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Staying positive in times of doom: Conversation Summary - March 2022

Updated: Aug 7

Sixteen of us huddled in to the Jika Jika Community Centre in Northcote to discuss the question 'How do we stay optimisic in times of doom and gloom?'.


Our February session had left me with the reflection that we needed a greater sense of structure and outcome to the format, so I tweaked the March session to include an opening segment encouraging everyone to talk about the issues that were forefront in their minds, right now.


The list was long and included:

  • Aboriginal health and issues - no one cares!

  • Climate and the fight for resources

  • The fall of nations

  • Education - What's the future for my kids? Will our education support a postiive future?

  • Ageing - There isn't very good social structure available for older people

  • Lack of Federal accountability and duty of care on climate for future generations

  • How do we transform systems at a speed that will make a difference fast enough to avoid existential catastrophe?

  • Racism

  • The state of Aged Care and what can be done to improve it

  • War and the Ukraine - What does it all mean?

  • The greed and money system

  • Social Justice

  • Power imbalances that create change inertia

  • "I" is all there is!

  • Chemical dependence - 'We're making ourselves unhealthy'

  • Who owns the news and how do we stop it polarising our thinking

  • The Rise of Outrage Porn

  • After the pandemic - will there be any positive change


So much to fix! But we were here to talk about one question today:


"How do we stay positive in times of doom and gloom?"


The group were keen to express their thoughts on how we manage to keep going when there seems to be no clear pathway to success. The following principles were developed:

  • Narrow things down

One of the greatest challenges to making change is getting started. There is so much to fix it's hard to know where to start. Finding the connection to something that you're really passionate about and connects with your purpose needs to be narrowed down. Look for causes in front of you that connect with you and spark your imagination towards a better way.

  • Take action

There are so many actions, big and small that you can take that all add up over time.


Write that letter to your MP; Join that mentoring program you've been eyeing off for while; Set up a meetup; Start that school for girls in India; Stop using plastic. Just do it!

  • Connect and collaborate

Connecting with others and finding common problems to solve can be great for inspiration and motivation. look for meetups or community groups that are exploring areas of concern for you and join in (online or in-person).

  • Learn to define clear problems and then focus on the solution

It's easy to get stuck in blame-gaming and getting angry at those that appear to have created the problem. There is time for anger, but to stay positive there is a need to remain focussed on causation as a way to create understanding of the many possible futures.

  • Be creative

There has been an explosion in innovative, creative projects to try and solve problems like Climate Change, With the advent of easy to access technology and the ability to connect easily online there is a great opportunity to get creative. Design thinking and human-centred design have been successfully used to create impactful solutions through community co-design. Look at organisations like Pollinate Energy or This Is Me. This also links back to Systems Thinking approaches that incorporates the system understanding in to the creative methods used for innovation. See the UK Govt examples.


It was an inspiring session and these principles provide hope in a time when things seem to be spiralling in to darkness.




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