the number of drills sold (outputs), the sustainability of the profits from the drills sold (outcomes), or the holes drilled (impacts). The famous question is whether the customer wants the drill or the hole that the drill makes.

The main point is that what gets your attention gets your intention. Where you focus is where you act. If you really want your efforts to make a difference, if you want your work to mean something, then you need the feedback from the impacts your efforts have. You need to measure impacts. To be able to adjust what you are doing (outputs), and how well you are doing it (outcomes), you can also measure your outputs and outcomes. To know what resources you need for those activities, you can also measure inputs. The inputs, outputs, and outcomes are in service to your impacts. Understanding them can help you evolve what you do and how you do it to achieve the impacts you want. This gives your efforts meaning, and the ability to evolve your capacity to serve that meaning.

Your choice is to think about how you measure that meaning, the impact of your efforts, in terms of the recipient. Then you can choose how to assess what you do and how you do it to achieve those efforts, on an on-going manner, to continuously improve, to evolve. It is your choice.

How to Talk with Lower-Engagement Leaders

Your way of making sense of the world is clearly useful. It seems to work for you. You got this far. Then you meet people who just don’t see the world as clearly as you do. They seem to see it differently.

While there are many explanations for differences in worldview (different cultures, different languages, different life experiences), one difference we have found to be critical is in what you perceive to be real. Your level of perceived reality.

Do you tend to see reality as that which you can touch? Mostly it is what is directly right here right now, often in quite material terms. That’s real. Or do you also include how things ebb and flow over time, how people develop in new capacities and relationships? It’s about the material and the dynamics of networks of influence. That’s real. Or do you also include the potential you and others see in what is not yet here, in the creative arts? It’s about the outcomes and the learning and the potential. That’s real. Or do you also include the learning from feedback of what actually happens, and how that informs the potential you see, in service to a deeper purpose, and pathways to getting there. It’s about evolutionary co-tangibilizing. That’s real. It turns out that these are four very different perspectives of what is real. And, most people think that theirs is the right and only one, in any given moment. At each of these four levels, you are adding dimensions of reality.

Our global survey research, with over 100,000 people from 125 countries, finds that there is a distribution of people, across these four perspectives of what is real. And, the same people might vary what they perceive to be real depending on the group they are with, the group’s agreements field–how the group engages, transforms, and transfers creative energy.

Communicating with someone who is working with a different perspective of what is real, along this continuum, is very challenging. If you perceive more of reality to exist than they do, they don’t necessarily see you as stronger, rather weaker. That their reality doesn’t include dimensions that yours does means that you are focusing on things that are invisible or irrelevant to them. Those dimensions you find to be so interested are not in their equation.

Here is a 4-step process to communicating with someone with a different perspective of what is real.

Step #1 — Where You Are. The first step to communicating with someone with a different perspective of what is real is to determine where you are, what you include in your perspective of reality. In very simple terms, you can think of these as nouns-only, verbs-nouns, light-verbs-nouns, and ecosystems of sacred hospitality levels of reality.

  • Nouns-only — there are things, mostly material, that are right here right now
  • Verb-nouns — there are things, and there is change over time and space
  • Light-verbs-nouns — there are things, change, and always-present creative potential
  • Ecosystems of sacred hospitality — there are things, change, creative potential, all in an ever-evolving service to a deeper shared purpose

Step #2 — Where They Are. The second step is to determine where they are. How does the person you are communicating with see the world? What do they include in what they perceive to be real?

Step #3 — Understand How They See You from Their Reality. The other person can only see you and your reality from their reality. If your reality has more dimensions than theirs, they don’t see that. Often your attention to and inclusion of these other dimensions creates confusion for them. You are talking about things that are not in their definition of what is real, which usually is interpreted by them as a weakness. What you are going on and on about isn’t real.

The following table provides a first scan of what each perspective of reality experiences when communicating with someone from one of the other perspectives. This is based on what we observe when working with people across levels.

Perceived RealityN SeesVN SeesLVN SeesESH Sees
Ecosystems of Sacred Hospitality (ESH)High-risk explorersLack of alignment on agreed purposeShifting purposeComprehensive clarity (purposeful evolution)
Light-Verbs-Nouns (LVN)Lack of clear focus (high risk ventures)Lack of applying learningsComprehensive clarity (tangibilization)Beingness
Verbs-Nouns (VN)Inefficient, always experimentingComprehensive clarity (learning)Stuck in own thinkingBecoming
Noun-only (N)Comprehensive clarity (efficiency)Static surprise from dynamicsCollapsed in outcomesAlready finished

If they are coming from a perspective with fewer dimensions of perceived reality than you–for example, they see Nouns-only (N) and you see Verbs-Nouns (VN)–they see your focus on learning and developing new capacities and relationships as being inefficient. You are always experimenting with something new, never focused on what you have already done. Always moving on to the next thing and not leveraging what you already have.

