It was early evening and I was walking along a street in Toronto, shaking in my boots. It was pure nerves -- I was on my way to Salon Voltaire in September 2006 to give my first speech about what I described as a growing movement of people looking for positive, constructive, and hopeful ways to live their lives, help others, and change the world. Would I get thumbs up or down from this enlightened crowd?
To my everlasting delight, the speech was a huge hit and landed me a contract to write a book about this movement. I coined a phrase to describe the men and women who are carving out positive paths of service -- I called them "New Radicals." The book was published internationally by McGraw-Hill, New York in 2008 (it's full of inspiring stories as well as practical advice). Since then, it's been a whirlwind -- I was invited to write a Huffington Post column, and have been blogging and giving talks about these world-changers ever since. (Here's my HuffPost archive.)
In six years, the world has changed dramatically. And now people from all walks of life are talking about these ideas, and searching for ways to make a difference.
Now look how the idea is taking hold! I was thrilled when several readers shared the news that the Observer (a British newspaper) and NESTA, an organization that promotes innovation in the UK, have launched a program to help find and celebrate 50 people who are "actively changing Britain's communities for the better."
Here's how the Observer and NESTA describe what they're doing:
People across Britain are coming up with fresh, exciting and highly practical ways to tackle a range of challenges concerning health, community living, education, employment and the green economy, if the stream of applicants who have applied to be included in the first annual list of Britain's New Radicals, organised by the Observer and Nesta, is any guide. Ingenuity and innovation are the hallmarks. The final list of 50 will be published on 12 February.
Isn't that fantastic?
Whenever someone tells you the world's going to hell in a handbasket, tell them about the New Radicals. I'm traveling all year talking about this extraordinary shift in the way we see our potential to do something about what ails our world (including Chile -- yes, my book New Radicals is available in Spanish!). We're going global. Stay tuned.
Julia Moulden is a speaker, columnist, and author of "RIPE: Rich, Rewarding Work After 50", a 12-week course on discovering passion, purpose and possibility at midlife. Check out the video (a.k.a. book trailer!):
Be part of the "RIPE" community on HuffPost, Facebook and Twitter. Or feel free to email me via my website. Together, we are going to change this phase of life!
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