It Ain’t Over Until It’s Over – A Karma Sense Update

Executive Summary

This is another in a series of Karma Sense Eating Plan updates. This week’s theme revolves around the deep-but-confusing wisdom of a true Renaissance man, Yogi Berra. He was introduced into relevance to the Karma Sense Eating Plan when I force-fit him into the description of the Plan component. I believe it is more than coincidence that ever since then, one of his former teams, my beloved New York Mets, are on a tear. They swept two series in a row and now are in first place in the National League East.

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So in hopes of keeping that mojo alive, here is a Karma Sense Eating Plan Update, Yogi-style.

You Can Observe A Lot By Watching

To the extent possible, the Karma Sense Eating Plan is an evidence-based lifestyle for achieving better health, happiness, and, oh yeah, saving the world. Being evidence-based proved to be really difficult when it comes to the Karma component and I whined about the lack of available research in that post. I am not giving up. Now that I’m working on the book, I’m trying to dig deeper into that aspect. I simply can’t go around saying “Trust me, do the Karma thing and you will help save the world.” Even though it seems like common sense (a critical feature of Karma Sense) to me, there are plenty who still believe that “Nice guys finish last” (Not said by Yogi Berra.)

This struggle continues but I’ve uncovered two studies that are steps in the right direction. In this first study, scientists looked at teacher assessments of kindergarten students and their ability to get along with others (e.g. sharing, helping, etc.) They then compared that to how well they performed academically and socially 13-19 years later. They found that being nice in kindergarten was a strong predictor of future success.

In another study, researchers rated CEOs of public companies on their narcissism and found that bombastic CEOs did not perform any better or worse than their more modest peers. While this isn’t a ringing endorsement for “Nice guys finish last” it doesn’t prove the opposite either. It simply implies that there are many more factors at play and that you don’t need to be a selfish jerk to succeed.

Despite the dearth of conclusive evidence, I remain a believer that a mass wave of good deeds can save the world. Remember, the Karma Sense Eating Plan is not asking you to be perfect. In fact, Adam Grant wrote a book called Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success that focuses specifically on this aspect of good Karma. Using both research and anecdotal evidence, he makes the case that “Givers” fare better in the long run than “Takers”. But he also confirms that people who always give are not successful “givers”, they’re “doormats.”

The Karma Sense Eating Plan does not ask you to be a giver or taker to reap the benefits. The only thing it asks is that you try to do one new and intentional good deed per day. It doesn’t constrain the definition of a good deed in any way. It depends on your definition. KSEP operates under the belief that with enough people doing daily new and intentional good deeds, we will save the world, crowdsource style.

The Future is Not What it Used to Be (Misattributed)

One “food” getting a lot of buzz, especially with tech entrepreneurs is “Soylent“. Soylent is promoted by its vendor as “Simple, healthy, affordable food”. Note the lack of any adjectives synonymous with “delicious”.  In fact, it’s designed to be very neutral in flavor. Soylent is a beverage that contains a perfect balance of calories, macronutrients, and micronutrients so that theoretically you could survive (as opposed to “thrive”) by drinking a weight-dependent 3-5 servings per day.

Many in the Silicon Valley and others of that ilk consider it the future of food. It contains a sustainable mixture of ingredients so I would agree from that standpoint. Its global footprint is pretty light. It also allows busy people to get essential nutrition without competing with the important work of developing the next version of Candy Crush Saga. But if this is the future of food, we are looking at a very dystopian version.

Let’s begin with the name. Here is what the website says:

Our name was inspired by Harry Harrison’s 1966 science fiction novel Make Room! Make Room!, which explores the impact massive population growth could have on world resources. In the book, “soylent” is made of soy and lentils and is a new food source used to accommodate overpopulation.

But when I first hear the word “Soylent” I think of “Soylent Green”, a 1973 film starring Charlton Heston. The surprise ending makes an undesirable association to the word “Soylent” that I would think the manufacturer of the real product would prefer to avoid. I don’t want to be accused of issuing a spoiler so if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t intend to, you can skip to the ending via this video link here. Otherwise, trust me. You don’t want to eat the film version of Soylent.

From the standpoint of consuming Soylent as a part of a Karma Sense lifestyle, it certainly conforms to the Eating component. However, some adjustments might be necessary to conform with specific goals such as weight loss. But Karma Sense also advises you to enjoy your meal and to be intentional and mindful about your eating. A Soylent lifestyle seems contrary to that. It seems to ignore the social and spiritual aspects of food.

I haven’t tried Soylent because its focus is on the mechanics of nutrition and ignores that bigger picture. I simply love real food and the associated ritual too much. But to be fair, I should give it a try. The only way to know for sure is to find some willing subjects to engage in a social meal of Soylent and conversation. Anyone game for that? Until then, if Soylent is the future of food, then the future is not what it used to be.

It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

I’m full steam ahead on writing the Karma Sense Eating Plan book. In the meantime, I’ll continue to post KSEP related information I come across because I’m a big blabber mouth and can’t hold secrets until the book comes out. Furthermore, KSEP is an open source lifestyle for achieving better health, happiness and for saving the world. It contains nothing proprietary (or artificial – except perhaps for my sense of humor.) Many of the topics I cover come from questions or comments I get in response to what I post. If you want me to cover a topic, I’m taking requests.

My motivation for writing continues to be my own enjoyment of the process as well as the feedback I get from you. You may remember from this post that part of my inspiration for my prolific writing was this fortune I got with a Chinese dinner:
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I chose to take this as a sign even though this compliment on my communication style was itself so poorly worded.

Well, it’s been three months since I had Chinese food and earlier this week we engaged in another meal. There were 4 of us at dinner, but the restaurant gave us 5 cookies. I was packing up the leftovers and cleaning up the kitchen while the rest of our crew were relaxing at the table (it was good Karma). One by one they picked and read their fortunes.  There were two left. I made my choice and here is what it said:

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Clearly someone is trying to tell me something. It was Déjà Vu all over again.

Meanwhile, that night, the Mets won 5-1. Thanks, Yogi.

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