2 Simple Practices to Stop Giving Negative People and Media Power in Your LifeJan 04, 2018
If you’re like us, you are tired of the negativity and divisiveness that is being fueled by social media, press, comedians, talk show hosts, TV entertainment, and perhaps even in your work environments. It has zapped the life out of many of us and left people feeling helpless to change things for the better. When hope, meaning, and possibility leave our conversations, it has serious ramifications. We don’t have to give into the dominant national voice, however, or to the anger and resistance being fostered.
We can turn our conversations around. When faced with negativity, we can ask the kinds of questions that reshape the conversation. For example, if a Facebook post shows another brutal act of violence in the country, we might ask, “What’s my own community doing to curtail this kind of violence?” We might be surprised to discover that community conversations between police and people of color are being held and new policies being explored. When a friend shares frustration that nothing is being done at the national level to curtail the rise of CO2 and pollution, we can suggest, “There are companies and communities that are doing so on their own. In fact, there are some phenomenal efforts being made that are not getting any press.” We can back that up by looking for good news stories online, in the news, and in our own local communities. The Huffington Post lists 15 sources for good news stories. Check them out and be prepared to flip negative conversations with information from alternative and factual sources. Then, spur the conversation forward with generative questions, “Do you think we could begin a program like that here?” “What do you think it took to get started?” “What might happen if every community started doing that?”
We can reinvigorate our communities and organizations by fostering conversations that actually generate meaningful opportunities, foster real connection and relationship, and stimulate possibilities for the kind of world we want to live in. If we can talk about it, we can begin to envision it, and if we can envision it, we can create it! If you doubt this, take a look at the amazing things that are happening in communities all across the country, fueled by people who are framing their conversations around positive opportunities and asking generative questions that help them innovate their way into a more positive future. These two simple practices are all you need: positive framing and generative questions. In our new book, Conversations Worth Having, we share lots of stories to show you how! Be sure to read Be a Stealth Conversationalist and You Can’t Know It All for more.
How are you transforming your conversations to inspire meaningful engagement and action? Please share your stories and inspire others to take back their power to live a healthy and meaningful life!