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What if We Celebrated What’s Right with the World?

Here at the Goodness Exchange, we are all about small insights that can change the way you see the world around you. What if I told you we can take that one step further and alter our perspectives to see the world in an entirely new and better light!

Our guide for this leap is Dewitt Jones, a world-renowned National Geographic photographer, who has created a short, funny, and simply unforgettable talk that has changed the lives over a million people. 

If you haven’t seen this, enjoy a door opening on a world you will have access to from here on out.

Image: Man smiles out of an open window with laundry hanging on the line in front of him taken by Dewitt Jones
Courtesy of Dewitt Jones

It all starts when Dewitt asks himself one question: “Why does it seem like the world revolves around amplifying fear and scarcity?

After pondering that question, he flipped it and asked, “If there is still wonder and beauty in the world – which undoubtedly there is – then why do I seem to be giving my attention over to all the fear and scarcity?”

Now there is the better question! And with that, he formulated a plan:

“I just decided that if I had a choice between a world based in scarcity and fear and one based on possibility, then, man, I was choosing possibility.”

— Dewitt Jones

We can do that, too.

Let’s start with a quick thought experiment: When was the last time you were a part of a downward spiral conversation and someone said, “Well, let’s look on the bright side… “? It doesn’t happen much anymore. It seems like there aren’t many people defending the positive aspects of our world right now. But we are about to introduce you to someone who is perfectly positioned to change all that.

Now, more than ever, we have the perfect tool to be able to find happiness in our times: choice.

When we realize we can choose to see what’s right with the world, we start to see beauty and opportunity more often. And by doing away with the notion that there is only one “right” answer, we open the door to connections with others that we never knew were possible. Even the slightest shift in perspective can change everything.

Dewitt Jones knows a few things about reframing the world around him. As a professional photographer for National Geographic, he was tasked with bringing the wonders of the planet to millions of homes around the world. During his time as a professional photographer, he learned some profound lessons about the way we perceive the world. These are powerful insights that allow us to live a life of joy and possibility.

Hear what he has to say about how we can view our lives a little differently if we just switch our lens in his empowering talk from the TEDx stage:

Via: TEDx Talks 1

Lovely and inspiring. Best of all, it’s a worldview we can begin to practice immediately with no downsides!

To get started, my best advice is to watch Dewitt’s talk again, but this time, let things really soak in. I found that the first time through, I was so excited about all the moments that felt like a revelation that I missed a dozen other inspiring comments.

Like us, you probably had quite a few ah-ha moments yourself. Here are the four takeaways that struck us as most important for our daily lives:

1. We can choose what we celebrate by giving it our attention.
2. There is more than one right answer.

Celebrating what’s right begins with recognizing these two central tenants. They help us reframe how we look at the world. And by practicing them, we are able to understand the world in better balance with its very real beauty and wondrous complexity.

We have the choice: we can live in a world based on fear or scarcity, or one based on possibility.  No matter how bleak or devoid of possibility a situation may seem, if we can celebrate the best in it, we can find the perspective to transform it.

3. We can choose…

“The more that I went out and just celebrated the best in humanity the more I could see it.” — Dewitt Jones

When we manage what we are looking for very carefully (look for things to celebrate, even in tough situations), we will see more of the best in the world around us. Imagine how “reality” will shift if more people reconsidered their lenses!

4. There is no one right answer…

“So many things begin to change when we come at the world with the more than one right answer perspective. There are a thousand ways to come at any problem.”
— Dewitt Jones

When our expectations are not met, we often tune out and shut down. And in that impulse, we fail to engage possibility and often miss the most important answers. As you begin to find more and more right answers, you get more and more comfortable with reframing dashed expectations. After a while, you begin seeing them as opportunities for outcomes you never imagined.

Hitting an obstacle? Ask yourself, “What’s here to celebrate? What’s right with this situation?”

If choosing to see what right helps us begin the process of seeing the world in a more balanced way, knowing that there is more than one right answer to any problem allows us to start seeing opportunity everywhere.

And together, this reframing begins to compound that feeling that the world is full of boundless opportunity.

Image: Sunflower close up with a field of sunflowers in the background
Courtesy of Dewitt Jones

How to start celebrating what’s right with the world!

Perhaps it’s best to begin with embracing the practical value of Dewitt’s observations. What obstacle remains immovable in your personal or business life because you assume there is only one right answer? What intractable problems are out there just waiting for someone to come along and celebrate the good in the situation before diving into finding solutions? How would those solutions be improved by first taking into consideration what is working beautifully?

After seeing how this puts a spring in your step and that of many of the people around you, then it may be time to get philosophical about what’s going on.

Our reality is deeply shaped by the negative media. Now, it is often difficult to see the forest from the trees. Dewitt does a wonderful job helping us rise above all that too. He points out how the media bombards us with what’s wrong with the world and reminds us how easy it is to stare into that darkness because our brains have evolved to prioritize fear and scarcity. That capacity was what made our ancestors successful 40,000 years ago. Now though, we have evolved the intellect to ignore these ancient impulses and choose to focus on the good news.

We can’t deny what is wrong with the world. But we can position ourselves to be able to put those problems into a larger, more balanced picture. One that includes the beauty of the world. Only there we can see that there is far more right with the world than what is wrong with it!

Here are two practices that I’ve been consciously applying since seeing Dewitt’s TED Talk:

When we walk into a situation that seems full of chaos, we can pause to change our lens to one of celebration for a few moments, and ask ourselves, “What is there here to celebrate?”

When we consciously look for the light within others, even in a moment of intense negativity, and do the things that give them the courage to let their light shine out, they are uplifted and it graces us too!

Image: Cowboy puts his hand on a child's head as they ride horses next to each other
Courtesy of Dewitt Jones

What you can do now to change the world for everyone…

Dewitt Jones has founded a movement, Celebrate What’s Right, and you can find so much inspiration there!

Want to make celebration habit in your life? Celebrate What’s Right offers an e-course course called The Habit of Celebration. They make it easy to begin making celebration a habit instead of just a “nice idea”. The course is developed to help you shift your default lens on the world to one that sees possibility instead of problems. You can also join the Celebrate What’s Right Facebook group to connect with a community of like-minded thinkers sharing what they are celebrating!

The world is hungry for a “lens of celebration” instead of a lens of division. It is still an amazing world. We can change the future by changing what we give our attention to and focusing on the good news. And there are more small wonders in a drop of pond water than all the terrifying things in the world put together.

“How to find delight and passion? Fall in love with the world. Change your lens. Ask yourself more often, ‘What’s here to fall in love with?'” —Dewitt Jones

Stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda

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  1. Jones, Dewitt. “CELEBRATE WHAT’S RIGHT WITH THE WORLD! | Dewitt Jones | TEDxSouthLakeTahoe.” YouTube, TEDx Talks, 3 Jan. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD_1Eh6rqf8. Accessed 1 July 2019.
Image: Dr. Lynda

Lynda Ulrich


Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world.

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