Step #4 — How to Communicate with Them. To communicate with them, you are trying to invite them into a reality, yours, that is not part of their reality. It works best to start with remembering what they see as real. If you are a verb-noun-reality person, you might be most excited about sharing your focus on the learning, the verbs. To you the importance of the nouns is obvious and already proven, so you are focused on how to improve on what you already know. To communicate with the Nouns-only person, start by showing that you can speak their language, in their reality. Yes, you have nouns, which you have proven to be efficient. You have outcomes. You are efficient. Now you can ask, what if we could have even more-efficient nouns? You are introducing verbs-nouns dimensions of reality, in terms that a Nouns-only reality can begin to perceive. Focusing only on your leading-edge understanding of the cool features of learning and developing sounds to them like you are not grounded. Stay grounded and add the benefits of some verbs.

This logic works all the way up through the ESH levels. Start with what they can see as real in your world. Then you can begin to see if they might see the value of beginning to add dimensions of the next level.

What do you do if you are communicating with someone whose reality includes higher dimensions than yours? You might be working with a Verbs-Nouns (VN) reality, while they appear to be working from an LVN or ESH level. You might perceive that they can see things you can’t. You can invite them to share what they see. It is most helpful if you clarify with them that it is most useful to you if they can explain it first in terms you can understand–in verbs and nouns. Then they can begin to show you the value of adding dimensions from LVN or ESH. The point is to communicate with others. If you experience that you want to communicate with someone else and that it seems like you are talking about completely different things, while still in relatively the same context, maybe you are assuming different levels of perceived reality. Ask. See if you can get to a shared understanding at the Nouns-only level. Then you can try the Verbs-Nouns level, and so on.

The good news is that we all have all of these levels of perceived reality within us, so we can access all four of these levels of perceived reality. And, the agreements we tend to work with in some groups exclude some of them, making communication difficult. Since you already have the dimensions within you, you can still access them and ask the question. It is your choice.

Go Do Your BIG YES!

Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Various people have attributed this insight to Howard Thurman.

I suggest that you have a big YES! within you. If you look, you will find it. You know when you are aligned with it, when you are in your creative flow. And you know when you are not in it, when your creative energy, your desire to engage and contribute is being extinguished. It is your Yes!, and you are the only who can contribute it in your specific way.

To Maximize Inequality, Collapsing Any Lens (EPCS) Will Do — To Maximize Equality, Requires All 4 Lenses

The crises of the moment, the crises of the century, and the crises of humanity’s evolutionary state all point at the challenges and impacts of structural inequality.  While lots of people are working on this now, many have been working on it for a long time, probably since the beginning of humanity.  To this huge challenge, we add two observations from ecosynomics about what might create structural inequality and what might exist when people experience deep equality.

To maximize inequality, collapsing any lens (EPCS) will do.  To maximize equality requires all 4 lenses.

Inequality.  When you experience a collapse of your agreements to one of deep scarcity, you experience deep inequality. We find that to get to the experience of deep scarcity, all you have to do is collapse the agreements, which you can do by simply collapsing any of the four lenses on agreements: the economic; political; cultural; or social. When any one of these perspectives (lenses) collapses, the whole field of the agreements collapses.  Focus only on tangible resources and take them away [economic collapse].  For decision making and enforcement, regulate to one individual or a small group, who gets to decide and who has the power to enforce [political collapse].  For values, mandate values that submit to the values of the power holder [cultural collapse].  For the rules of the game, focus on efficiency in achieving only the powerholder’s values [social collapse].  If you know this, then stopping the collapse is straightforward. Maybe not easy, but clear. To stop collapse, see the move and counter it, taking away its strength. Make visible other available resources, keep decisionmaking power for others, remind people of other values they also have, increase the rules of the game to include serving other stakeholders.

