A Higher Calling In American Politics

Let's be honest, shall we? It seems that over the several months as we've followed the 2016 American presidential race that ideas like scandal, mistake, gaffe, opposition, and controversial statement or action have become almost daily things to think about. But I want to take a second to focus us all on a higher playing field for the ongoing presidential race.

2016-07-03-1467547639-4670111-americanflag18.jpgOur political process -- and the candidates running for office -- should become well-versed in sharing the strengths of each other rather than just focusing on perceived or even potential weakness. What I am saying is that a healthy refocusing of our daily news experience on strengths would help all of us -- like those of strengths-based leadership or multiple intelligences, or others strengths' tools.

For a moment, imagine a world where we did not learn about every negative idea, every negative thought, and every oppositional philosophy the minute it was fresh news, but instead had a daily meditation on good things so that scandal, mistake, gaffe, opposition, and controversial statement or action had to compete for our attention. What I mean is that without really thinking about we as American's have become a bit accustomed (I would say too accustomed) with a daily focus on missteps that we might run the risk of becoming pessimistic and negative.

2016-07-03-1467547840-25405-PositivityOpportunity.jpgI'm taking a risk here calling us all out on the behaviors of negativity, but it's important to remember that in the years before the digital age we did not spend hours each day focusing on tragedies, destruction, failure, and vice. Instead, people lived their lives and were able to focus more on positive things. We still have that opportunity available to us every day. And all we need to do is choose to limit our negative inputs. By doing this, we could replace any thoughts of pessimism with opportunity and optimism.

Think for a moment about our society. Right now, right this very minute, thousands and thousands and thousands of amazing and awesome things are taking place across our society. Families are caring for children, teachers are resting over the summer and yet preparing still, and multitudes of people are keeping our society running well. Weaknesses are being overcome, addictions are halting, and new medical cures are being tested. From traffic lights to emergency rooms to research labs to safe roads to soup kitchens, there is a level of support occurring in society that is phenomenal when we consider many of the countries of the world where such opportunities are not as accessible.

And yet. And yet, through a daily focus on digital media we dwell at times to our detriment on the negative things happening in this small world. Why? I would ask again, why do this when so many positive things are taking place every day?

I am in full agreement that we need to understand the risks and shortfalls in our society and the world around us. However, the shift we should make is towards continually focusing on positive things and not letting negativity and vice rule our thoughts and daily frame of mind.

Like me, you probably are not sure that you need to be more positive. After all, you are probably well aware and well-invested in many good things. And it's often justifiable to know the negative things that go on in society so you are better informed and better suited to keep you and your family safe.

Still, I want to plant a seed in your mind and the minds of others reading this article that negativity needs to be limited and in fact replaced with positivity. Thinking right now of three things you are thankful for can improve your perspective immensely. Call it a Gratitude Break. It will uplift your thoughts!

Now imagine if we scanned the news articles about the political process and found three things to be thankful for. It would uplift us. Imagine if the candidates themselves focused more on strengths than weaknesses so that weakness and vice were not even in their daily vocabulary. It would uplift them. And imagine if we all began to have a daily digest of what is going right in our political process rather than what is going wrong. It would uplift our nation even more.

So what does this mean for our political candidates and the media that is written about them? For starters, everyone could focus more on strengths rather than weaknesses. Then, the candidates themselves could begin to be bold and speak positively about each other and the strengths of the other candidate and even other party. Let's imagine a united country where we deepen the ways that we praise each others' strengths. It can happen and it starts with us!

We have every right to be positive about our nation's amazing democracy. It resulted in our freedoms to choose who we elect and to support their leadership and growth. Let's take a moment today to have a Gratitude Break for the 2016 American political race and focus more on its positives.


Dr. Jonathan Doll blogs on The Huffington Post on topics of student engagement, positivism, and school violence prevention through strengths. His current book is on ways to develop a positive life vision.