Why anger can’t create lasting change

SocratesI recently attended, only briefly, a”$15 minimum wage” rally near my home in Portland. About 65 people showed up. They were of various backgrounds and age groups, but most of them represented the working class. What they also shared was an anger towards the status quo and resistance towards what they believe is something that must change “now”.

Anger can provide motivation and energy necessary to begin transformation, but because anger is often based on resisting something you oppose, it tends to create more of the same rather than lasting change.

Anyone who has education or training in nonviolent communication, conflict resolution, or even close quarters combat training realizes that if you are angry and your opponent is not, if your opponent is calm, you are at a great disadvantage. Not only can you be easily controlled and led about, but in your anger you cut yourself off from the creative inspiration, the ability to see options and commonalities and other benefits that are available when you are coolheaded.

So in anger, anything creative is tainted by that energy. You’re angry opposition to the status quo also likely inflames the anger of those opposed. Do you think it likely that group will remain calm and peaceful in the face of your anger and opposition? Maybe if they’re Zen masters.

The best way to transform the situation you find disagreeable is to first accept the reality of that situation. And then, turn all of your focus and energy in imagining a better condition. Immerse yourself in that imaginary vision and you will be inspired to take action aligned with that vision, action that can make that vision real. So long as your hold onto your resistance to present circumstances, the present reality remains.

Perhaps this is why we are making such progress at Copiosis. With more than 40 people on our team now  – all volunteers – we have galvanized the imaginations of many people. Rather than seeing reality as it is, they have aligned to a vision of what can be. From that collective alignment we have identified a way to launch a real-world demonstration of our innovation. Frankly, I didn’t think it was possible just five months ago.

We are excited by the results we have produced as a result of turning away from “reality” and focusing on the world as we believe it can be. No matter what area of activism or social change you are working in, it will be to your advantage to free yourself from your resistance, to let go of your opposition of towards those you feel are “responsible” for the reality you oppose, and with opening arms welcome them to working with you to creating a new world, one you both can align to.

Do that, and you will be amazed at the results.

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