Abundance expands the realm of possibility | Day 12 of #12DaysforGood

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-By Devon Krainer

When you open up the newspaper today, you’re confronted with dramatic headlines: the Syrian refugee crisis, stagnating economies, an aging population, spiking youth unemployment, budget cuts to social services, famine in Ethiopia, the list of 21st century challenges goes on. As consumers of this information, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.  

Many news sources focus on the negative. They talk about what’s bad in our world, as opposed to the good things that are happening every day. What if the media flipped the narrative? What if Donald Trump’s tactless statements didn’t make global headlines – and instead featured inspiring stories like entrepreneur Jim Estill, who contributed CAD $1.5 million to support refugee resettlement in Guelph?

Getting stuck on the negative isn’t just in the news – it can creep into our daily lives. During certain times of the year, especially stressful ones like the holiday season, I catch myself getting upset over things that are going wrong. An old friend cancels on dinner plans. A batch of cookies gets burnt. A visit with a distant relative turns unpleasant. It’s easy to perceive these everyday occurrences as disappointments. With a bit of effort, you can realize that these “disappointments” are actually essential to a full life. Upon further reflection, you can see that these unexpected events bring about unexpected good things. A cancellation creates space to do something new. Burned cookies are a great source of humour. Reaching out to a distant family member builds empathy, even if it feels a little uncomfortable.

This Saturday I visited my grandmother in Bellingham. She suffers from a borderline personality disorder that makes her quite mean to others, often without realizing it. Needless to say my visits with her are emotionally draining. Even though my grandma’s behaviour is cruel, I know deep down she treasures me seeing her. There is little point in me focusing on her negativity. Looking at the situation through the lens of abundance, I know my grandma and I share a bond. We accept each other for who we are. Through our conversations, I gain a new perspective and a greater appreciation of life, in all its glory and messiness. Getting stuck on the negative has less to do with what happens to us and much more to do with how we see the situation.

Seeing negative experiences through the lens of abundance transforms disappointments into opportunities for growth, learning and rebirth. When we perceive life as abundant, we create more potential for the impossible to be possible. Instead of asking ourselves why something is the way it is, we ask “why not?” Abundance expands the realm of possibility. It is rooted in values of optimism, faith and appreciation: integrating the ability to see the glass half full, the unwavering belief that others can fulfill their potential, and valuing each individual and experience as a unique gift.

If you’re inspired by abundance thinking, I’d recommend any of the following resources:

An asset-based approach: John McKnight and the Asset-Based Community Development Institute

Uplifting newsletter: Brain Pickings

Thought provoking podcasts: NPR

Curl up with a good book: The Happiness Project or Abundance: the future is better than you think

Academic fix: Stanford Social Innovation Review

Simple yet powerful concept: the Adjacent Possible

 

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One Response to “Abundance expands the realm of possibility | Day 12 of #12DaysforGood”

  1. Pam McINtosh Says:

    Very inspirational Devon, Thanks for being a do-gooder!
    Pam McIntosh

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