The Toolbox: Resource Collection
This page is a topic-searchable index of ALL of the counterfear resources. Resources are links to helpful outside items, along with any details or a blurb. These are not endorsements; just resources. Use the "tag" topic buttons below to check out specific resources by subject, or click the "VIEW ALL" button to restore the entire list. This same search functionality is available on The Blog for finding posts by topic, and on the Events page. Resources tagged "core resources, ideas, and tools" are just that; the core of the counterfear idea.
Of note, our core recommendations for navigating the COVID-19 pandemic are community, connection, problem-solving, and resilience. The 25 Focus Areas are designed to help navigate disruption; each has its own tag and page.
Counterfear Tools in The Blog
From the site: "The good news is, all over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community."
"1776 is a global incubator and seed fund helping startups transform industries that impact millions of lives every day - education, energy & sustainability, health, transportation and cities."
From the homepage: "WE ARE #500 STRONG: Meet our badass, global family of startup founders, mentors, and investors." From the About page: "500 Startups is a global venture capital seed fund with a network of startup programs headquartered in Silicon Valley with over $350M in committed capital across 4 main funds and 13 micro funds." This site is an excellent resource and potential amplifier for startup or tech-enabled businesses. Previously known as "500 Startups." Also check out 500 LABS.
"500 LABS is a startup studio that partners with founders, designers and engineers and experiments with many ideas to build a few companies a year." Also check out 500, previously known as "500 Startups."
"Where the World Meets Startups." A community of startups and investors who make fundraising efficient. Find a startup job, post a job, raise money online, and invest in startups.
A Seth's Blog post about partnership, collusion, and "organizing the weaker side." Written for the example of Amazon's search for a new city for a second HQ, with interesting perspective for economic development and visions we want for our communities. Also helpful for the #opposition and #resistance.
"A New Species of Trouble: Explorations in Disaster, Trauma, and Community," by Kai Erikson. From the book jacket: "In the stories and feelings of the victims of these disasters, the author finds striking similarities. Fear, self-doubt, the erosion of a sense of security - the author finds these too among people who have suffered prolonged homeless-ness. These human experiences, the author says, add up to a form of trauma extending not just to individuals but to whole communities... The author shows how risks to indiviuals and the social fabric have heightened in the modern age. The seven gripping accounts in this book are his impassioned pleas that we recognize this new species of troube and do more to protect people from it."
"Ascension: Connecting With the Immortal Masters and Beings of Light," by Susan Shumsky. The counterfear relevance of this book is noted in the epilogue of the blog post "I Took the Red Pill: Why I'm on the Counterfear Path."
"Beyond the Storms," Strengthening Homeland Security and Disaster Management to Achieve Resilience," by Dane S. Egli. Also see this USA Today article.
"Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow," by Elizabeth Lesser.
"Citizen You: Doing Your Part to Change the World," by Jonathan M. Tisch. The author's introduction to the book is in this article, and a one-page PDF interview is available here.
"Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed," by Jared Diamond. A TED talk is available here, and posted to videos.
"Depletion and Abundance: Life on the New Homefront - or, One Woman's Solutions to Finding Abundance for Your Family while Coming to Terms with Peak Oil, Climate Change, and Hard Times," by Sharon Astyk. A Sharon Astyk blog is here. Check out this book review from homestead.org.nnHere is an excerpt from another review at The Blogging Bookworm, "Astyk's book is a reminder of the power of individuals to make a difference in the world during times of crisis. In New Orleans in 2005, it was Hurricane Katrina. Now we face... climate chaos, war, and energy depletion... People are struggling to hold on to their homes, to pay for their groceries, to know what to do next... If you are like me, this book will make you rethink your assumptions about population, about the separation of public and private, about the global impact of creating local economies. As Green Bean said in her recent review, Depletion and Abundance is both troubling and reassuring. It will make you have moments of panic and it will also make you commit to creating a just and meaningful life." The Blogging Bookworm review author says "I finished the book with a feeling not only of hope, but also with a feeling of radical responsibility."
Get a FREE PDF of this book at the link above. More about the report and initiative at this site: Disaster Resilience in America: Launching A National Conversation.
"Everybody Matters: My Life Giving Voice," by Mary Robinson. Also see the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice website.
"Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story," by Lila Perl and Marion Blumenthal Lazan. Also see video of Ms. Blumenthal Lazan speaking here.
"Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide," by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The parent website at the link has a number of video and other resources as well. The site linked above says, "Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential." For this reason, items tagged "half the sky" on http://counterfear.com/ reference women, girls, and related topics. #HalfTheSky
"Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives," by Michael Newton. From the website: "Now a best-selling classic, Journey of Souls summarizes Dr. Michael Newton’s research and work with individuals whom he placed in a state of deep hypnosis during which they recalled their experiences between lives as eternal spirits." The Newton Institute is also listed as a Counterfear resource - check it out to find related additional books, resources, and contacts.