Equality. While you can focus on one lens to collapse agreements, maximizing equality requires all 4 lenses. In the past 17 years of applying the ecosynomics of abundance-based agreements in 40+ countries, in all sectors, and surveying the experience people have in their agreements across 125 countries, we have hundreds, and now maybe thousands, of examples of groups living the experience of high equality every day, often for decades. We have not found a single one of these groups where they are only strong as seen through one of the four lenses. What you see through all four lenses is high. Through the economic lens, they are clear that they access vast resources in their own potential, in continuous developing capacities and relationships, and in evolving with the feedback they receive from the outcomes they achieve. They are very high performing groups. Through the political lens, decisions are made and supported based on the primary relationship most relevant to the decision, whether it is for the self, other, group, nature’s creative process, or spirit’s source of creativity. The power to decide interweaves these five primary relationships. Through the cultural lens, values include the potential in the individuals and the group, in service to its deeper shared purpose, as well as the developing of capacities and relationships, and the outcomes that provide learning and fruit for the next period. Through the social lens, the principles guiding their interactions focus on the deeper shared purpose as the organizing principle, engaging each necessary participant’s unique contributions, as they develop, deliver, and evolve along the way. These groups we have found represent local government, run textile mills, generate local electricity, provide community health, teach kids, and plant vegetables. They are normal people, living deep equality, everywhere.

Maybe we could learn from groups already living deep equality in ecologies of sacred hospitality. They are living abundance-based approaches to the economic, political, cultural, and social questions. All at the same time.

Groups that try to work on just one of these 4 questions at a time never make it. It seems to not be just an economic question, or just a political question, or just a cultural question, or just a social question. Deep equality seems to require an abundance-based response to all four questions, at the same time. And, lots of people have figured this out. Let’s find more of these groups, and learn with them.

It’s Your Health, You Decide

Most of us give over the decisions about our health to someone else. Decisions about what we should eat, what exercise we should do, and how we should respond to getting sick. Essentially, what to put in our bodies, how to move our bodies, and how to fix our bodies when they are not working right. It is a lot to understand, and there are experts who have studied all of this, so we should just do what they say. Right?

Maybe. Partially. As famed physician and author Atul Gawande asks in his book Being Mortal, why are we asking technicians to decide moral questions for us? While they are very highly trained technicians, medical professionals can help us get to the state we want for our bodies, but that requires that somebody decide what that desired state is, and Dr. Gawande suggests that we are the ones to decide that for ourselves.

What are we supposed to decide for ourselves and where might we depend on experts? Easy. If we understand that we are assessing 4 different things. 3 of these are ours to decide, for ourselves. Experts can help guide us with 1 of them. We need to know (1) our actual state, how we are actually doing, (2) our desired state, what we want our health to look like, (3) the gap–the difference–between the actual and desired states, and (4) what to do to close the gap. We have to understand our actual health, in comparison with the health we actually want for ourselves, and what we can do to move towards the health we choose.

There are infinite suggestions about the life you should lead. Most of us don’t follow most of these suggestions. Someone out there tells us not to, but some people like to eat meat or carbs, walk on busy streets or late at night, eat from street vendors or in local dives, smoke, complain, jump out of airplanes and off of cliffs, swim with sharks, drink sweet soda drinks or alcohol, or sit on the couch all day. These are all things that some expert says is bad for us. And, lots of us like to do some of these things. That might be what leads to a life well lived. The problem then might not be what we choose to do or how we choose to live our lives, rather in what we do about what happens along the way.

To know what to do, to maintain our health or strengthen it, we need to know the standard of health we want, where we are right now, and what we can do to close the gap between the two. Information from technology and experts can support us in understanding what our desired state of health looks like and how to measure it (e.g., pulse rate, muscle strength, clean thoughts, no headaches), how to assess our current level of health with similar measures, and what we can do to alter our current state. If you want to be able to have stronger legs, these different forms of exercise might work for you, depending on what you like to do. Swimming, walking, lifting weights, squats. Here are the measures, the possible actions, and now you can assess and decide. It’s your choice–what you want, where you are, and what you can do to get where you want. If this is what you want to do (see the long list above), these are the consequences that you live with, and what you can do to ameliorate the impacts.

To be able to make this shift in mindset, from leaving it to others to decide to deciding for yourself, it is helpful to clarify how you think about your health. To you, what is your “original state” and what is “normal”? Let’s look at this question for your physical health and then your mental and social health.

YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH

There exist 2 very different perspectives on your physical health. Where you start from will greatly determine what you do and what you achieve. One perspective is that you start with your “original state.” The other perspective is that you start from a “normal state.”

