Shifting from a deficit mindset to ABCD

What do you do when people seem locked in a deficit mindset?

Ask: ‘How did we once get the ‘thing’, we feel we’re losing in the first place?’ Forgiving the clumsy grammar, this will illustrate more clearly what/whom we need to find.

Take loneliness: what’s the positive opposite of lonely? Answer: being meaningfully connected and useful to/needed by others. Ok, so let’s ask. What have we previously done to create meaningful connections like these? What did we use?

Then look for what you thought you’d lost (those touch points to meaningful connection) in the here and now. Once you find the remnants ask: ‘how can we support those touch points to become more visible and valued and then more connected?’ And finally, ask: ‘how can we proliferate the meaningful connections we already have, to create what we want?’

It starts with the simple question:

“Can you tell us a story about something you and your neighbours have done here to make things better?”

In this way we shift our starting point from what’s wrong to what’s strong, then use what’s strong to address what’s wrong and make what’s strong, stronger.

Here’s my TEDx talk for more on this line of thinking.

Cormac Russell


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