Leo Bormans on how to scale up positive change (by Saskia Tjepkema)

Leo Bormans is a ‘man on a mission’. Full of humor and energy, he delivers a keynote on Saturday afternoon on how to put a megaphone on the positive message. How do we engage more and more people in generative conversations and change? How do we get the attention of politicians, business leaders, media… How do we get civilians involved?

Happier societies don’t just ‘happen’
Leo: “It is such an important issue. There is so much trouble and pain in the world, that we need to actively practice our optimism. To improve things. We are richer now than we ever were before, but we are not happier. So it doesn’t just happen by itself.’ He is dedicated to making a positive change, and to engage more and more people actively in creating happier societies and increase wellbeing. Because: “everyone can contribute.”

The paper wolf
Leo: ‘Engaging people in positive action doesn’t happen if you push them, or if you beg and plea… It requires a SWITCH. Make your message and your process Strong, Warm, Interactive, Transparent, Creative and use Hope and Humour…” Especially the latter is very important to him: “Media talk a lot about things that scare us. Feeding our fear. They are like a paper wolf, and we run like scared sheep. That really doesn’t help. We should also talk about what gives hope. And what makes us smile. And about what we CAN do. To breed our optimism.”

DO worry, be happy
To Bormans, optimism is a state of mind that we can, and should, deliberately practice. “Because it gives us energy and ideas to make changes in society for the better. I hate the phrase: ‘don’t worry, be happy’. It should be: ‘DO worry, be happy!’”

Megaphone or telescope
It turns out that, in order to practice our own optimism and engage more people in a positive change, we do not need a megaphone… Leo: “Of course we can scale up. I plan to open the first Embassy of Happiness and Quality of Life in Belgium, and I am happy that Herman van Rompuy gave the World Book of Happiness to all world leaders. That is great!”

But the impact that we ourselves can have by choosing how to focus our personal conversations is just as important, he stresses. “Maybe you do not need a megaphone, but a telescope. A telescope allows you to switch perspectives. From what scares us to what gives us hope. And it allows us to focus, on either the macro or the micro: the big picture or the small actions that we ourselves can do.” Every time we shift conversations, the optimism-virus spreads. Leo, with a big smile: “Optimism and enthousiasm are very contagious.”

Saskia Tjepkema
stjepkema@kessels-smit.com

One Response to Leo Bormans on how to scale up positive change (by Saskia Tjepkema)

  1. […] The paper wolf Leo: ‘Engaging people in positive action doesn’t happen if you push them, or if you beg and plea… It requires a SWITCH. Make your message and your process Strong, Warm, Interactive, Transparent, Creative and use Hope and Humour…” Especially the latter is very important to him: “Media talk a lot about things that scare us. Feeding our fear. They are like a paper wolf, and we run like scared sheep. That really doesn’t help. We should also talk about what gives hope. And what makes us smile. And about what we CAN do. To breed our optimism.” Read Full Article>> […]

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