The great majority of the world is filled with wonderful people who want the same thing: A life of meaning and purpose, joy, friends and family, impact and fulfillment — however they define each. The media focuses on the tiny percentage of people and events that are horrible, and on a planet of more than 8 billion people, there are always examples. But the good far outnumber the bad. I’ve traveled the world since living abroad as a student, and there is no place on earth where I haven’t found this truth.
Reading the news can be so demoralizing: climate change, war, fires, epidemics, rogue AI, mental health challenges, authoritarianism, extreme partisanship. But humans need hope. In order for us to create a positive future, we need to be able to have hope that there can be a positive future. What is the “Case for Optimism” over the next decades? What can we look forward to and hope for to help us strive for a more positive future?
In this series, we aim to explore and highlight the positive aspects, potential breakthroughs, and reasons for optimism that lie ahead in the coming decade and beyond. We are talking to authors, researchers, entrepreneurs, scientists, futurists, and other experts who can shed light on the exciting advancements, innovations, and opportunities that await us. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Christine Heckart, CEO of Xapa World.
Christine Heckart is a 30-year veteran of the tech industry with a track record of creating new products and market categories. Her latest company, Xapa World, is a mobile app that helps people “Get Filthy Enriched™” and represents a unique way to consume all forms of personal improvement and professional development. She has previously held executive management and board positions at some of the industry’s most iconic companies, and was named one of the ten top strategic thinkers and 50 most powerful people in the technology industry before she was thirty, one of the Fifty Most Powerful Women in Technology, a 2016 Woman of Influence, a Top 100 Silicon Valley Female Leaders, and a 2020 Top Women in Cloud.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was a relatively isolated kid who grew up in the Colorado countryside with a spectacular view of the Rocky Mountains, a horse, a motorcycle, a little brother and no friends within walking distance. As a latch-key kid, I learned independence and the value of friendship and community. These early experiences shaped my values of courage, compassion, belonging and cherishing nature.
What or who inspired you to start your current company? We’d love to hear the story.
At the start of 2021 I was out of my CEO job, thanks to a successful exit, and looking around at a world filled with loneliness, despair, and anger. Technology was fanning these flames with algorithms designed not to engage, but to enrage, gaslight, and incite. Unfortunately, there’s a proven engagement formula built around anger, fear, and division.
So in 2021, together with a few friends, we asked a simple question: Can the same proven formula be used to positively impact people’s lives? Our goal is to help people get more than just money. We help people Get Filthy Enriched™. Specifically, we use those same technologies to help people find purpose and fulfillment, and develop the mindset and skills to create a happy life and successful career.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular catalyst behind this company? Can you share a story about that?
As a CEO I attended the Conscious Business Leaders Academy, and was highly inspired by the work done by its founders: Hitesh Shah, Dr. Raj Sisodia and Dr. Neha Sangwan. Raj is the father of the conscious capitalism movement, and Dr. Neha is a former physician turned author and entrepreneur. I walked away with a sense of how different the world could be if each person developed basic skills around EQ, communication, resilience, growth mindset, trust and self care.
As CEOs, we were fortunate to experience this 6 month intensive course, but not everyone gets this opportunity. Why not? What if we could bring all the same learning to everyone, everywhere? How might the world be different? Hitesh, Raj, Neha, and several others from the program signed on to help tackle this objective, and Xapa was born. Our goal is to help each person become the best version of themselves, personally and professionally, and have fun doing it.
You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Most successful people are resilient and have grit, can communicate a vision, and adapt to unforeseen circumstances. But what I’ve learned is that most of what we create with our ‘success’ — the products and services, companies, even whole industry sectors — will come and go. The only lasting impact that most of us will ever have is on the lives, families and careers of the people we touch.
I define success by the ripples of positivity, encouragement, and opportunity I can spread into the lives of others. My goal is to lead with humility and a growth mindset, possess self-awareness, bring positivity and compassion and be a conscious leader. And like most people, I am a work in progress. I’m fortunate that every day at Xapa I get to spend time on content that helps me, and so many others, build these foundational skills and send positive ripples around the world.
Why is it important to have an optimistic outlook about the future?
Let’s start with some happy data. Did you know that positive and happy people are more likely to get promoted, live longer and healthier lives, sustain successful personal relationships, and even make more money? You might say, “When I’m promoted, and in a good relationship, and making more money, I’ll be happy, too!” But it doesn’t work that way. The research shows that happiness comes first, and then good stuff follows. You heard that right! Money can’t buy happiness, but it turns out that happiness can buy money. The great news here is that it’s all in our control. We can’t control the world, but we can control how we respond, and responding with positivity will ultimately create all the attributes of the happy life we most desire. Optimism literally creates a better future.
What are some reasons people might feel pessimistic about the future, and how do you suggest we address these concerns?
We have only to tune into traditional or social media for daily reminders of all the things we can feel pessimistic about, from the economy to the environment to geopolitical tensions. In fact, these reminders are designed to make us pessimistic and fearful, because that keeps us coming back, so the media companies can make more money.