"Lucid Dreaming - Plain and Simple: Tips and Techniques for Insight, Creativity, and Personal Growth," by Robert Waggoner and Caroline McCready. From the website: "Aimed at beginners, Lucid Dreaming, Plain and Simple shows the reader how to enter and fully experience the lucid dream." Iowa author Robert Waggoner has been the co-editor of the online magazine The Lucid Dreaming Experience for the past ten years. Waggoner has been a lucid dreamer since 1975, and has logged over 1,000 lucid dreams.
"Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self," by Iowa author Robert Waggoner. From the website, "Lucid Dreaming offers exciting insights and vivid illustrations that will intrigue not only avid dreamworkers but anyone who is interested in consciousness, identity, and the nature of reality."
"Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World," by Adam Grant. From the book jacket, "Using surprising studies and stories spanning the worlds of business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant debunks the common belief that successful non-conformists are born leaders who boldly embrace risk. Originals explains now anyone can spot opportunities for change, recognize a good idea, overcome anxiety and ambivalence, and make suggestions without being silenced."
Check out this book by Eben Alexander, M.D., "Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife." Videos also available on the author's website.
"Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life," by Eric Greitens, Navy SEAL.
"Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution." by Brene Brown, PhD, LMSW. Brene Brown also has a number of classic videos and TED talks that will be available on The Counterfear Toolbox videos page (coming soon) or on the Google.
"Stress-Free Sustainability: Leverage Your Emotions, Avoid Burnout, and Influence Anyone," by Adam Hammes, an Iowa author based in Des Moines. Interview here.
"The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States."
"The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open World," by Andrew S. Winston. See video also at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxYKO7oICiw.
"The Culture of Fear - Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things: Crime, Drugs, Minorities, Teen Moms, Killer Kids, Mutant Microbes, Plane Crashes, Road Rage, & So Much More." Good summary of the book and the point of it here. The major take-away from this resource is about some of the un-necessity of much of the fear we experience, and why that happens. I do disagree with some of the specific case studes, and some are out-dated. The primary point, however, makes it worthwhile as a resource.
"The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation," by Stephen Flynn. A cornerstone book to resilience thinking in the United States. Review by Paul Stockton from Homeland Security affairs. Reference to the book from the Council on Foreign Relations.
"The Fear Cure: Cultivating Courage as Medicine for the Body, Mind, and Soul," by Lissa Rankin, M.D.
"The Four Agreements: A Toltec Wisdom Book," by Don Miguel Ruiz. The Four Agreements are an excellent foundation for partnership and community. These are useful at the beginning of a gathering or teamwork experience, and to revisit throughout the work. These are useful for any partnership or agreement, used for anything from homeland security or mutual aid to a small spiritual gathering. A summary of the agreements is here.
"The Gift of Fear: and Other Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence," by Gavin de Becker.
"The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World," by Paul Gilding. This is a Counterfear Anchorpoint. From the author's website: "It’s time to stop just worrying about climate change, says Paul Gilding. We need instead to brace for impact because global crisis is no longer avoidable. This Great Disruption started in 2008, with spiking food and oil prices and dramatic ecological changes, such as the melting ice caps. It is not simply about fossil fuels and carbon footprints. We have come to the end of Economic Growth, Version 1.0, a world economy based on consumption and waste, where we lived beyond the means of our planet’s ecosystems and resources. The Great Disruption offers a stark and unflinching look at the challenge humanity faces-yet also a deeply optimistic message. The coming decades will see loss, suffering, and conflict as our planetary overdraft is paid; however, they will also bring out the best humanity can offer: compassion, innovation, resilience, and adaptability."
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," by Douglas Adams. The first of five books in the "increasingly inaccurately named 'Hitchhiker's Trilogy.'" The classic science-fiction-comedy that created the mini-genre. One counterfear tool derived from the series is the "Somebody Else's Problem Field," in the "Sphere of Control" blog post.
"The Power of Resilience: How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected," by Dr. Yossi Sheffi of MIT. An excerpt from the website summary: "The interconnectedness of the global economy today means that unexpected events in one corner of the globe can ripple through the world’s supply chain and affect customers everywhere. In this book, Yossi Sheffi shows why modern vulnerabilities call for innovative processes and tools for creating and embedding corporate resilience and risk management. Sheffi offers fascinating case studies that illustrate how companies have prepared for, coped with, and come out stronger following disruption."
From author Chris McGoff in Part 1 of the book: "How do some people, organizations, and coalitions thrive in uncertain times? What enables them to appear so certain and take decisive action amid ambiguity about the future?" The PRIMES website says "The PRIMES are universal patterns of group behavior that outfit you to work with any group to solve any problem - especially the big ones." The PRIMES book notes "... Here's the deal. Almost all the tame problems have been solved. We get to solve the wicked problems. Wicked problems affect a lot of peple and it takes a lot of people, all with their own agendas, to collaborate and solve them. ... The people who, amid uncertainty, successfully lead large problem-solving groups share these characteristics. First, they are clear about what they are up to and how they spend their precious time. Second, they are intentional and willing to go first. Finally, they have mastered the art of enrolling others to join them." The PRIMES website also has short videos and info about each of The PRIMES. Another core counterfear resource is Chris McGoff's TEDx Rock Creek talk on "Quad4: Realm of Your Highest Impact and Highest Risk." The author's company The Clearing has done significant work on wicked problems in many counterfear focus areas.
