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Positive Deviance

As part of my on-going re-invention project, I’ve unsubscribed from a long list of political newsletters. I’m so, so tired of The Daily Atrocity. I’m so, so tired of the negativity, hatred, and finger-pointing. So I made those e-mails go away and have started subscribing to sites like The Daily Good and John Robb’s newsletter, Resilient Communities. The latest Daily Good post landed in my in-box this morning and, in reading through the comments on the article, I ended up at a site that goes into quite a bit of detail about a concept known as Positive Deviance. The model was “invented”, if you will, by Jerry and Monique Sternin, who worked for Save the Children, when they were invited by the Vietnamese government in the early 1990s to address the problem of child malnutrition. They had 6 months to demonstrate that they could achieve results. The details of their journey of discovery are at the Daily Good website.

What I most like about sites like these are that they encourage people of good will to do something, instead of just wringing their hands in despair and lashing out at their enemies. Have I suddenly turned into a Pollyanna? Not at all – I see the problems very clearly but I see no point in continuing business as usual. We will get exactly nowhere by continuing on as we have done in the past. And that includes voting for Obama because we fear that Romney is worse. I made a contribution to Jill Stein’s presidential campaign the other night and felt good about it. I support those who support positive change, not the business-as-usual behavior that has gotten us into the very serious trouble that we are only starting to discern.

It is time to re-learn that we, the people, do have the power to change our situations. We can no longer rely on The Experts, because they have led us down a path of failure. It is up to us to solve our problems. It is time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

1 Comment on “Positive Deviance”

  1. #1 Beth
    on Sep 11th, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I really like the phrase “positive deviance.” And I like the idea of working in a positive way for change rather then pointless hand-wringing and name-calling. And even though I know you and I don’t agree about our choices for president (I don’t FEAR that Romney would be worse, I KNOW it), I do applaud your turn to the positive, Jeff.

    Speaking of that, I’d love to see some posts about hobbit houses. 🙂

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