Why the cure to despair is taking action.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
This quote, from Philosopher and civil-rights leader Howard Thurman, sums up exactly what we at ActionAble are all about.
We live in an age of unprecedented challenges, from climate change to socio-political polarisation to future pandemics and super-bugs. In a globally connected world, these issues are all interwoven, making it seem impossible to find a foothold, to figure out where we fit in.
Our age is one of information overload. We are totally saturated by different media and constantly connected to one another, multiplying this sense of disorientation. Much of the information we are consuming is about the existential threats we face, warning us of the dire consequences if humanity does not change course now, compounding our sense of despair. Maybe we stumble across some prompts towards meaningful actions we can take, but they feel isolated and insubstantial, like pushing back against the tide.
And we seem to live in a world increasingly devoid of meaning. The old stories no longer hold, and as our society continues to change at an exponential rate, we fail to construct new ones. A space has opened up, but we do not know what to build in its place or how.
We have a sense of what our lives and the world should be like, only to find:
- We struggle to understand what we are truly passionate about and what therefore motivates us. We flip-flop between different topics, reading articles, researching volunteering opportunities and individual behaviour changes sporadically, but we feel as if we are spread thinly and can’t find the thing that feels right to us
- We find an area that does light us up. But we doubt our own ability to contribute. We fail to see how we can bring our skills to bear usefully, experiencing a lack of confidence or imposter syndrome.
- We know what we want to do with our time, but we cannot access opportunities. We spend hours googling hopelessly. We find many organisations to be impenetrable, requiring skills we don’t have or taking months to reply to our emails. Or we find the role impossible to fit in around our other responsibilities, struggling to just keep up.
- We start taking action, but lack the structure and accountability we need to sustain us. In a post-pandemic world, we feel increasingly cut off from others and lack a community who share our values, have the same vision for the world, and who support each other in taking action and in living up to those values.
We fail to take action on what is important to us and thereby to build the lives we want, in short, because we fail to see how taking action fits in with our lives now. With who we are, where we are, with the time and energy we have.
At ActionAble, we believe that the cure to despair is taking action.
We believe that taking action can be joyful, simple and life-affirming and that when it is, it is far more effective and durable than forcing ourselves into something out of a sense of duty.
We believe that the apparent distinction between what is good for me, my community, and society at large is an illusion. That truly taking care of and being kind to yourself flows naturally and inevitably into caring for and being kind to the people and planet around you.
We believe that by first taking the time to understand who you are, what you want, and what your unique gifts and passions are, you unlock a capacity in yourself for positive impact which not only makes you a more effective, empowered person, but brings the deep joy and meaning to life we all crave. That this is how we truly come alive.
We believe that through connecting with like-minded people, who support, challenge and inspire us, we dramatically increase not only our impact in the world but our sense of belonging and agency in it.
We believe that taking action can mean anything, from protesting to having conversations to a million small daily acts of kindness. That every act done with an intention to make the world a little better ripples through society in a way far wider-reaching than we can imagine.
We believe that this relationship between self-actualisation and self-transcendence, between reflection and action, creates a virtuous circle. It provides a kind of renewable fuel which can not only sustain you throughout your life as an action-taker but ultimately spill over to those around you and give them the fuel and inspiration to do the same.
We become not only agents but beacons of change, spreading goodwill, inspiration and enthusiasm, as well as ideas and solutions, throughout our communities and ultimately the world. When we are provided with the right environment, community, tools and resources, we amplify the impact we can have on the world around us exponentially, and finally gain a sense of being active participants in shaping the life and world we want.
When we come alive through acting in the world, we communicate to others in a medium more convincing than words: this is how we make a better world.
That is the kind of world, and the kinds of people, that we believe are possible. We want to do our part in making it happen. And that means helping you do yours.
ActionAble’s upcoming course is designed to help you be the person you want to be to shape the world you want to see.
Over a series of weekly, online sessions, you will learn to:
- Understand your unique skills, values and passions
- Apply them to the world around you
- Connect with a cohort of likeminded aspirational changemakers
- Set goals and create and implement a plan to achieve them
- And much, much more!
Sign up to express interest and get updates: www.actionable.org.uk/courses