I just checked three of Phoenix’s “most watched” news stations’ websites. What I found on the front pages were huge advertisements for the Billboard Music Awards, a story about a freeway being closed for a police situation, a story about two $1M Powerball tickets being sold in Arizona, a story about a person in his early 20’s being shot by police, a story about how our legislature has devoted $0 for Common Core curriculum development, and a story about Jodie Aries.

How is this “news”?

Not one story about someone doing something to positively impact others in a global society. Not one story celebrating an educator and the impact she has had on a young person’s development. Not one story about the significant research and development being done by local higher educational institutions and the impact it’ll have on our economy in the coming years.

I was also amazed at how much I was interrupted by pop-up advertisements to sell me the next best thing in specially-flavored tacos, vehicles with meaningless incremental improvements, and iStuff that provides no intrinsic value to human life. Free market capitalism has certainly raised the standard of living for those in western societies, but at what cost to those societies whose labor is exploited so that we can buy meaningless crap? It seems to me that the biggest ideas our society now has are becoming smaller and smaller in terms of how they’ll actually propel mankind forward. It’s like we’re preparing and eating hot dogs on our way to becoming great chefs. Why is it that humans seem to be working harder, longer and for less pay for corporations that treat them as disposable resources? Because we are unable to remove ourselves from consumerism’s death grip on our lives, I’m guessing America is part way through our own version of Japan’s lost decade.

So, what can you do to foster change?

Here are eight ways to get started:

1. Turn off your television, turn off the radio, and don’t allow pop-up ads on your web browser

2. Watch one ted.comthersa.org or dolectures.com video per day; start with this one from Sir Ken Robinson

3. Stop eating so many animal products and processed foods; these links will open your eyes significantly to the toll it is taking on society and your body – The China StudyForks Over KnivesEarthlings

4. Make physical activity a part of your daily life; check out TIGNUM and their four-pillared approach to sustainable high human performance

5. Travel internationally; you’ll see that the people in other countries are just like you and that our media is wonderful at yellow journalism

6. Have your heart broken; vulnerability is the key to deep, lasting and meaningful human connection…watch this video from Brene Brown for more insight

7. Volunteer; build a home for someone less fortunate, serve on a non-profit board, coach your kid’s little league team…do anything where you can be a positive role model for our youth and others

8. Change your mindset; thoughts become things and positive thinking will allow you to achieve your goals faster – read Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill

If I had a super power, it would be creating an environment for people to believe in themselves, to believe in the impossibility of their dreams, and to not let them spend their lives thinking about everything but a life lived meaningfully well. Instead of wanting to be relieved of the consequences of your decisions, embrace the opportunities wholeheartedly because you’ll learn and find the meaning of your life faster.

Unlock your potential…remove the negativity and focus on your life’s intent.