10 Ways to Change the Conversation

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What we focus on grows and enables us to transform the conversations happening around us. Many optimists have already planted seeds of goodness around us in our local towns, states and all across the country. With inspiration from their stories, and a sincere belief that life is good, we can all help cultivate positivity.

Practicing a positive mindset to counter the daily doses of negativity we read and hear requires a plan. We are here to help. Life is Good co-founders Bert and John Jacobs created a list of 10 superpowers that are accessible to all of us in their book “Life is Good: How to Live with Purpose and Enjoy the Ride” to guide readers on ways to stay positive and spread goodness. Join us in following these 10 superpowers to change the conversation and #GROWtheGood.

Openness

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The traits that make each person unique are part of what make life so good. Our distinctive life stories vary infinitely and shape the ways we make sense of the world around us. To be open is to unlock your mind and shake loose your predispositions and fears. The next time you are speaking to someone with an opposite belief or opinion, you have an opportunity to learn where that contrary perspective stems from. There’s plenty of room for different opinions – asking, “Yes, and?” may reveal that we are all walking on surprisingly common ground.

Travel is a powerful way to find your openness: when you’re somewhere new, whether it is a neighboring state or halfway across the globe, foreign attitudes or customs may not align with your own. It is in this personal discomfort you will find that opening your mind to new ideas can refresh your point of view. When we start to focus and understand one another, we gain not only the ability, but a penchant to find common ground and grow goodness.

Susan in New York is inspired by her husband Walter, whom she says spent his life compassionately helping friends and strangers alike.

Courage

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The conversation cannot be changed without small acts of courage. To make our world a more positive place, we need brave people, the risk-takers, who will boldly stand up for what is good and carry that courageous goodness – or good courageousness – with them. It may be easier to look around and ask others what they are doing, but as Michael Jackson would say, “How about the man (or woman) in the mirror?” What are you doing?

Fear is a powerful emotion: whether you’re experiencing a sense of self-doubt, rejection or uncertainty, finding the courage to do what is good can feel daunting. But when you take the leap to spread goodness in your community – whether it is volunteering, speaking out about a problem or cause, launching a new initiative or reaching out for help – you will find a little bit of courage can go a long way.

Allison from Massachusetts writes how her husband Michael has lived his life to the fullest after nearly drowning at sea in a nor’easter.

Simplicity

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Unplug. When you take a moment to observe the few, truly significant parts of your life, everything else becomes secondary. The most important aspects of living, what shape your memories and bring you joy, are not “things.” They are people, or dreams and experiences. Maybe it is your family, friends and home, or perhaps your drive to explore, meet new people and travel. We can simplify to find our roots and grow goodness not only in our own lives, but in the lives of those around us. 

Keep it simple. When you take a moment to truly experience and revel in all the good growing around you, your internal monologue will become a positive conversation.

In this Maryland Good Story, Tammy writes that despite a dramatic life change at the young age of nine, her niece always chooses optimism and to cherish the simple things.

Humor

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For every bad story you hear, there is an equally funny one waiting to be shared. Humor relieves us of stress, sadness and other manifestations of negativity. When we tell a joke, we escape the trap of taking life too seriously and pass the secret onto others. Laughter is a universal language that can transcend cultures and initiate friendships.

Try countering something negative you read on social media or hear at work with something good. Break up a gloomy Facebook feed with your favorite Monty Python sketch. Humor is grease for the wheels that keeps someone rolling through the bumps in the road.

For her birthday, one Nebraska woman decided to choose humor and fun over greed by leaving a hidden surprise for hikers and bikers on a nature trail.

Gratitude

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Thank and compliment the next person you encounter. Small interactions make an enormous difference in someone’s day (especially if they’re at work!), and it’s contagious. That person will be kinder to the next person they see, who will be kinder to the next person they see, and so on. Gratitude is like a light switch to change the conversation.

This Georgia mom explains how her daughter has taught her to focus on the good everyday.

Fun

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The place where negativity disappears, fun emerges. Excitement is infectious: when you allow yourself to have fun, you can pass the good vibes along to others, generating more positivity and openness. Though there are many moments in life that are not fun, we can always make it a goal to find our optimism.

Take a dance break and breakdance! Or tango, sway, even bop your head up and down –whatever your style may be, taking the time to reconnect with that goofy kid inside can make stress a lot less stressful. When the energy in the room is fun, the conversation will follow its lead.

This Texas “super cop” found a way to engage his inner-child while positively impacting children with cancer and illness. Read how this policeman has found his own way to radiate fun and good vibes to those who need it most.

Compassion

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Everyone you meet is fighting his or her own battle, and you have the option to help. We can find our own compassion by helping others through small acts of thoughtfulness. Instead of saying we live in an unkind world, we have the capacity to positively impact those who are suffering most. By donating a small amount of what we have, we can all shape a better future for the most vulnerable people in our society.

If we take action in even the smallest way, whether it be volunteering, buying someone a cup of coffee, or planting a tree, we can make good news for the real people on the other side of all the negative news.

This Michigan teacher exemplifies compassion by going beyond conventional lessons: Janet believes you have to “reach them to teach them,” spreading extra love and encouragement to connect with her students and special needs children.

Creativity

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You do not need to be an artist to find your creativity. Find what puts your mind at ease – coloring, innovating, coding, cooking, music – and channel your creative energy into it. In a world of digital sharing, you have the option to connect with fellow enthusiasts, or you can keep your creations all to yourself. The ingenuity that lies within every person provides a bridge for us to connect to one another.

Get your friends in on the creativity. Challenge them to add their own flair and pass it along – making something beautiful together is a much better use of our gadgets.

Cory from Arizona has not let Asperger’s Syndrome deter him from fusing together two of his favorite passions: dogs and drawing. Watch his inspiring story to learn how creativity helped him find his favorite activity.

Authenticity

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Standing up for your beliefs is not an easy task – but it is a necessary one if we are to change the conversation. Your core moral compass will guide you where your authentic self needs to go. Every superpower works in tandem with the others, and especially so with authenticity. To stay true to yourself does not excuse you of being open, compassionate and grateful. When we stop worrying and fussing over what others think, and who it is we are ‘supposed to be,’ we find ourselves. Authenticity lies where our best selves meet our real selves, where we are not afraid to defend goodness.

At your next social event, ask everyone to go around the room and share one thing they love about where they’re from and one thing they love about where they are now. When we reflect on our past experiences, we gain perspective on our future goals. A positive forecast makes our collective future less stormy.

Tammy operated a restaurant in Kansas, but had a larger ambition in mind. Read how her vision to create an inpatient women’s substance abuse treatment center became a reality that has transformed lives.

Love

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Love is the mightiest of the superpowers. It holds the potential to change the world, if we channel it properly. The choice to spread love and happiness does not only brighten others’ days, but can provide a deep sense of self-fulfillment. When we express love through our day-to-day interactions, we foster positivity and grow the best type of goodness around.

At your next social event, ask everyone to go around the room and share one thing they love about where they’re from and one thing they love about where they are now. When we reflect on our past experiences, we gain perspective on our future goals. A positive forecast makes our collective future less stormy.

When Scarlett Lewis’s son Jesse died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, she committed herself to spreading positivity and love. The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement has worked with experts and educators to create a curriculum and formula that enables people to choose love, gratitude and compassion.

What do you like to do to help #GROWtheGood around you? We’ve been hearing from people across the country who are making a Positive State. Share an idea for your community, you could receive $500 to make your idea a reality.

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