How To Inspire People To Change The World (Without Totally Bumming Them Out)

Editor’s note: this is a guest post by Lynn Fang of Upcycled Love.

We are so inundated with negative information these days that most people just want to numb themselves to the pain. They don’t want to talk about the real issues (they’d much rather keep listening to the new Katy Perry single).

Political corruption, crime, social injustice, and environmental disasters are everywhere. They receive so much attention on mainstream media channels these days that it’s no wonder we shut ourselves off emotionally to their reality.

But, beneath the surface, we still feel the pain of injustice every day, in every corner of the world.

We still want to talk about the big issues, so how do we write about these important issues without turning people off?

The truth is that most of us are aware of the issues. We’re aware there’s pollution and corruption and terrible things going on in the world, but we just don’t want to be constantly reminded that there’s awful stuff going on–mostly because it’s incredibly depressing.

We want to find joy, excitement, and meaning in life. We want to have the desire to live and love life.

But we still need to talk about the tough issues of today. So, with that in mind, let’s consider some of the ways we can inspire people to change the world without becoming too negative.

1. Clarify Your Intention

I once hosted a guest post on climate change on my blog. Even though I feared that some readers might feel preached to, or maybe even feel “threatened” by this guest blogger’s post, I published it anyway. It ended up being a very controversial post. One reader said that she felt as though the author wanted her to make even more sacrifices–even though she had already been living a very mindful, green life.

I soon realized that my intention for publishing the piece didn’t come from a pure, compassionate space. It was muddled up in not wanting to offend my guest author. But, if I had pointed out my concerns to my guest blogger beforehand, perhaps the controversy would have been avoided. Perhaps readers would have felt more hopeful, rather than betrayed. By feeling hopeful, maybe my readers would have been driven to do more to address climate change. Instead, the opposite happened.

This is why the most important thing you can do is to become very clear about your intention for writing about a topic, whatever it may be: human rights, global warming, pollution, etc.

Is your intention to tell stories about the people involved, and their human experience with the world? Is your intention to raise awareness about an issue? Is it to inspire action, or creativity?

Understand what emotions your reader may be going through as they read your post, and take care of them as you express your thoughts. When a reader feels threatened–as though they are responsible in some way–that’s a huge turn-off.

Hold the highest intention, then. Hold on to the intention to care for your readers, and avoid making them feel responsible or unworthy for not doing what you are asking them to do. Hold on to the intention to raise awareness, offer a solution, and inspire creativity, hope, and action.

Ultimately, the point is to drive action and create new solutions. It’s not to stay worried about the state of the world, or place blame on anyone.

2. Inspire Creativity

While you uncover the alarming truths about your issue, remember to look for the solutions. There are so many people out there today engaging in projects offering viable solutions to today’s problems.

For example: an American architect was living in Thailand when she witnessed the sale of a little girl to a man for sex. She tried to stop the sale, and was held at gunpoint. This woman wasn’t able to save this little girl, but the woman kept dreaming of ways to liberate these poor innocent women from their fates. The woman pinpointed the issue as one of economics, and so she developed a concept that would work with the emerging green market. She employed poor village women in Thailand to weave beautiful fabrics from organic and sustainable sources, and partnered with a conscious designer to introduce new, fashionable, and marketable designs for these fabrics.

This woman’s name is Eve Blossom and her company is called Lulan Artisans. Eve’s company strives for 100% sustainability by using bamboo as shade, using natural, non-toxic dyes, using trashed bike wheels for loom wheels, and using local farm waste as a textile resource. They also expanded their employee care policy by offering education, housing, and child care for village weavers.

Lulan Artisans employs poor villagers in Thailand who would otherwise be forced to enter the sex trade. This is a model based on local sustainability–and with enough local support, this type of company can be replicated just about anywhere.

Lulan Artisans is an incredible success story that has been an inspiration for hundreds and thousands of people around the world.

It opens your mind a little:  if a woman like Eve could have the ability to make this happen, then maybe, just maybe, you could do it too.

It also stirs your creativity: if Lulan Artisans can employ all these innovative design features, then maybe you could do that too in your own projects.

By simply sharing this inspirational story with you, you probably feel renewed hope for the world, and maybe even renewed faith in your own journey. You’re most likely not upset with me because I didn’t admonish you, or tell you what to do.

3. Strive to Empower

By inspiring creativity, you empower your readers. It sends a message: “Look what regular people can do! You can do it too!”

Here’s an example of how you can empower people to change the world without totally bumming them out:

The Climate CoLab is harnessing the power of global intelligence to develop effective climate change policy. If you have an idea about how to solve the issue of climate change through policy, submit your proposal to them and it will be judged and reviewed by a panel of experts. The experts then select a group of proposals for the final round, where they are judged and reviewed by the Climate CoLab community. Winners have the opportunity to brief policy makers with their proposal.

