1.16. Step 1: Wrapup

Getting in the right frame of mind is the first step to creating real, lasting social change because our state of mind sets the tone for everything we do.

Getting in the right frame of mind is the first step to creating real, lasting social change because our state of mind sets the tone for everything we do.

There’s no shortage of people who want to change things. But there is a shortage of real, lasting change out there. And a big reason why is because it’s really, really hard nowadays to stay in a positive, productive frame of mind.

It’s easier to stay in that optimal state of mind if you look at all the ways things are set up to knock you out of it.

It’s not your fault if you feel apathetic, cynical, angry, frustrated, depressed, disappointed, or overwhelmed about everything that’s going on. All those reactions are totally natural and understandable.

We have bitterly divided, dysfunctional politics. A socioeconomic system that intentionally cultivates cutthroat competition. A media that makes money off of our fear. A story of America’s meteoric rise that makes us expect a fall. A rapidly globalizing, changing world that makes us either desperately want to slow things down, or desperately want to catch up. We have demanding daily lives that tempt us to disengage from the rest of the world. And above all, we have our vicious and worsening ideological struggles among our sciences, philosophies, political parties, and religions, that seem to consume everything they touch.

All that stuff is intended to knock you off your game. All that stuff is intended to make you unproductive, to throw away your energy into efforts that won’t go anywhere—or even perpetuate this mess.

I’m not saying we should be coldly rational or blindly positive. That isn’t going to do any good either.

But I guarantee that it’s the courageous, resilient folks who stay in a positive, productive frame of mind—in spite of all these forces conspiring to knock us all out of it—who are going to be the ones to lead the way out of this mess. I hope you’ll be one of them.

The next thing we need to do is take stock.

We need to get our heads around what’s happening to us, and how we got into this mess, so we can then figure out how to get out of it.

There are already a bunch of competing stories out there about that—and most of them are way too simplistic, and really designed to be flattering to whichever organization or group is promoting it, so they can say everything they support is right and everything their opponents support is wrong.

I have a different story, based on my knowledge and training in sociology.

It’s bigger in scope, explains things those narrow, self-serving stories can’t—and most importantly, leads to several important conclusions about how we can really make things better.

Starting next week, that’s the story I’ll be telling.

 

This is the 28th in a series of over 150 videos about how to create real, lasting social change. Click here for a list of all titles, videos, and transcripts.

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