If we want to create a better world, and a better future, it starts with each of us becoming a better version of ourselves. When we get curious, not furious, the world becomes a better place. When we are self-aware and act with compassion for ourselves and others we create a better world with our presence. A positive outlook, random act of kindness and words of encouragement are more contagious than covid, and spread just as quickly as fear.
The most intractable problems are simply the scaled result of individual mindsets and choices from each and every person each day. Change our mindset and the choices we make, and we change the world, one person at a time. It’s simple. Powerful. And True.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you please share with our readers your “5 Reasons To Be Optimistic About The Next Ten and Twenty Years?” (Please share a story or an example for each.)
1 . The great majority of the world is filled with wonderful people who want the same thing: A life of meaning and purpose, joy, friends and family, impact and fulfillment — however they define each. The media focuses on the tiny percentage of people and events that are horrible, and on a planet of more than 8 billion people, there are always examples. But the good far outnumber the bad. I’ve traveled the world since living abroad as a student, and there is no place on earth where I haven’t found this truth.
2 . Xapa is proving that the same technologies that sow division and despair can also be used to positively impact people’s self esteem, happiness, resilience, hope and skills for a better future. If a few companies can win followers it will create a new blueprint, and soon we can leave the old profit models in the dust and create a new formula for success. I’ve seen this happen over and over. We just have to make ‘doing good’ into the most profitable business model, and others will follow.
3 . Millennials and Generation Z are far more ethically and consciously motivated than perhaps any generation in history. They demand more from companies, and since they will represent 2 of every 3 workers by 2025 and a huge percentage of the economy, their power is growing rapidly. Many people now have access to organic foods, which are growing in popularity and affordability, and are rejecting fake foods and food-like substances. Many embrace holistic healing and healthy lifestyles, and all of this benefits the planet as well.
4 . When I was in grade school, we had to hide under our desks during nuclear bomb drills. I would go to bed at night wondering if missiles were heading toward the country at that very moment. But the bombs never came. Somehow we survived. Now we face environmental disasters, cyber- and bio-warfare, and the same old-fashioned atrocities. But we are more peaceful than at any time in recorded history. People are better fed, better educated, and safer. The world is more equal than it has been for millennia. There is much to be done, but there is also enormous progress and reason for hope.
5 . We are all just energy, which cannot be created or destroyed, only changed. We can raise the vibrational state of the planet’s energy, one person at a time, with our own thoughts and actions. We have power and agency to impact the future. If we each do our part, the world is a better place. Xapa is one more component in this positivity equation.
In what specific areas do you see technology having the most positive impact over the next 10 to 20 years?
I spent two decades of my life helping to create the communications infrastructure that would help bring the world together, only to see it used to tear societies, families, and lives apart. It’s gut-wrenching.
But here’s the good news. The same dopamine-fueled compulsion loops that have created anger, loneliness and depression can be used to bring joy, connection, and fulfillment. We’ve proven this with Xapa, and we hope many other tech, media and gaming companies will follow in our footsteps to use technology to positively impact people’s lives, moods, skills, and behaviors.
Technology can influence the world quickly and at scale — for better or for worse. Let’s make a concerted effort to make it ‘for better’.
While technology holds immense potential, it can also present challenges. How can we ensure that the progress we make in technology contributes to a more optimistic future and doesn’t exacerbate societal problems?
There is simply no way to ‘ensure’ technology is used for good and not evil. AI is the most recent case in point, and has enormous potential for both help and harm. Technology is still a tool created and wielded by people. Hopefully this will always be the case (as any disciple of Frank Herbert’s DUNE can attest). Government and policy will forever lag implementation.
The only weapons in this fight are the ethics of our founders, leaders, employees, and users — and unfortunately, history doesn’t not paint an optimistic picture. Bad guys will always invent motive. Greed often prevails.
It’s imperative to infuse people with ethics, teach integrity, and deploy systems that identify unintended consequences. People are the most feeble, and powerful, defense.
After all, the world is what WE make it. We, the people.
How do you maintain your optimism during challenging times?
Every day I simply think about what I can do to make a difference.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I’ve started a movement. Xapa was envisioned as a movement from the very beginning. Xapa means joy in Greek, and our mission is to help everyone, everywhere learn, live and spread joy. I’m doing what I believe needs to be done every day, by creating technology that will help catalyze a life of meaning and purpose, so people get more than money: they Get Filthy Enriched™.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 😊
I love this! I would choose a very Xapa leader who strives to live with integrity and values, leads by example, positively influences the world, and always takes the high road. Commander of one of the most powerful armies and largest economies in the free world. An innovative entrepreneur and creator of a global business empire. Inspirational, creative, smart and completely self-made, sending ripples of positivity around the world on a daily basis. If she were a man, she’d be THE MAN. Yes, I’m talking about the one and only Taylor Swift!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
On xapa.com they can join our community of the Enriched to participate in a free monthly seminar from an amazing speaker, and they can join the waitlist for the app when it launches in early 2024. I’m available on LinkedIn as Chris/Christine Heckart.
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!
Christine Heckart of Xapa On The Case For Optimism About The Next Ten & Twenty Years was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.