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COLUMN: Embrace what's-right-with-the-world mindset

"I am going to make a concerted effort to find the things that are right with the world as we move forward, and I'd like to challenge you to do the same."
AEG john liston CC 5738
Alberta Enterprise Group President John Liston

I was recently reminded of a video called Celebrate What's Right with The World by Dewitt Jones, a photographer for National Geographic. If you get a chance, watch it.

It seems many people I'm interacting with these days are struggling with these trying times. COVID has dominated the headlines combined with all the impacts on us as a society: jobs, economy, health care, government debt and deficits, elections, businesses opening and closing — the list goes on.

It is difficult to not get drawn into the what's-wrong-with-the-world’ mindset, and the challenge is that the brain cannot differentiate between what it hears and reality. As we continue to train the brain on the negatives, we are by our very nature not paying attention to what's right with the world.

For me, my mother passed away during COVID, and there are numerous other reasons to be negative. There is zero value in that.

I am going to make a concerted effort to find the things that are right with the world as we move forward, and I'd like to challenge you to do the same. Write a letter to The Gazette and let’s fill the pages with things that are right with the world.

If you need help, there is an outstanding journal called The Five-Minute Journal in paper or as an app. It is built around Aristotle’s quote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

The journal asks you questions to begin your day and end your day, such as, “I am grateful for,” or, “What would make today great?" "What three amazing things happened today?” or “How could I have made today even better?” 

What happens is you begin to train your brain to look for things you are grateful for. It can really change a person's perspective.

Another resource is The Book of Awesome” series by Neil Pasricha. These books are filled with things people believe are awesome. For example: popping bubble wrap; the first scoop of peanut butter in a new jar; fixing electronics by smacking them; getting called up first for the dinner buffet at a wedding; hitting a bunch of green lights in a row; and waking up and realizing it's Saturday.

When you begin to look for the positive and the awesome, you fill your mind with the positive instead of the negative.

This weekend at the Food Bank food drive it was extraordinary to see how generous people in St. Albert were. The bags were heavy and overflowing. 

This week a group of women launched T8N 100 Women Who Care, St. Albert and Area, to help support charities in need in our area. 

I could go on and on about the great works in our community.

As Dewitt Jones said: “You know incredible things happen when we're open to possibilities because the world is an astounding place … If we're open enough to hold a vision that fills us with energy, takes us to our own edge and gives us the courage to soar, that allows us to celebrate what's right with the world."

John Liston is the Vice President of Alberta Enterprise Group, and a St. Albert resident active in our business and charity communities.