"The Resilient Enterprise: Overcoming Vulnerability for Competitive Advantage," by Yossi Sheffi. Also check out this video.
"The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism," by Naomi Klein.
"The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference," by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell also asks the question "Are You a Connector" in this piece. More here and here on Connectors, Mavens, and Salespersons.
This LA Times book review provides an excellent summary for a book that has been getting some attention in 2016. The book review article cites the last chapter of the book as stating, "the extent to which our government and the media participate in this endemic paranoia is damaging in that, apart from doing the terrorists' job for them, which is to terrorize, it helps crowd out more serious issues the planet faces. Climate change is far less telegenic than jihad."
The Community & Regional Resilience Institute (CARRI) "strengthens our national resilience by assisting communities in understanding their vulnerability, taking positive collective actions to limit the impact of disruptive crisis, and recovering rapidly from disaster of all kinds." CARRi is now part of a non-profit based in Washington, DC, and was originally funded by the US Department of Homeland Security and housed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
"Cybersecurity in Your Neighborhood: Why Public-Private Partnerships Matter." Event transcript available here.
Disaster Resilience in America: Launching a National Conversation. A National Academy of Sciences Initiative.
"The Disaster Resistant Communities Group was established to provide a host of disaster planning and preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation services to local, regional, state and national agencies and departments as well as community and faith based organizations." Excellent resource, including for free training and exercises.
From the website: "Jeremy Taylor, an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, has worked with dreams for over forty years; he blends the values of spirituality with an active social conscience and a Jungian perspective." Jeremy Taylor's work is the basis that many groups around the world to do dream work and analysis together. Taylor notes that all dreams come in the service of health and wholeness, and that any dream that is shared is meant for all who hear it. His process of group dream work includes the idea that you take any dream for yourself, and analyze it from the perspective of "if it were my dream." Taylor has used dream work to foster community, build connection, and create unity - in urban and other areas where division has been deep.
About: "We empower philanthropists to leverage their resources and amplify their impact. Exponent Philanthropy is the country’s largest association of funders - nearly 2,200 members strong - and the only one dedicated to serving foundations with few or no staff, philanthropic families, and individual donors."
"FIT empowers humans to create cutting-edge disaster solutions... FIT uses a three-step design process to help communities understand the core issues and needs that are not being addressed in a given crisis. Communities are then self-empowered to tackle issues related to disaster risk reduction, preparedness, response, recovery, climate change, and sustainable resiliency... FIT practices co-creation and open source solution sharing to increase community resilience and change the world, one neighborhood at a time."
Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC): "The only industry forum for collaboration on critical security threats facing the global financial services sector. When attacks occur, early warning and expert advice can mean the difference between business continuity and widespread business catastrophe. Members of the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) worldwide receive timely notification and authoritative information specifically designed to help protect critical systems and assets from physical and cyber security threats."
The Global Insurance Accelerator based in Des Moines, Iowa "is a mentor-driven business accelerator designed to foster innovation in the insurance industry by supporting startups targeting the global insurance industry."
GoDaddy is a website domain and hosting company - among other things - and has offices in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Counterfear LLC owned domains are all managed through GoDaddy, as a company doing business in Iowa.
A coworking and entrepeneurial space in downtown Des Moines, IA.
"We all have a hero inside of us. When a catastrophe strikes, our heroes are called upon. In the heroic improvisation practice, we practice how to be ready to put on our proverbial capes and fly. Disaster preparation training might not like sound fun... knowing how to act heroically with others is the key. What determines success when catastrophe strikes is our ability to listen, trust and act together... Potential danger requires us to know the plan of action, and chaos requires us to improvise responses to execute it. The heroic improvisation workshop puts us in a chaotic situation and gives us the felt-sense of moving into action together in a high stakes situation."
Excellent resource to look at how we can "hold space" for people and the world.
From the article, "What does it mean to hold space for someone else? It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control."
From this New York Times article: "'What we have is a war between two food systems, a traditional diet of real food once produced by the farmers around you and the producers of ultra-processed food designed to be over-consumed and which in some cases are addictive,' said Carlos A. Monteiro, a professor of nutrition and public health at the University of São Paulo. 'It’s a war,' he said, 'but one food system has disproportionately more power than the other.'" Important reading on food, diet, and the direction it is going.
Mission Statement: "The Institute for Healing of Memories-North America seeks to contribute to the healing journey of individuals, communities and nations. It provides emotional and spiritual healing to people recovering from painful or traumatic experiences and offers seminars and public presentations to inform other individuals and organizations about its work. It also trains other care providers to use its methods."
