Dewitt Jones is one of America’s top professional photographers. He spent twenty years with National Geographic, photographing stories around the globe and earning a reputation as a world-class photojournalist.
Jones has also produced a wonderful video titled “Celebrate What’s Right with the World.” In it he makes this profound assertion, “When we believe it, we’ll see it.” On his many photo assignments, Jones practiced this simple mantra and was able to capture amazing images wherever his travels took him.
Our world seems obsessed with what is wrong and many of our political, business, and religious leaders focus all their energy on fixing problems. This approach is concerned with making a diagnosis and then prescribing a treatment that will hopefully make everything better.
What would happen if those same leaders chose a different path? What if they attempted to discover what is already working; to believe that the human spirit is capable of rising beyond any current challenges? Could believing in each other, and our own abilities to solve problems, allow us to see a new future?
I am a member of a Christian business organization called Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) that for many years has practiced what Jones espouses. They have invested millions of dollars in micro-loans to thousands of poor business entrepreneurs in some of the most difficult economic and political climates around the world. They believed these people were trustworthy and would repay their obligations with a fair interest rate. The success of their model has spawned many similar efforts. Instead of lamenting what was wrong, MEDA celebrated what was right.
Believing enough to see the possibilities won’t work if we practice a scarcity mentality; if our need to win or concern for protecting market share is foremost in our thinking or actions. We must imagine that the world holds abundance beyond our imagination; that nature is more beautiful than we see on the surface; that people have more potential than we give them credit for. Only under these circumstances will we begin to uncover the best of ourselves and our world.
Leaders make choices every day. Some of them would say that’s what they are being paid to do. Yet many of these choices are not inspiring and do little to make the world or their workplace better.
So why not try a grand experiment and come to work each day expecting to find the best in your people, in your customers, and in your vendors? Might this simple shift in thinking encourage you to see them differently; to imagine a different future?
By celebrating what is right with your world; by expecting the best from yourself and others; the vision you are seeking will appear right before your eyes. No camera required.