It’s no longer something we can deny – the times and events we currently are experiencing in the world has certainly brought fear front and center; in our community, nation and worldwide. Perhaps the access to live news via our electronics makes it feel more prevalent today than any time in history, at least in my generation. Whether it is statistically true or not, it does not make it easy to live in modern-day life today. We are reminded of the daily risks going through heighten security in airports, Amber alerts on lit billboards , images of fires and storms destroying entire neighborhoods, acts of hatred and senseless shootings. Because of this, as a parent I practice daily check-ins with my family making sure that they are OK and discouraging them from making conscious choices that could potentially put them into harm’s way.
I could suggest that it may have something to do with the instruction of violent video games, however I don’t want to make this article all about what is wrong with the world and how we arrived at this place — but more importantly how to impact the energy that is driving more fear, more hatred and violence.
Imagine the paradox in trusting that it’s not more fear, anger and fighting that will solve this problem but more LOVE — contrary to what many may believe. Jose Miguel Sokoloff, a marketing executive, recently shared a perfect example of this in TEDx talk viewed by thousands titled “How We Used Christmas Lights to Fight Off War,” aired in 2015. This video had such an impact on me that I am committed to share the message with as many people as possible.
Jose Miguel was hired by the Colombian government to support a strategy to pull members out of the 50+ year old terrorist group called the Guerilla. The Guerilla’s have been responsible for generating lots of the corruption, violence and drug trade in this small nation located in South America, creating war amongst itself. In an attempt to disassemble these troops, Jose Miguel set out a plan to reach these individuals, believing that they themselves deeply desired to exit but did not know how nor trusted that they somehow could fit back in society if they did.
One of their first attempts started with taking thousands of Christmas lights and wrapping them around tall palm trees set in the middle of the jungle. It was known that many lived deep in the wooded areas and would somehow see these lights and perhaps stimulate a fond memory of childhood and family. The plan worked and several hundred guerillas exited the forces.
Jose’s people soon learned that most guerillas did not travel through the jungle but used the rivers. So the next plan included filling thousands of glow-in-the-dark balls with small gifts aimed at sending a message that they were not forgotten during the Christmas season. Gifts included rosary beads, pictures, poems, mementos. It worked! Several hundred more exited.
Building on the idea that connecting with their hearts was a powerful plan, Jose and his team decided to post pictures of these troops when they were young with their families, parents, friends and loved ones with messages that they were deeply missed and loved. (For safety reasons it was important to use younger pictures so they could not be recognized). Again the plan had amazing impact. These pictures triggered a memory for many of how life used to be for these rebels and that they mattered. It triggered several thousand exits.
One of the most powerful campaigns was during the World Cup. Columbia, a nation passionate about the game of soccer, knew that almost everyone loved and longed to be part of the energy and anticipation of the worlds most watched games. The campaign included celebrities, leaders and loved ones photographed at a soccer stadium pointing to an empty seat claiming that they were saving a seat just for them.“Please come and join us,” the ads read.
The impact was astounding. To date over 17,000 troops have exited the guerrillas without fighting, killing and force, but instead through the message of LOVE!
Consider this; what if the common denominator shared by every perpetrator of violence and hate may be a lack of love. Lack of love by others and most importantly the lack of love for oneself?
Stay tuned for the next article where I will continue this conversation and share some tips and tools to strengthen the love in your life.
Check out Jose Miguel Sokoloff’s amazing Tedx Talk below:
Life, career and wellness Coach
Stay tuned for the next article where I will continue this conversation and share some tips and tools to strengthen the love in your life….