"Sector-based Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs) collaborate and coordinate with each other via the National Council of ISACs (NCI). Formed in 2003, the NCI today comprises 24 organizations designated by their sectors as their information sharing and operational arms. The NCI is a true cross-sector partnership, providing a forum for sharing cyber and physical threats and mitigation strategies among ISACs and with government and private sector partners during both steady-state conditions and incidents requiring cross-sector response. ...Council members are present on the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) watch floor, and NCI representatives can embed with National Infrastructure Coordinating Center (NICC) during significant national incidents."
Check out this list of co-working communities in Iowa, assembled by Gravitate, "the entrepeneurial center of gravity in downtown Des Moines."
From Wikipedia: "Deemed an inspirational film, Atchison remarked that his theme for the film was about overcoming obstacles despite difficult challenges along the way... The film alludes to the importance of community... It also deals with esteem and stigma in school while criticizes the public school system. Cast members said that although the film was aimed at children, they considered it had important lessons for the parents as well."
Beautiful movie on resilience, persistence, finding a way forward, building creativity, and connection. Stuff that matters.
What can be said? The Star Wars movie series may be the primary myth of our time. Episodes IV, V, and VI - the original series - are a foundation for finding the ways of The Force. Excellent Jedi wisdom and training from Yoda in Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back, and Episode VI, Return of the Jedi. Episodes I, II, and III are primarily useful as back story for the more deeply curious. Star Wars for a new generation came in with Episode VII, The Force Awakens. No spoilers here, but The Force Awakens truly is a myth for our time. It brings tools we need for the world we have in front of us. The myth and the metaphor are more powerful than we think. The newest Star Wars movie to be released is as fitting a myth for our time as The Force Awakens. Rogue One is powerful and unexpected. Myths and story bring to our consience the possible and the inspiration.
I was not expecting this to be probably the most profound movie I've ever seen - well beyond something like Star Wars (all eight) meets The Matrix (the first one). Also hilarious. Awesome #Team stuff. Here's a link to the official trailer for this movie.
This is an anchorpoint for the time that is now. This story follows the classic Hero's Journey. No spoilers, but this is the key to what we need.
Myth is a powerful tool, and this movies serves as an incredibly powerful myth, parable, inspiration, and model for our time. It is unexpectedly good, and powerful on many levels... the family elements, parenting, the spiritual, life itself, the power of teamwork, leveraging creativity, vision, dreaming, realizing, and the challenge and way forward for effective problem-solving, at scale. And of course, "Everything is Awesome."
If there was one movie that represents where we can go and who we can be in this amazing time of challenge - this is it. This is how we navigate disruption, find a way forward, and counterfear. Who would have thought?
Finale song from the movie "Save the Last Dance." The music alone is an amplifier, but the final scene in the movie with this song is even more so. Excerpted lyrics below are from here:
"It's the chance of life, get ready, set, fly high.
Above the fear of your mind, go for it.
It's hit or miss, too late for you to quit.
You gotta show 'em how bad you really want this, so...
Live your dreams, it's not as hard as it may seem.
You gotta work to get the green, on your hopes you must lean
From your fears, you have to wean yourself.
It's all or nothing, give your everything...
...Are what you believe, you got to bring the dreams.
Set the pace, competitions take the lead.
This is it, all eyes on you.
So stay on point and prove,
that you deserve whats long overdue...
...My heart is still recovering,
From the heartbreak of another kind,
I'm still drying my tears.
Getting over my own fears in my life.
So I wanna make sure this time that I'm strong enough,
To give it my all...
...So you gotta live your dreams,
So don't you be afraid.
Just set the pace, and take the lead,
It's your time to shine.
This song is in the resource section because it is hilarious, much like "The Lego Movie" that it came from (2014). And then there's the fact that "counterfear" is all about "the opposite of darkness" vs. the focus of this song: DARKNESS. It's funnier when you have the movie context to add irony, but it's pretty good either way. LYRICS, via a double-length (repeated verse) version here: "Darkness / No parents / Continued darkness / More darkness / Get it? / The opposite of light!!! / Black hole / Curtains drawn / In the basement / Middle of the night / Blacked out windows / Black suit / Black coffee / You get it that's just the first verse! / Darkness / No parents / Super rich / Kinda makes it better!!!!!"
Some roots go so deep that they're unexplainable. Ties that bind. This song is posted in honor of those - they are our anchors.
Quality programming from CBS' Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. 2:08 min.
Craig and company sync to "I Will Melt With You," by Modern English, on CBS' Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
Theme song from The Lego Movie. Intro lyrics from Google Play: "Everything is awesome / Everything is cool when you're part of a team / Everything is awesome when we're living our dream / Everything is better when we stick together / Side by side, you and I gonna win forever, let's party forever / We're the same, I'm like you, you're like me, we're all working in harmony..."
Video of "Feel Good Inc.," by Gorillaz. Not censored.
