The shape of the world around us isn’t great at the moment. A lot of things that should be right are wrong.
That shape comes from how people act, and that comes from how they think, and that comes from their worldview – from deep attitudes to information they just picked up. And that comes from the messages that swirl around them. It’s like the atmosphere for our brains. We breathe it in and out without realising.
There’s a lot of pollution in that atmosphere. A lot of outdated attitudes, fear-driven behaviour and self-interested spin. A lot of people have got caught up in those things, and then they try to spread them and defend them to make themselves right.
We need fresh air to counter that. Messages of compassion, empathy, insight, inspiration, collaboration. Telling us that there really are better possibilities, for ourselves and our fellow humans and our world, and that we really can head that way.
If people can catch a breath of that fresh air, maybe they can find a way through the fog. If it happens enough, amazing things can happen and the small scale can build into a bigger scale.
I want – and have wanted for thirty years – big, decisive change. But the people with access to those levers, for the most part, have been invested in stopping them being pulled. Because getting into the lever room is much easier for people rooted in establishment connections and positional power. Meanwhile, others have been creating change by making connections at the small level – building up slowly, gaining purchase in the world and eventually reaching tipping points. (I wrote about this kind of stuff in ‘Crowd/Control’, if you’re interested.)
So if we want change, the most logical thing to do is put energy into the small-scale stuff. Like the tide climbing up a beach, each wave takes us a little further.
Helping people get more in touch with their wellbeing and power is not ‘just’ coaching or therapy: it’s a multiplier for whatever action their heart wants to take. Building vibrant ethical businesses is like creating new nerve pathways for the mind and body of society. Community campaigns and projects are an immune system to strengthen our shared values against threats.
So whatever good things you can throw into the mix, keep throwing them. This right here is why I go on about messages. If we can get out from behind our introvert personalities, lack of clarity, internal resistance, social media awkwardness, substandard websites, or whatever else we’ve got going on – then our breath of fresh air can reach people, and perhaps pass from one to the next. Practicality and agency go hand in hand.
It can be tough, and there will be limits to how much you can do at once while looking after yourself. But whatever message you’re carrying for us, keep feeding it in and keep working on it to make the pulse stronger.
This post originally appeared on the Words That Change The World site.