Not only is Climate CoLab offering people across the globe the opportunity to develop and voice their proposed solution, it is also offering the public a new avenue to influence public policy.

While this is a project that is not a book or blog, it is an example of how you can give power back to the people.

As a world-changing writer, you have a pivotal role in shaping the collective mindset. Will your words empower? Or will they disempower?

Inspire People To Change The World Without Totally Bumming Them Out

The next time you want to rant about the state of the world, consider transforming the rant into a piece that inspires creativity, and empowers people to go out into the world and develop their own solutions.

Lynn Fang is a writer, thinker, and Conscious Business Coach. She is the author of Living the Transformation and blogs about personal growth, green living, and social change at Upcycled Love. Follow her on Twitter and Google+

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17 comments on “How To Inspire People To Change The World (Without Totally Bumming Them Out)

  1. Sunshine says:

    Hold the highest intentions and be the change you would like to see changed is the way I read this and Eve Blossom is a fine example. Thanks!

  2. Ollin says:

    Thank you Lynn for this wonderful, timely post.

    There is so much in the world that needs fixing and sometimes we can all be overwhelmed and just numb it all out. I hear you. But I love your approach to it–your post does give me hope and has made me realize that there are a lot of supposed “change agents” who are focusing only on the negative and not on solutions. I wonder if you might write something like this for the Huffington Post and other news outlets to encourage them to stop just reporting on the negative and focus on reporting on what positive change people are creating.

    Like Eve! We should all know her name and be celebrating and honoring people like her, instead of Snooki from Jesery Shore.

    p.s. I still think Katy Perry is awesome! But I understand the point you were trying to make, hehe.

  3. Thanks, Ollin for the opportunity to express this point of view. It’s true most news outlets mostly focus on the negative stuff, and forget to highlight the solutions. I think people react more strongly to the negative also, so they get more pageviews that way. And solutions are often small, so people are afraid to have too much hope, thinking that they ultimately will not work. Yes, you can still listen to Katy Perry while you change the world🙂

  4. Eden says:

    Reblogged this on A Garden of Delights and commented:
    I’m reblogging this solely because it resonates inside me and I want to share the pleasure and hope that we can work together for something better.

  5. Eden says:

    It sounds silly, but sometimes simply listening openly and not offering suggestions, just sharing (as you noted) personal moments of joy and inspiration will help “reset” the mood of the world directly around you. While Eve could not save that one girl, she saved many others. AND, never doubt that she gave that girl a moment of realization to know that someone believed she was worth more than to be sold. And moments do have meaning…. The more the better, but they all start with one.

  6. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed when I watch/read the news that I just turn off. I know that change is something that can be initiated and created by one person, but often I ‘know’ this logically (in my head) but it doesn’t click over to my heart until I read something like this post. Thank you.

    • Thanks for sharing your perspective! I understand where you’re coming from, and I think it’s important to keep in mind that you’re just focusing on one little piece of the puzzle. It’s okay to just keep focusing on your piece, and let go of everything else.

  7. Jackie Cangro says:

    What a wonderful sentiment, Lynn. I enjoyed reading your guest post. I’ve come to realize the old adage is true: you catch more flies with honey.

    On my blog I started a series called SHINE which features everyday people who are doing extraordinary things to change their communities. It inspires readers to think about what they might be able to do.
    Here’s the most recent post: http://jacquelincangro.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/shine-stove-top-travel

  8. Jas says:

    great tips to make the content not only readable but understandable too

  9. may says:

    Thanks a lot Lynn, I was just thinking about the same thing. Inspire but not preach.

  10. Fiona says:

    This was a wonderful post. I think sometimes it’s so easy to feel small, like we can’t make a difference. But we can. Your post illustrates that perfectly, and it just goes to show if more people tried to act, no matter how small they felt their impact might be, we can all make radical change to our society. Thank you for the advice, Lynn, and Ollin for the great guest post.

    • Thanks, Fiona! It can be hard to believe that you could have an impact, but a small impact is better than none! Also, it helps to let go of any expected outcomes, and just shift your attitude in the direction of favoring change and taking action. The ultimate outcome is not up to any one individual, and is the result of collective action.

  11. Yvette says:

    Nice guest post Lynn! Tell me, is that awesome end quote ‘Inspire people to change the world, without totally bumming them out’ yours? Because I want to put it in my amazing quotes file and don’t want to put the wrong name on it!! I think that’s brilliant, and intend to live by it, by the way🙂
    Yvette Carol

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