"Feel so close" - Calvin Harris. "I feel so close to you right now." If you are looking for a video of community and neighbors and fun and people taking care of each other, this is hard to beat. Fantastic. I learned of this video when I friend I was rooming with at an amazing convention woke up with the lyrics in her head from a dream. We Googled it, and this came up. We should have expected nothing less.
Gangsta's Paradise, with closed-captioning. Lyrics included on the YouTube page.
Official Lyrics Minions Version of Pharrell Williams' "Happy," from the Despicable Me 2 movie soundtrack. From the YouTube: "check out http://24hoursofhappy.com to experience the world's first 24 hour music video!"
From The Walking Dead collection. With lyrics. A good anchor for going through a tough time... like a big move, or a leg break, or a career change, or a bunch of stuff like that all at once. Here is the original scene, although it makes more sense if you've been watching the show.
Added 8/26/16. Lyrics here. "So I, I bet my life, I bet my life, I bet my life on you..."
"Tubthumping," by Chumbawamba. It's no secret that this song is about drinking, but the chorus is fantastic for thinking resilience: "I get knocked down... but I get up again... you are never gonna keep me down...."
"Changes" Lyric Video, by Longhorne Slim & The Law.
You can't beat this if you need an inspirational-leaping-or-fighter-type song... "Livin' on a Prayer," by Bon Jovi. A sparkly diamond from the world of 1986.
My gypsy road couldn't take me home either, so I finally switched roads. A little something for the GenX crowd; an homage to roots & home... and the road.
"Start livin', that's the next thing on my list..."
"No Time to Kill," song by Clint Black. Lyrics here.
Excerpt: "No time to kill, even I've said it, and probably always will... But I can look ahead and see that time ain't standin' still... No time to kill but time to change the kind of hurry I've been in... And quit this work and worry lookin' back at where I've been... If you don't look ahead nobody will, there's no time to kill."
"Paradise City" by Guns N' Roses.
This song does not meet any particular counterfear goal except that it kept me sane through countless stop-and-go commutes in the Washington, DC area. Some time after the song came out, there was some fuss over the lyrics having to do with shooting and guns and running, which would have been obvious to anyone who actually listened to the lyrics in the first place.
Fantastic music & community/neighbor/people video. Michael Franti & Spearhead - "Say Hey (I Love You)." Try dancing around to this one for a while. If you need an extra laugh on top of all this happiness, try "Craig Ferguson Says Hey! I Love you!" There may be puppets. Just saying.
State of Mind song, by Clint Black. Lyrics here. Excerpt: "It can make a right from a wrong, it can make you fall in love, It can get you singin' along, Chase the clouds away and make the sun shine above. A melody can bring back a memory, Take you to another place in time, Completely change your state of mind."
Thrift Shop (featuring Wanz) by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. UNCENSORED.
The "Top Gun" movie anthem, by Harold Faltermeyer and Steve Stevens.
From the Walking Dead collection. Posted 9/11/2017. Lyrics here. "I'm going to get myself in fighting trim; Scope out every angle of unfair advantage..."
Katrina & The Waves (not the hurricane) - "Walking on Sunshine." One of the best-ever quick-pick-me-ups -
"We Are Young," by Fun, featuring Janelle Monae. Disturbing opening lyrics in what sounds like domestic violence, which is not okay. The chorus resonates: "Tonight... we are young... so let's set the world on fire... we can burn brighter... than the sun..."
This here is the version of "Wonderful Night" by Fatboy Slim, as shown on CBS' Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Hilarious. Maybe not for kiddos.
"One Billion Rising is the biggest mass action to end violence against women in human history." Also links to environmental justice and fighting the rise of tyranny.
From their website: "Over 10,000 volunteers in every state (including Alaska and Hawaii) who have written over half a million postcards to voters in dozens of key, close elections." Excellent example of how to amplify.
According to his MIT bio, Dr. Yossi Sheffi is "an expert in systems optimization, risk analysis, and supply chain management, which are the subjects he teaches and researches at MIT." He has published two excellent books on resilience: The Power of Resilience: How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected, and The Resilient Enterprise: Overcoming Vulnerability for Competitive Advantage.
From the website: "Small groups of 8-15 people can form Resilience Circles for learning, mutual aid and social action. Circles are a great way to form community, build resilience, and have fun."
Fantastic go-to spot for resilience resources, news, and organizations.
Mission: "Resource Generation organizes young people with wealth and class privilege in the U.S. to become transformative leaders working towards the equitable distribution of wealth, land and power." This organization looks like an amplifier and a change agent.
"Thoughts on travel, photography, code schools, venture capital, growing startups and small businesses." This site is also the heart of Paul Singh and Dana Duncan's 2016 trip across the US to amplify all of the above.
Excellent (and short) Washington Post article "If You See Something, Make Sure It’s Actually Something Before You Call It Terrorism." The story references the US Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) "See Something Say Something" campaign, and part of what that is really about. It isn't about calling in anyone who is different than you (as I mention in this blog), but about rooting out real extremism.
An excerpt: "Recruitment by radicals, violent ideas, criminal acts - those are real somethings. Wearing a hijab, speaking or writing Arabic, or being Muslims is simply being American. And it’s time we learn the difference."
