Preparation: Remember the exercise you did in Joyality 101 of balancing out all the bad news with good news? Now we’re going to try it in reverse: if you hear some bad news, find out as much as you can about that “bad” news. Take a kind of a “bring it on!” attitude: “let’s get to the bottom of this!”. You may find yourself finding some “good” news along with the “bad”, which is great, but not the core purpose of this exercise.
Purpose: It is important to be aware of things that are going on in the world, and it is also important to understand them as fully as we can. These days, both mainstream and social media throw snippets of overdramatized information at us and we never really get the full story. Without all the information and a well-rounded understanding, it is hard to know what you can do or how to take action that will be effective and not just reactive.
Process: So … reflect upon your own issue/passion that you explored in Joyality 101. (Remember that this issue that you feel passionate about could range from the hugest world issue to how to take care of your self as you engage in change making.) Perhaps turn back to your Joyality Journal and read what your wrote there.
When you next come across a news story that catches your interest, whether it is “good” or “bad”, take some time to do a little research. Look for articles or editorials by opposing interests, different members of the community, or people from other countries. Make sure you take note of what media corporation or organization your sources are from so you can be aware of any bias.
Take a certain period of time, say half an hour, and try to find as much information as you can on the topic so that you can piece it all together and begin to form an educated opinion about what the challenge really is, who is in control, and what you could do to positively contribute. In that time, you might just read one article in depth, or skim many, whatever feels right to you.
Starting this process might bring up feelings for you. Perhaps you’re thinking “this is boring”, “I know this already” or “I don’t have time for this”. This is a chance to just notice, and practise being kind to, our resistance to engaging with the issues that we really care about. Maybe jot down those inner voices in your journal. Breathe, and allow yourself to become aware of some of your deeper feelings about the topic (we will explore these in Joyality 301, so for the time being just acknowledge their existence and return to this process). Please don’t worry too much about getting this exercise “right”, as we are simply offering suggestions to guide your explorations …
If you are a visually oriented person, draw a “mind-map” or organise your thoughts in a table. This will help structure and organise your thoughts and multiple opinions about the topic. Choose 2 or more of the questions below – whatever interests you most – to guide your exploration, and just insert question marks “?” where you can’t find the info. There will be many gaps, as many articles won’t answer these questions, and this in itself is important to know. Give your table or mind-map the name of the issue/challenge you feel passionate about. Headings we suggest for your table’s columns or mind-map circles include:
- Source – Who wrote this article and/or who is quoted as having this opinion? What might their potential bias be? What do they care about?
- Causes – What is a major cause of the issue/challenge you are concerned about? What are the causes of this cause?
- Opportunities – What ideas for solutions and positive change are suggested, in relation to each cause of the issue/challenge?
- Power – Powerful decision-makers and potential change makers – Who and where are the people who can influence the causes of the challenge, and choose to enact the opportunities/solutions?
- Ideas to influence change – What do the powerful decision-makers and potential change makers care about? Who might be able to influence them?
When you have spent half an hour on this, no matter how many of the suggested questions you’ve covered, or much information or how many articles or videos you have absorbed, have a look at your summary. It doesn’t matter so much what you have written but that you have consciously engaged in getting a better rounded story about the issue that you care deeply about.
Reflection: How do you feel after doing this exercise? Are you clearer or more confused about the issue, or a bit of both? What new insights have you had about the topic? Can you see any new opportunities for change in the complex system that makes up the issue?
Doing this exercise has given you practise at engaging more deeply with events and issues in the world that may have seemed too overwhelming or too scary to really engage with before. Paying attention to different perspectives might have also helped you form a clearer opinion about the challenge, and could empower you to take positive and well-thought out action to make a positive difference. We hope it stimulates you to continue to develop an increasingly informed opinion about your passion over time.