Editor’s Note: This article was written in March 2010 but its message continues to be relevant today…..

Yesterday we wrote about the Heath Brothers book “Switch” and the concept of seeking large changes by focusing our attention on things that are going right, i.e. “bright spots,” and then acting to duplicate them.  Today I want to highlight one bright spot that is occurring in our government’s ability to make decisions.

Several times recently I’ve written about my concerns over the gridlock at the federal level in being able to make any substantive changes to address major issues which are country is facing.  I do believe that we can turn from the current condition of overly partisan behavior which has stalled Congress, and towards a better future where all of our representatives are focused in a positive manner upon where we are going.  However this does appear to be one of those “elephants” where we’ re not sure where to take the first bite.  Last week, I encouraged you to take your first bite, that is a simple step, by writing your representatives (see other article).

Today I want to shine a light on a report that came out in this week’s Christian Science Monitor.  Their cover story is about the angry discourse in our political system these days, and how it portrays our nation as one divided into polar extremes.  As we’ve all noted, these extremes at the Federal level have blocked our ability to institute any meaningful change.  Yet there is hope.

States Move to Fill the Void

The side article details how state governments are stepping into the void of leadership and working to solve major problems locally.  Around the country, states have tackled and put in place legislation to deal with such divisive issues as same-sex marriages, legalization of marijuana, growth of renewable energy, new safety standards, laws related to human trafficking, and more.

What is it that allows the states to institute solutions to these major problems?  What’s different at the state level from the Federal level?  The article points at a number of reasons.  One, state representatives who attempt to get into partisan arguments which stall legislation are much more easily called to task by their constituents who are physically closer to them.  The public and advocates can be very vocal about moving their representatives out of their political box and into working towards a solution.  Two, state representatives generally have more interaction across party lines, having personal friendships with all representatives.  They may be at a different political party, but they are your neighbors.  Three, as the stakes are not quite as high at the state level, there is more room for experimenting with new solutions.

So what can we learn from the state successes that we can duplicate?

Change Begins Within

First, we should always remember that change begins at the level where we have control.  Frequently.  I’ve written here about the importance of starting with ourselves.  Any change starts from within.  Any change begins with their own thoughts, words and deeds.  We begin in our own sphere of influence, and then expand out as the potential becomes available.

Our country was formed on the basis of local governance.  Powers were granted first to the local level, and only by law delegated to higher levels.  Over time, many powers were transferred to the Federal level which originally were seen as the purview of state and local government.  Perhaps it’s time to regroup and reconsider where our change efforts should start.  Maybe collectively, our expectations on change should be directed at the local and state level.

Focus on Our Commonalities

Second, we should always remember to focus upon our commonalities before our differences.  At the local level, it’s much easier to remember that we all live in the same neighborhoods, shop at the same stores, face the same issues.  At the local level, it’s much easier to be friends, and to act first from the level of friendship rather than from the level who belongs to which political party.

Celebrate Success

Third, we should always remember to seek out successes and give more energy to them than to any perceived failures.  This is the Law of Attraction in action.  Quit “tearing things down” with negativity.  Instead, build up that which we want to see more of by celebrating it.

We have plenty of successes to celebrate.



Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!