Aké Satia is the Chief Vision Officer at Aké Satia, a Human Capital firm in the DC area focused on strengthening organizations by bolstering the intersection of people strategy and business strategy.



206 919 6440


The Activation of Peacefulness

The Mindset Series: Episode 3

Peacefulness is a mindset one activates and cultivates.

Have you ever wondered how peaceful the world is? How about the United States?
I have a hunch most of us would say the world and the United States are less peaceful today than five, ten, or twenty years ago. But why would we say so? Is the belief born of a panic-stricken reaction because someone nabbed a bicycle from a neighboring backyard? Or is fear aroused by watching an identity theft protection commercial while talking to an impostor claiming to be the IRS and demanding our social security number?
Rather than waxing philosophical, let us learn from others devoted to understanding this realm! 

The Global Peace Index (GPI), produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), is the world’s leading measure of global peacefulness. – In 2023, the findings revealed an unsurprising darkness, showing that the world has become .42% less peaceful since 2022. Furthermore, over the last 15 years, the average country score deteriorated by five percent: Of the 163 countries in the GPI, 95 recorded deteriorations, 66 recorded improvements, and two recorded no change in score.
If you call the United States home, you might wonder how it fared on the index. Unfortunately, the United States is one of the nations that saw a decline in peacefulness. For the 8th consecutive year, the United States saw a decrease in peacefulness, with its peace index score dropping by .38% over the past year.  

Seems gloomy! But where do we go from here?

Peace: A mindset we can choose!

Now you might be thinking, Aké, are we really going to plunge headfirst into despair today? We are entering the fourth week of the new year, and I feel pretty good about my 2024 resolutions! At the top of the list is maintaining a peaceful mindset! 😉
To this, I say, rest assured, this will not be a despairing episode! Instead, it will be an empowering exploration in the Mindset Series, as we delve into one of the most deeply desired human states: Peacefulness.

Many moons ago, the world seemed overcome by strife and rabid discontentment that manifested as world wars, civil unrest, and the like. Unfortunately, though time has passed, much remains the same. Over time, humans have often considered what it would take to create a peaceful state, and many have sacrificed their lives in pursuit of peace. Like many, I often wonder what it would take for the world to be as peaceful as a gentle breeze in the Adriatic Sea. Perhaps you do as well!
As with a sea, we might think peace is the outcome of favorable circumstances. – Minimum winds and moderate gusts. Or our kids doing well at school, our marriage flying high, and our job yielding great rewards! However, when we face reality, we realize that peacefulness is not the outcome of ideal circumstances but rather a mindset we embrace.

Over the last several months, the concept of peacefulness came to life as I traversed a rocky terrain with a friend/ client.

Traversing a rocky terrain

Thirteen months ago, on a Thursday evening, a dear friend I have known for over a decade contacted me by text regarding a mutual friend. We three met at work over a decade ago and quickly realized we had a similar sense of humor and enjoyed virgin drinks during Happy Hours in swanky restaurants. Over the years, we formed a strong bond across time zones and frequently engaged in Zoom-like calls before it was a thing! 😊 However, that evening, her text was unlike any other. – No salutation or discernible message. No jokes. Cryptic at best, it read: Aké, do not worry, but we need to talk ASAP! When are you available? 

Of course, as soon as my eyes saw the text, my heart and mind proceeded to do what it warned against. Panic-stricken, I called her. Once she answered the call, I said: What is wrong?
Struggling to maintain her composure, she responded: Do not worry, Aké. I just wanted to let you know that our dear friend was found unconscious on the floor in her office. She had a stroke and is at the hospital. Her family will keep us updated.

What? Where to now?

Our friend who had a stroke does not reside in the United States. Also, she is a kind, brilliant, and single woman, and most would say she is way too young to have a stroke. – As if there is a predestined, set, or ideal age for one to get a stroke!

Back to our story…

Did my friend deserve to have a stroke? Certainly not! She is kind, responsible, diligent, and healthy. But overnight, recovering from paralysis and other ailments became her reality, and she was left to contend with one question: How will I face this adversity?
As she explored this, several other questions surfaced relating to her priorities, and to make sense of the unanticipated challenge, she thought: Where did this come from? Should I blame my family for genes that left me prone to such a health catastrophe? Or henceforth, should I live convinced that fate is never on my side and has dealt me a bad hand? As these questions swirled around her mind, a beam of light shone in the dark, and as she fixed her eyes on the light, she contemplated a different scenario: In my reality, what mindset would enable me to go forward?

