Person painting mural "The Future Will be Different"

The How for Becoming Better People

by Jacqueline Jannotta

We Are The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For

There’s a hack out there that says “Believe it to become it”: if you act as though you already are some aspect of amazing, then others will see that in you, bringing it into reality. A similar trick is to put your thoughts and energy toward what you want more of, so it will expand in your life. The theory goes that if you focus on what’s wrong, you get more of what’s wrong. So why not focus on what’s right and to get more of what’s good?

Could this hack work for our collective story? I think a foundational step is to take our personal “Me” stories and draw a line to our collective “We” stories. Then we can infuse those stories with hope — hope that things can be far better than what they seem to be today. This would require some imaginative vision, but we can do this — we must do this. We each have the power to access our stories, make the wider connection, use our imaginations. And when harnessed together we can be an unstoppable force for humanity.

Even though the messages from our multifaceted PA system are mostly about “things falling apart”, we can take control of the narrative by re-framing it. We can see, hear and mourn the stories of devastation, yet also believe that the world isn’t falling apart. Perhaps it’s actually breaking down to the foundation so we can build it back even better. And maybe we don’t have to wait for a clean slate to start reconstruction. What if we simply started now?

Sure, we could keep going the way we’re going, using 20th-century thinking to address a 21st-century cluster. That would mean we continue to defer to the institutions, systems and people whose very survival depends on things staying the same as they’ve always been. Or we would passively hope — telling ourselves that a savior on a white horse will come to our rescue at the eleventh hour. But if there’s ever a time to shift our mindset and break free of the inertia, it’s now. We owe it to our children and ourselves to become the ones we’ve been waiting for.

A Platform to Build a Better Narrative

This is what led me to Becoming Better People. As a writer, I decided I would challenge myself to interpret how our collective story follows a positive arc instead of a negative one. And I would create a platform to do it, so others could share in the process. Still, the only way to understand our collective story is through one’s personal experience. This is what I call the Me to We connection. 

There’s a saying that always stuck with me: to understand yourself try and understand others; to understand others, look inward. This is the simplest way to understand the Me to We connection — and the bridge I intend to construct when posting. If we want to envision “better” for Us, it’s a matter of seeing it from our individual lives first. Because when more of us make the connection from Me to We and focus on becoming better, we will shape a better future — one based on where we want to go instead of where we simply end up. That's why I will share thoughts that stem from personal stories that speak to the collective We. And I’m inviting you to participate.

Empowering Words with Action

And while the pen (or the keyboard) may be mightier than the sword, words can still be fortified. I intend to amplify the stories I share by supporting people who are boots-on-the ground change-makers. Every other post will highlight a hand-picked nonprofit that complements the theme of the previous story. Becoming Better People will also make a donation in support of that nonprofit, like the one chosen to kick off this blog.

That's the "How" of Becoming Better People, building on the "Why" from the previous post that kicked off this blog. And before regular posting starts in October, here’s a preview of posts ahead — so you can get a sampling of the “What”

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