Follow the Fellows: Practice appreciation with The Appreciation Engine
This week’s guest post is by 2012 SoundCloud Community Fellow Stephanie Dub. Her project, The Appreciation Engine, is ready. Record and share your messages of appreciation online!
Opportunity is a funny thing. We often hear that something is a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” or that “opportunities like ‘this’ don’t come around that often,” or “if only the opportunity presented itself,” but my opinion? Opportunities are everywhere. Life isn’t about waiting for the right opportunity to present itself; it’s about recognizing an opportunity for what it is. And a lot of time that recognition starts with slowing down, acting with intent, prioritizing where to focus your energy, and above all staying positive.
There are a lot of not so positive forces in the world right now, especially on the Internet. There are time sucks, status updates and a lot of mindless creation and consumption when it comes to content. And I think all of that buzz sometimes unconsciously takes us away from recognizing opportunities; opportunities to connect and see and feel what matters, what’s around us.
When I started brainstorming ideas that would eventually become The Appreciation Engine, I had two goals in mind. 1. Use media- social, online, audio, technology etc.- to create good. And 2. Provide an opportunity to spread that goodness with ease.
The most logical way for me to figure out how to meet those two goals was to start by examining my own life. What drives me to create good? What opportunities do I have to share good and positive things?
Here’s how that process went:
I’m a big believer in the universe, signs, listening to your instinct, interconnectedness, and everything that comes with all of those super high level new agey words and concepts. And as I’ve gotten older, my ability to practice all of these concepts in my life is made possible by two simple things: stopping/slowing down to recognize all of the good things happening around me, and taking the time to give thanks for the opportunity to experience them. Now, this practice is easy when I’m happy, excited, or calm. Because hey, that stuff feels good. And when I feel good, I (like many others) want to share that feeling. But it’s harder to practice those two seemingly simple steps when I’m feeling stressed, worried, or scattered. But I guess that’s the nice thing about practice, you get better at doing the hard things that produce good outcomes. Simply put, the practice of appreciation has changed my life.
And then all of a sudden it became obvious. I want to create an online tool that makes it easy to recognize an opportunity to participate in one of the most basic and important human acts of interaction – feeling and sharing appreciation.
And thus, the engine was born. My goal, my vision, is that The Appreciation Engine will provide you an easy opportunity to experience the good producing effects that feeling and sharing appreciation can offer, and use media and technological connectedness to do it (not take away from it!). After a few weeks of hunkering down to design and build (with help from a tech professional ;)!) I am excited to announce that The Appreciation Engine is now live and ready for use!