Your original state. The body you were given is a miracle. While it has been studied forever, we still have very little understanding of how it does what it does. It is born, with you in it. It grows. For half of us, it makes babies and milk for babies. For the other half, it makes seeds for babies. It grows older. It grows stronger. It fights diseases and fixes wounds. It dies. That’s a lot. In your original state, you have a very high functioning physical state, doing a huge amount in every single instant, over a whole lifetime, and this is normal. Lower than this is pathological. For some reason, in this whole universe of infinite energy, we exist as Homo lumens, as natural beings. Our body is created, grows, strengthens, and procreates, without our conscious awareness or design. And, our awareness and design influence what we do with this energy-flowing structure-energy-field we are given. It is a very complex system that is made to work at a high level of performance (efficiency and effectiveness, leveraging small inputs into sustainable, resilient outputs for all systems, in all parts of the body, at all times). This is our given state, a state that our lack of understanding and awareness “normally” degrades. This is our “original state.”

Your normal state. From a “normal state” view of the world, we look at what is normal for people, what the standard distribution of people do. From this perspective, low levels of health are fine. Higher is nicer. We expect people to be in poor health, because that is what we find, normally. We make conscious choices and accept unconscious conditions that work against our body instead of with it. Just think of the obesity epidemic, chronic disease years-of-life lost, and the high levels of malnutrition we accept around the globe. With a world of water and plants, we allow vast amounts of people to die from dehydration and malnutrition. With easily-scalable high technology, we allow many people to die early from easily avoidable conditions (dirty air, dirty water, contaminated food, communicable disease). After all, this low state of health is what we see in lots of people, so it is “normal.” Better than normal is nice. This is our “normal state.”

YOUR MENTAL, SOCIAL HEALTH

We see the same for your mental and social health. The World Health Organization suggests that health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. As with our physical health, the same two perspectives apply to our mental and social health—and “original state“ and a “normal state“ view. Which do you choose? Your original, given state or what is normal amongst others? Your “original,” given state of intense creativity, passion, and will to engage in creating a future to which you give your love, in your own, unique ways, every day? Or your “normal state” of being disengaged and apathetic about what actually happens?

You decide and you assess. Here are a few quick, easy tools for measuring your own state of health, using instruments my colleagues and I have developed and tested over the past two decades in over 125 countries. All of these well-tested, validated measures are available for free online—I provide the link to them. You can use them as you wish for yourself. If you would like help in understanding or applying these tools to your own health, feel free to contact me.

The “You Choose” Plan.

  1. You choose your standard of physical, mental, and social health
  2. You asses your actual levels
  3. You determine the gap
  4. You choose the actions to take

Experts and expert tools can help you assess these, and they can help you setup a continuous monitoring scorecard system, to bring you greater resilience for when things happen. It is a choice. Your choice.

It’s Perfect. Whose Perfection?

Your perfection. It turns out that when each of us says something is perfect, we might mean completely different things.

Perfect. From the Latin perfectus “completed, excellent, accomplished, exquisite,” from per “completely” + combining form of facere “to make, to do.” To make complete. Complete what? That depends on how you define the “what” that you are completing.

From an ecosynomic perspective, we observe three levels of perceived reality (nouns, verbs, possibility). Depending on the levels of perceived reality you are working with, you will define perfection differently.

  • Noun-only Reality. When you consider only the observable facts right in front of you right now–the nouns you have–perfection means that what is already known and already here is complete. You know what completeness looks like, because it is given to you in the book. Whatever book contains the received wisdom you prefer. You can assess, from that received wisdom, the current state of something, whether it is complete or not, whether it is perfect or not. If it is, you are right.
  • Verb-and-noun Reality. When you consider what is observable right now, as well as the ebb and flow of inputs and outputs over time, perfection is measured against the standard of the living nature of the thing, of the stability of the net dynamics of its state over time. You set this standard based on what you have learned from received wisdom, as well as from what is happening in the context you are in right now. If it is on the right course, you are correct.
  • Possibility-and-verb-and-noun Reality. When you consider what is observable right now, the ebb and flow, and the potential you can access, your standard for perfection is in your capacity to close the gap between your actual state and the state that you are here to see realized, the desired level that aligns your efforts with your deeper purpose. You set this standard based on received wisdom and what you are learning and in the potential you can see, accessing all of the creativity you can perceive. If it is aligning with purpose, you are in service.

Perfection. Making complete. It all depends on the standard you are perfecting towards. It all depends on how you define your reality. On the dimensions of reality you choose to include. Perfect.