A Birth of a New Mind-set

A powerful question we often wrestle with during our lives is: How will I respond to resistance or what I perceive as resistance? – Natural disasters, human-made debacles, or catastrophes of self-infliction? My friend contemplated this much when she left the hospital and returned home.

As many of us have experienced, hospital stays are unique. – If one is fortunate to be around caring staff, one is surrounded by people keen on doing everything and anything to keep them safe, healthy, and comfortable. Thoughtfully, they do so as they know a peaceful state of mind is most conducive to healing. Ironically, in most cases, the opportunity to heal the mind and body truly begins when one returns home and begins to create a new normal. – As was the case for my friend. 

Soon after she returned home, we frequently chatted on the phone. This time, our conversations were markedly different from the past. – I did not ask her about work projects, grandiose ambitions, or her professional accomplishments. Neither did we catch up on the television shows that we both enjoy. Instead, we spent every discussion on what one might categorize as the small things. – I would ask her if she slept well and felt rested. Next, I would inquire about what she had to eat, how she was feeling, and how her family was doing.
In short order, I could tell she was frustrated with her progress. She felt she should be farther along, but her body was uncooperative. – Simple tasks like holding a pen and writing her name or pouring water into a glass had become a grand challenge. 

Resisting Resistance Through Peace

To help process her frustration, she read Adversity Brings Balance for the second time. Later, she informed me that the messages in the book resonated more profoundly because of her current struggles. Specifically, as a result of the stroke, her body was resisting movement, but she faced even greater resistance, i.e., The lure to give up and normalize living in pain. Sometimes, it seems easier to hang onto pain than to pursue joy. Or to remain a victim rather than become the heroine or hero of our own story. – Especially when embracing joy requires confronting fear and pursuing growth. In such an instance, resisting resistance seems like the most formidable obstacle in our path.

Weeks later, as we were chatting, she was downhearted, and we agreed that I would accompany her on a journey to stop observing her life and create it. – This led to a thrilling adventure!
Ironically, engaging with her was familiar because years ago, when we met, she was a senior-level manager in my client organization. At that time, she acted out the script her superiors authored. This time, I informed her that though she was still my client, she was the author, penning her life story. And this is a reality for all. However, though each of us writes our life story every day, it is a heavy responsibility to bear. For this reason, we might inadvertently or intentionally choose to delegate it. – This is a grave mistake!

Avoiding mistakes and embracing opportunities

To skirt this pit, I candidly offered suggestions and feedback while reassuring her that she was the capable author of her life story. The ultimate intention was for her to understand that my role was not to tell her what to do or to call the play. Instead, it was to shed light on potential opportunities, highlight pits on her path, and surface her strengths so that she could capitalize on them.

Within several weeks, she progressed significantly by embracing opportunities professionally and personally. – She furthered her learning, got additional certifications, invested in physical therapy and yoga, and strategically engaged with broad thinkers in her field of interest. Delightfully, she also purchased a home in her dream locale.
Most surprisingly, during one of our calls, she informed me that she had signed up for a 5K walkathon. I was stunned and thrilled to hear the news! With overwhelming support and determination, she completed the walkathon and signed up for a 10K walkathon the following month – which she completed with loved ones.

The value of cultivating a peaceful mindset

Recently, my friend celebrated the first anniversary of the stroke. To memorialize her recovery, we reflected on her physical and mental progress. Additionally, she acknowledged the peacefulness she had gained over the past year while entangled in the gnarliest thorn she encountered. Indeed, today, as her body regains its strength, her mind has become the strongest it has ever been.

Beautifully, she regularly tells me that now, she leads a very different life. – One characterized by peacefulness and tranquility where she knows her direction of travel but is not wedded to a specific outcome. Additionally, she is confident that she can withstand any challenge that comes her way. Appreciating all she has, being purposeful, and leaning on trusted friends enabled her to activate peace.

What are your eyes fixed on?

Friend, a peace that lasts is not the outcome of circumstance. – It is a mindset one activates. As 2024 goes on and our dreams tarry long, what are your eyes fixed on, and what are you cultivating?

For you and to you,


Image credit: Pexels | M-Venter



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *