Celebrate Your Bright Spots

Celebrate Your Bright Spots

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‘Celebrate Your Bright Spots.’ This phrase came from fellow community changemaker, Greg Tehven, and it is one that has stayed with me.

Greg and others’ work is nothing short of incredible in Fargo, North Dakota – a place that is managing to reinvent itself without (what Greg calls) ‘distractions’: no stunning scenery, mountains or beaches to get in the way of making things happen.

Rather than focussing on what they haven’t got, they are transforming a community in tough economic conditions by celebrating whatever ‘bright spots’ they do have. They are getting people together – both to support each other when things get tough and to celebrate every win together. As a result, they have experienced double-digit growth over the past 5 years and are seeing an influx of young people moving into the community.

Most communities talk about the things that are wrong where they live. Problems and complaints dominate, creating a negative lens through which life is seen. It takes longer for a place to recover from this perception.

It is easy to immerse ourselves in what is wrong.  Especially in politics, it’s often hard to be optimistic and positive, because people generally focus on what is bad, and what needs to change. There is little incentive to celebrate the good things we already have.

Community transformation means building up, rather than breaking down. Every place has its bright spots – and their celebration and amplification create the impetus to solve problems.

Focusing on darkness prevents the community from seeing the light. Transforming the culture of a place requires consistent celebration of greatness, as well as focusing on what could be improved. I passionately believe that communities should emphatically invest in this process. The more you celebrate, the more people will engage. The more people engage, the better a place will get.

  • What are your own bright spots in your community?
  • How can you celebrate them?
  • Who invests in celebration in your community?
  • What steps will you take now, to help bring light?

To brightness.


Listen to Greg’s TEDxStPeterPort talk

Listen to all TEDxStPeter Port talks here

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  1. Celebration can become the focus of a community. It serves now as you suggest, and in future post-scarcity societies it will provide vital recognition and inspiration when money no longer motivates people to excel.

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