West Virginia is at a key inflection point.

Last week the Gallup-Healthways 2016 Community Well-Being Rankings were announced across the country. Reflecting on the results, we in West Virginia confronted once again our last place in self-reported scores in five areas: sense of purpose, social relationships, financial security, relationship to community, and physical health.

We can look back to the past with angst and anger, and place blame for what has led to this poor sense of well-being.

Or, instead, we can invest in a brighter future for our state.

I vote the latter.

Monday, several of us from WVU had the opportunity to visit with Governor Jim Justice; health leader Bill Crouch, who is director of the Department of Health and Human Resources, and Nick Casey, the Governor’s chief of Staff.

All of these leaders are committed to a brighter future for our state.

Whenever I spend time with Governor Justice, I cannot resist the feeling that this is indeed a moment of destiny for all of us.

He and I share a vision for greatness for West Virgina: We need to invest in our citizens, our infrastructure, our communities, our state and our future.

I know this is a tough time for many here and in the rest of the country. But, hardship brings people together and induces innovation.

Think the amazing community shown by the people of New York after 9/11.

This is our opportunity for great change, but it will only happen if we are together.

There is a mathematical formula for change:

  • D = dissatisfaction with the present
  • V = vision of a better future
  • F = finite data that demonstrates a better way
  • R = resistance to change

When D, V and F are multiplied together, change will happen – if the product is greater than R.

Having a burning platform for the future of our state is a critical factor in bringing us together to build a bright future.

We have this platform, which is the D.

With the Governor and other talented state and university leaders, like Gordon Gee, we have the vision for this great future, which is the V.

Moreover, we are generating the data that getting back to the foundation of community, love, safety, positive relationships, purpose and an abundant mindset can make all the difference, which is the F.

Do we have the faith in ourselves to overcome the resistance to change, the R?

I believe the answer is yes.

The time is now to rebuild families, neighborhoods and communities.

The time is now to get back to the roots of hospitality, foundational goodness and resilience of West Virginians.

However, I believe the truth of the matter is that the key to a better future is the belief in it.

The belief that we can and that we deserve this future.

From our state leaders to our citizens.

These investments will pay off and I hope we believe in ourselves enough to choose this path.

We will then create a path to a bright future for West Virginia and a beacon for the world.

 

(Photo credit: Jesse Wright, West Virginia Public Broadcasting)