Seth's Blog is an excellent resource for wisdom, inspiration, vision, motivation, and follow-through. It is also a great resource for further resources. Very worth receiving in a daily email or RSS feed.
The Shift the Country white paper is the basic foundation for the 501(c)(4) organization, mission, and initial operations.
"An Unlikely Hurricane Hero Takes Over Chaotic Texas Storm Shelter." News story about a man with no background or training who spontaneously led operations at a shelter during Hurricane Harvey in Texas. Excellent example of real-life Heroic Improv. As a fire chief friend says, "Lead, follow, or get out of the way." Anyone can lead.
"StartupDrinks is an interactive networking event for entrepreneurs & startup enthusiasts interested in connecting with great people building innovative things. Monthly events [in Iowa] are held in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City."
"In just 54 hours, you will experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup. As you learn how to create a real company, you'll meet the very best mentors, investors, cofounders, and sponsors who are ready to help you get started. Your community is here to help you — find an event today!"
"Synergos is a global nonprofit organization that brings people together to solve complex problems of poverty. We work on issues such as health, nutrition, agriculture, and youth employment - creating opportunities for individuals and communities to thrive. Systemic change requires collaboration. Solutions to poverty are often built in silos - and therefore fail. Governments, civil society, nongovernmental organizations, corporations, marginalized communities, and other participants in systemic change must work together - not in silos - to achieve long-term solutions to poverty around the world. Synergos creates, promotes, and sustains collaborations among business, government, civil society, and marginalized communities around the world. We foster successful collaborations by building trust, designing and implementing change processes, and enhancing the effectiveness of bridging leaders and institutions. Our advantage is an approach that builds trust among partners so they can create solutions together, rather than imposing top-down solutions."
"The Dream Corps was founded by Van Jones in 2014 to help cutting-edge initiatives grow big enough to impact millions of lives. Our slogan is '21st-century jobs, not jails.' We support economic, environmental and criminal justice innovators - all under one roof. Our shared platform helps leaders create synergies, leapfrog obstacles and maximize impact. Every day, we are reshaping 'what’s possible' in the field of social justice. The Dream Corps finds aspiring leaders who have the courage and determination to tackle America’s toughest challenges. Then we connect them to world-class partners, smart digital tools and national media platforms to help them succeed. We back initiatives that close prison doors and open doors of opportunity." Current work is on three programs, described on the "About" page.
Iowa author Robert Waggoner has been the co-editor of the online magazine The Lucid Dreaming Experience for the past ten years. Waggoner has been a lucid dreamer since 1975, and has logged over 1,000 lucid dreams.
The Newton Institute is a center dedicated to the work initially published in the book Journey of Souls - also a Counterfear resource.
Excellent blog post tool when you are "Stuck on What's Next." #FindAWayForward.
Pivot TV is a cable channel I found by accident after moving to the Midwest. After watching a few shows, I started to notice that some of their commercials appeared to be about taking some action in the world. Here's a bit of info from the Pivot TV link above: "Pivot is a network where what you watch does make a difference. With award-winning orginal programming, groundbreaking documentaries and exceptional films, you won't just be entertained – you’ll be inspired to become a part of the story. When you watch Pivot, we’ll give you the opportunity to take action on the issues raised in our content right from your screen or during the next commercial break." They appear to have some fantastic shows as well that I will now need to watch - and at least one show's website has information for building your own business. #thisisamplifying #counterfear
Cable network Pivot TV's launched a series called "Resilient Cities" in 2016. The first episode aired Friday, February 26th at 10:30p ET. Information is available here, and here.
The AMC TV Series "The Walking Dead" may not fit the inspirational/uplifting genre of some Counterfear tools, but it is a fantastic series. It is entirely about fear, countering fear, resilience, problem-solving, connection, community... and vision. It is also very much about creating and holding space... often quite literally. Also, disaster preparedness, security itself, emergency management, devolution, and is in the dystopian/post-apocalypse genre. Well worth the watch. Well, if you have a strong stomach.
From the site: "Vault is a community of founders, innovators, entrepreneurs, starters and creatives. In short, we're big idea people, and we're building the bright future of Iowa together."
Having "Community Conversations" is one of the core of the 15 civic engagement tools that can help Shift the Country. These conversations can be online or in-person or both, & single events or a series. They can help us with solving problems & building resilience where we are - like for the pandemic - and also things like re-imagining public safety and racial justice. 9/3/2020. This video is tied to several Shift the Country tools because it relates to several of them - and it is a key tool for doing civic engagement, if not made more challenging by the pandemic. Still, there are ways to make it work, to solve community problems, to drive community agendas, and to help people help each other through.
This is on how to deliberately create tipping points - or how to deliberately make something "go viral" either online or in the real world. Creating tipping points & leveraging social networks to do it is one of the 15 Civic Engagement Tools that help us make shift happen. It's also one of the 5 parts of our strategy to Shift the Country. Our "tipping points" tool online is here. This video is on the founder's wall on Facebook here. August 6, 2020.
