People ask if I’m still speaking and consulting while on my Year by the Water.
The answer to that is an emphatic YES.
In fact, it’s like having the best of both worlds.
I get to travel the country, visiting unexplored territory (literally and figuratively) and writing about my experiences and epiphanies . . and I get to continue to do work I love, attending and keynoting conferences.
That’s what happened last Sunday when I had the distinct honor of being a delegate to the NOVUS Summit at the United Nations. Here are just a few of the highlights of that incredible day.
One of the speakers talked about there being two types of people in the world – those who wear a red cape and “fight bad things”- and those who wear a blue cape and “grow good things.”
The speaker who originated this insight (and I would love to attribute this to the right speaker – so if you know who said this, please contact me so I can give credit where credit is due) claims we NEED BOTH red cape people and blue cape people.
We need people who are willing to step up, take on the dark forces and do something about them.
And we need people who initiate and create positive breakthroughs and technological advances that benefit us all.
(Personally, I think there is a third kind of person. Black cape people who choose to rant and rave or complain about what’s wrong. It’s tempting and oh-so-easy to do that. Especially when we watch what’s happening on the news and are outraged, worried or discouraged by it. But .. it … doesn’t … help. It only adds to the darkness – only amplifies what’s wrong.)
Closing speaker Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize Foundation and co-founder of Singularity University, is a walking-talking example of a blue caper.
Whether it is his book on Abundance; or his passion and purpose for leveraging innovation in the various X Prize competitions; he is a model for how we can choose to allocate our time, attention and resources to creating initiatives that pro-actively address issues and add value for all involved.
As Peter says, “Lots of people dream big and talk about big bold ideas but never do anything. I judge people by what they’ve done. The ratio of something to nothing is infinite. So just do something.”
Peter is a 100% blue cape DOER – as was every single one of the thought-leaders featured on Sunday including:
* Peabody winner and former head of the CNN International desk Parisa Khosravi, who asked the provocative question, “What if were to COME BACK to earth? Would we see it with fresh, more empathetic, proactive eyes?”
* astronauts Anousheh Ansari, Dan Barry and Scott Parazynski, who all made good on their childhood dreams of going into space and who are now leveraging what they’ve learned “up there” by applying it “down here.”
* Maysoon Zayid, who has the most watched TED talk of 2014 with more than 7 1/2 million views. Within the first two minutes, we all understood why. Maysoon, an Arab-American actress, stand-up comic, philanthropist and advocate for the disabled, is a force of nature. As she says, “I’m like Shakira meets Muhannad Ali. I shake all the time. I have 99 problems; cerebral palsy is just one of them.”
* Martin Seligman, often called the “Father of Positive Psychology,” who gave this piece of deceptively simple – yet profound – advice.
Before you go to bed tonight (and every night), ask yourself, “What are three things that went well today? How did I contribute to that?
I love this idea because it’s a way to “blue cape” our perspective.
Think about it. When we reflect on our day, we have a choice.
We can focus on – and rant and rave about or be discouraged by – what went wrong (a black cape).
Or we can focus on – and celebrate, appreciate and elevate – what went well (a blue cape).
Choosing to focus on what went well renews our appreciation keeps our blessings front and center and top of mind.
Perhaps even more importantly, thinking about how we might have played a role in what went well helps us understand and own the fact that we can – in fact, we are – contributing to the well-being of ourselves and others’, right here, right now
We don’t have to be a thought-leader at the UN to be a blue caper.
That’s wonderful and welcome. But on a daily basis, every single one of us can choose to focus on growing good things. And when we do, everyone benefits.
Kudos to Kunal and his team for creating an event that focused on and grew good things – not just for everyone in that grand hall – but for everyone who will be positively impacted by what was shared and initiated on Sunday.