Starts With Us | Starts With Us – Finding The Way Out Challenge

Finding the Way Out

A Once-a-Day Political Courage Challenge

This is an invitation to look deeply but kindly within yourself and work with others to fight the toxic division that’s tearing our country apart.  

Based on decades of research from Columbia University Professor and Starts With Us Expert-In-Residence Peter T. Coleman, Ph.D., it is designed to help shape new habits and norms for political tolerance and courageous compassion. Think of it as a personalized boot camp for building a healthier national culture and repairing broken relationships across differences. 

How to Prepare

1. Check Out the Science. To begin, take a moment to review the 5 scientific principles outlined above (from the book The Way Out: How to Overcome Toxic Polarization). 

2. Start Small. Begin with easier (5-minute) exercises to get going. If this 4-Week Challenge still feels too much, try our 7-Day Courage Challenge first. 

3. Locate the Tension. Start by reflecting carefully on how polarization is damaging your life and relationships, your role in it, and potential partners you might identify to reach out to. Make a note of it.

4. Make Time by Subtraction. Develop a clear sense of what you could stop doing each day to make time for these activities and reflections, like unplugging from your devices for an hour. It helps!

5. Find a Friend. Consider doing this challenge with a friend or co-worker, so that you have someone to complain to and celebrate with.

6. Innovate! If you feel so moved, design your own activity. Review the principle for the day, and give some thought to how you want to try it out.

If you find that the Challenge is helpful, please share it with your friends, family, co-workers, and community! We can do a lot by ourselves, but we can’t shift our culture of toxicity unless we do it together. Remember, it starts with us.

Building Block One: You!

Building Block Two: Your Political In-Group

Building Block Three: Your Politically-Challenged Relationships

Building Block Four: Community Mobilization