We've got some heavy crisis going on in the US. Kids are facing it too. How can we help them be more resilient? And why would we want to? We can all navigate the unfolding disasters and crises the more resilient we *all* are. Helping kids get there can help them "bounce back" better. It's more flexible; less brittle. Adaptability helps us succeed in crisis, and we're going to keep having crisis for the next year or several. If we can learn to roll with adversity and move through it, we'll navigate it better. Plus, nationwide kids everywhere are having to deal with massive life changes and uncertainty as schools are reopening in unprecedented and sometimes dangerous ways. Or, kids are learning virtually. Or in a combination. And it may not stay in whatever formation it's starting in. Also, some families start out with less resilience to handle all of this uncertainty, risk, and challenge than others. Are there ways to help kids be more resilient, even in more intensely challenging situations? For more on resilience, go to https://counterfear.com/build-resilience/. Kit Ward-Crixell has created and run out-of-school-time programs for kids and teens since 2007 as a youth services librarian. Vanessa Burnett is a disaster management professional since 2000, working actively on increasing disaster, community, and economic resilience in the US since 2006. She is the founder of this nonprofit, called Shift the Country. 9/4/2020.
Holocaust survivor Marion Blumenthal Lazan lecture based on her book "Four Perfect Pebbles" - at Bradley University, Michel Student Center, Marty Theater, Peoria, IL.
So the US President isn't willing to commit to a peaceful transition of power. Now what? We have options for everyday actions. It's more than voting, and it's more than protesting. Check this out to find out more (also we do know how to spell - major typo in the video chyron though). 9/24/20. This video was livestreamed to our Shift the Country FB Page as well.
We can counter the individualism damaging the health and well-being of this country by looking after each other. Caring about people. Celebrating community. Having compassion. Embracing humanity. Anchoring in connection and community. Doing that can help make shift happen, too. This was originally broadcast on the Shift the Country Facebook page on August 15, 2020.
A quick look at the very practical principles at work in some of the biggest emergencies in the US that you can use for action & in every day life for getting through chaos. (Addendum: the video kind of blows through a key part about making a plan & executing it, and then iterating/evolving the plan and the execution of that plan regularly as the situation, resources, & risk change. Insert all that in the middle & it's a pretty decent quick overview.) This was broadcast originally on our Shift the Country Facebook Page on August 15, 2020.
Episode 001 of FB Live and other broadcasts to come. 8/1/2020. Executive Director Vanessa Burnett and Gary Monti from the Board of Directors kick off the series with a 60-minute overview of the work planned by the new Shift the Country nonprofit. In the spirit of adaptability, the first 3 minutes is dead air as we were working out the broadcast bumps. It's a work in progress. Broadcast covers the mission, 5 principles, 5-part strategy, 15 civic engagement tools, 10 structural change areas, and context and structure behind the work - such as countering tyranny, nationalist oligarchy, and addressing a massive pandemic catastrophe.
Originally titled "Disappeared Government Disaster Docs." Original broadcast August 29, 2020. UPDATE SEPTEMBER 27, 2020: FEMA HAS RE-POSTED THESE DOCUMENTS, OR FIXED THE LINKS. Although the documents have been replaced, this video still helps explain the "big picture" for how these pieces work together for US disaster response. ORIGINAL BROADCAST: The US is in a great disruption. We've got a pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes, a derecho, and governments failing citizens at every level. What were they supposed to be doing? This looks at the national framework for all of that - and at the documents that have gone missing from the FEMA website. Plus, we'll show you where the actual operational pandemic plan is - not the one disappeared by the Trump Administration at the National Security Council level, but the one in place for executive branch and national (state/local/tribal, too) action. UPDATE: a FEMA website check on 9/27/2020 indicated the documents have now been correctly linked, albeit with later versions from those posted this spring. FIOPs are now appropriately posted here: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-managers/national-preparedness/frameworks/federal-interagency-operational-plans, with links to the Incident Annexes including the pandemic one on the same page. NOTE: The currently active operational federal level "pandemic plan" is called the Biological Incident Annex to the Response and Recovery FIOPs. The direct PDF link is here: https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/fema_incident-annex_biological.pdf. NOTE: This is the official US government "pandemic plan" - it is different than the National Security Council pandemic plan that was reportedly thrown out by the Trump Administration. This video is part of the work to Shift the Country. It's part of understanding the risk landscape, and what government is supposed to be doing - which we can advocate for. For example, like advocating for attention and analysis on the "Biological Incident Annex to the Response and Recovery FIOPs."
Reaction to reporting that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has stopped in-person election interference intelligence briefings to Congress (see MSNBC story on this subject also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQjMkrolv8o). August 30, 2020. Also discusses certain areas for civic engagement related to this news and what it means for the US.
We talk a lot about trying not to get dead. This is on some of the tough decisions that can help with the staying alive. Awkward though. Also more emotional than expected. People are good, though. It sucks that we have to consider this kind of stuff. 24 minutes. Originally published on Facebook on August 7, 2020.
