Community Growth and Innovation
You are one heart-driven act away from sparking powerful cultural change. Perhaps that act is to simply trust more in order to help build a more trusting community. Here is how this happens:
“I had a chance to reflect on Ken’s TED talk this morning as I dropped my daughter off at her preschool. Her school is housed in a church which also serves meals to the less fortunate in our community on Wednesdays. This morning a fight broke out between a couple of men. The police were called. All seems under control. But it was an opportunity to chose either fear or trust. I considered approaching the police to voice my concern for the children at the school but decided that would only be feeding into fear and make matters worse. I chose to trust that whatever the problem was, would be resolved peacefully. I chose to acknowledge the reality that living a hard life can make a person’s temper flair easily. I hope those men can move forward with a better day. I hope the children at my daughter’s school can learn something about being peaceful towards each other from the incident.”
Societal growth requires citizens to put community before commodity. Communities–be they organizations, businesses, towns, or regions–flourish when members, who are empowered by trust and reject the idea of fear as a legitimate motivator, understand that individual success cannot come at the expense of the collective. This is where you come in. The act that is always within your reach is to start or participate in a community that endeavors to change things for the better.
Almost without exception, we each believe in and long for cultures that are not founded in fear. Evolutionarily, we are well beyond early human pulls that only focused on true survival, when fear served a bonafide purpose. Now, with creature comforts, connectivity, and consciousness a part of everyday life, we are able to inject compassion in communities. More and more, people are working towards this end, locally and globally.
If this is such a common desire, then why do we still have cities with excessive violence, regions of abjectly poor and hungry people, and industries whose laser sharp focus is only profit, regardless of the cost? Why don’t we have more thriving communities where trust, kindness, camaraderie are the primary driving forces? There are a few reasons, including the stagnating macroeconomics of fear, driven by industries that capitalize on us as they make us more afraid. Another reason is a lack, albeit shrinking, of infectious affectionate leaders, such as those found in Ken Streater’s book, The Gift of Courage. Maybe this is where you come in.
So how do YOU create a more trusting community?
First, build heart-driven connections with those around you. Listen to your heart and quiet your head. Disconnect from those that peddle fear for their own ego or financial gain. This can lead to seeing the world in a completely different and more positive way, such as recognizing that immigrant families just want a good place to build a new life and are not here to hurt you. Or, discovering that sharing stories with your neighbor is infinitely better than believing and living by soundbites and commercials designed to scare and shrink us.
Second, be dependable. Make your community better by being dependable and by meaning well. Trust grows strong among well meaning people who have a history of depending on each other. This means that roots matter. Growth happens because of this heritage, not in spite of it. And even if trust is violated it can be rebuilt by making sure others know your intentions are pure and you have their best interest at heart.
And third, provide inspiration. Your actions should inspire others to believe in you and to believe in themselves. Tutor an underprivileged child. Coach a youth sports team. Help a stranger across the street. Create a food coop. Have faith in those around you. These acts create caring, trusting communities.
Hope grows best in trusting places. Hope struggles and dies in places of fear. Everyone deserves a place where there is hope that helps them turn their dreams into reality, a place where their hope never dies. For your children, for loved ones, for your neighbor, for the person next to you right now, create a place of trust. By doing so you create a place of hope.
Trust makes better places. Be a heart-driven force to do good, to create trusting communities.
Ken Streater is proud to help build trusting communities by speaking to your community and by leading, working with, or supporting the organizations with their logos on this page.