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Which Meme Moves You More?

Which Meme Moves You More?

It is November 15, 2016, Donald Trump is the president elect of the United States. Whether you like him or not, voted for him or not, it doesn’t matter, this is the reality. A week after the election, there has been an outpouring of communications: calls, emails, and social media posts. Emotions are running high, with people expressing the full array of feelings. As I read these messages, though, I have noticed that there are generally two types of things being communicated and each one leaves me with a very different set of feeling and sense of empowerment.

 

I am tracking two different types of memes. The first is reactive, full of negative emotions spanning from hopelessness and despair to anger and outrage. This group of memes have a win/lose perspective, viewing Trump’s win as a complete loss to what they believe in and to the future of the United States. The second, communicates that all is not lost, that we can and must hold on to our values and continue to take positive actions towards bringing about the changes we want to see. These communications have a Thrive and Help Thrive perspective, communicating that we need to seek solutions that are less of an either/or and more of a win/win for a broader range of citizens. While it is understandable that there could be very intense, negative emotional reactions to such a divisive election, I find that these communications leave me feeling dejected, listless, and disempowered. Alternatively, the second meme group inspires me, motivates me to take action, and reminds me that others aren’t giving up, so neither can I.

 

As a coach who helps people shift behaviors that are not working for them into more fulfilling results, I have learned a few things along the way that might be useful for you in choosing how you are communicating with others.

 
  1. Our energy follows our focus. Being disciplined about where you focus your attention, what information you take in, what you communicate, and and what actions you take, makes a huge difference in your sense of well-being as well as your perception of control and agency. Choosing to focus on what has been lost, getting caught in despair, or complaining brings no positive results and will only leave you feeling depleted and unmotivated. Instead, how can you shift your focus to people, things, and communications that inspire, engaging others in loving and respectful ways towards positive action?

 
  1. Be strategic and deliberate in who you are being. Do you want to be someone who is paralyzed by the problem or someone who is working towards the solution? The more we consciously choose what we say, write, and repost, the more we can positively impact our family, friends, and communities.

 
  1. Even doing small things can create lasting results. Taking small actions allows us to refocus our energy and actively get engaged in working towards the kind of strategic changes we want to see given this new reality. If you need some inspiration, or doubt that doing one small thing can really make any difference, meet Debbie Tenzer, author of Do One Nice Thing: Little Things You Can Do to Make the World a Lot Nicer.  After getting sick of complaining about the state of the world, Debbie decided to do one small, beneficial thing for others, on a weekly basis. She was amazed not only how doing this small thing made a difference for her, but also how broadcasting what she was doing, quickly attracted a following of like-minded people. Working together, they were able to:

  • Send over seventy tons of school supplies to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, who then distributed them to local children

  • Send countless books to schools, libraries, and hospitals

  • Contribute thousands of gifts to foster children

  • Donate tens of thousands of packages of food to food banks

Over the next days, weeks, and months, notice which meme moves you to take positive actions towards your goals and how strategically choosing what you broadcast to the world makes a positive difference both for you and for those around you.

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