The world between now & the inauguration in the US is going to be like nothing we've ever seen. It's going to take everything we've got to get through it. This is a bit of how to do that. 9/25/20.
Is the chaos & disaster in the US getting to you? What's on your mind? What info are you looking for for getting through all of this? The founder here answers questions sent from Facebook. September 3, 2020. Discussion is mostly about how to get through February 2021.
"Quad4: Realm of Your Highest Impact and Highest Risk:" Chris McGoff at TEDxRockCreekPark. This is a Counterfear Anchorpoint, because it is a rare, short look at what we need to do to solve wicked problems. Also check out Chris McGoff's website and book "The PRIMES," another posted Counterfear resource. The website has videos and a summary of each of the PRIMES.
Shift the Country is a new nonprofit founded in this moment of great disruption to help people help each other through several simultaneous crises, to hold civil society and institutions together, to get voters engaged in doing all of that, and to make transformation along the way. This video is about that mission & why we're doing it. Original broadcast on our Shift the Country Facebook Page on August 6, 2020.
TED Talks are a great source for video inspiration, and many have gone viral. Check out TED.com or a smaller, local TEDx near you for more. From the site: "TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics - from science to business to global issues."
Video on "The Big Pivot - Whiteboard Animation," 3:12 min. Based on book by the same name, by Andrew Winston: http://www.andrewwinston.com/books/.
Excellent video summary of the book, posted 3/2011: "Author and leading security expert Stephen Flynn discusses The Edge of Disaster Rebuilding a Resilient Nation with Patricia Gras on a HoustonPBS the Connection Special. Are we vulnerable to disaster, terrorism or acts of God? Is America living on borrowed time? His book is a wake up call demanding that we shake off our denial and sense of helplessness and start preparing immediately for a safer future." See Counterfear Toolbox book resource link for book reviews.
"The Resilient Enterprise: Overcoming Vulnerability for Competitive Advantage," with Yossi Sheffi, recorded 11/2005. Sound is a little wonky partway through but improves through end. See Yossi Sheffi blog at MIT here. From the video post summary: "Yossi Sheffi fires a shot across the bow of business owners who, even after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, still have not assessed their organizations’ vulnerability to catastrophe. Sheffi piles on examples of organizations that simply did not have the appropriate mechanisms in place when disaster struck or evolved undetected." Also see book by the same name.
This TED talk by Seth Godin is one of the classics. From the video summary: In The Tribes We Lead, "Godin argues the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change. He urges us to do so." Check out Seth's Godin's blog here; it's the only blog I read daily (also posted as a resource).
We're in some stuff. This one is on the 5 main parts of the risk landscape in front of us between now and February - through the election and transition of administrations. Plus - how do we survive? August 30, 2020. The 5 main parts of the risk landscape include 1) the out of control coronavirus pandemic (and complex system interruptions and related cascading effects); 2) emerging authoritarianism in the US; 3) the influence of a growing nationalist oligarchy on destabilization in the US; 4) an information war with many fronts; 5) the election and transition of power. This also gets into the 5-part Shift the Country strategy to help us get through these next months.
We're pushing massive civic engagement in the US to help us through all the crisis and chaos in front of us. What the heck is that, anyway? This video gets into that. Here's our list of 15 civic engagement tools. It's a list for now as we're writing the tools - but if something jumps out, you can start doing it now. These are for us to make shift happen where we live. This video is also on the Shift the Country FB page. September 3, 2020.
The mission here at Shift the Country is to help people help each other through several simultaneous crises, to hold civil society and its institutions together, to get voters engaged in doing all of that, and to make transformation along the way. This video is on why civic engagement is such an enormous piece of all of that. This was originally published on August 15, 2020 on the Shift the Country Facebook page.
From the TED blurb: "Why do societies fail? With lessons from the Norse of Iron Age Greenland, deforested Easter Island and present-day Montana, Jared Diamond talks about the signs that collapse is near, and how - if we see it in time - we can prevent it."
The initiative to Shift the Country was built in the summer of 2020 for this highly unique & unprecedented moment in time. It's a whole set of wicked problems, & some were understood to be huge risks prior to this year. Our framework is set up to help people navigate the complex landscape of multiple disasters combined with active erosion of government institutions and active obstruction of response efforts. The first 48 minutes get into how magical thinking works & why it isn't helpful now. The second half gets into complex systems, a great disruption, and catastrophe and big disaster preparation in the US based on experience inside the federal systems that were supposed to be built to help with some of the current crises. This was originally broadcast on our Shift the Country Facebook Page on August 9, 2020.
There is always something viral and funny on the YouTube; it is a great counterfear tool. If you need a laugh and you're new to The Internet, try searching YouTube for "hilarious" + "cat". YouTube is a great source for a million other resources - from movies to training to inspiration.
Basics about getting to the 2016 Iowa Caucuses, how to register on-site, and participating.