'Activating' positive change: LA resident on mission to empower others

Courtesy of Parveen Panwar
Parveen Panwar “gets activated” in downtown Los Altos.

Parveen Panwar believes that positivity and happiness are choices. And he’s on a mission to spread the word.

You might see him on a Los Altos street, wearing a dark-blue “#Imactivated” T-shirt, passing out “activating” wristbands, raising his arms in the air and exclaiming, “I’m activated! … You’re awesome!”

The Los Altos resident is building momentum for the “I’m Activated” movement he launched in March. It’s centered on effecting change through positive action, performing random acts of kindness and blocking negative vibes. He’s created a website,, that proclaims, “Everything is possible with a positive mindset.”

“The #Activated movement is about taking action to bring back high energy and excitement with a positive mindset and a never-give-up and pay-it-forward attitude,” he said. “It’s a positive energy flow in action, sparking you to push your limits, conquer those nagging fears, uncover amazing strength and break down barriers. Most of us would rather be happy than sad, fulfilled than depressed, uplifted than brought down. It’s about looking at life from a different, positive perspective. In other words, we want to be #Activated!”

To skeptics, he might come across as a purveyor of trite sentiments. But for Panwar, positive thinking and outreach is not only real, it’s important and vital for a better world.

He lists core principles of activation in the acronym PAPER: Positive mindset, Authentic, Passionate, Empathy and Resilience. His site is filled with YouTube videos in which he, friends and family members espouse adages such as: “Don’t be afraid to take risks, for they make life worth living”; “You have two hands – one to help yourself, the second to help others”; “Say ‘no’ to negativity in your life”; and “Positive thoughts create positive things.”

Post-election positivity

The origins of Panwar’s positivity push began in the wake of last year’s presidential election. Panwar, who came to Los Altos from Australia in 2012, took note of the negativity the election results generated among many people he came into contact with.

“After the election, everyone was going into arguments on their beliefs,” he said. “Neighbors were not talking to each other.”

Panwar, who has two children who attend Santa Rita School, said he believes the healthier alternative to complaining is to pursue goals that bring about positive change.

On a recent sunny day, he took one of his kids to downtown Los Altos, where they greeted passersby.

“We went up to strangers and we told them they were special and awesome,” Panwar said.

“It felt good,” his son said. “When you give kindness to someone, they give kindness back to you.”

Panwar’s actions suggest an authenticity that goes beyond just words. Just the other day, he helped an elderly neighbor recently who had fallen and could not get up on his own.

He hopes to put his movement into motion through activities such as holding local events, creating activation “challenges” (a smile challenge or a helping a stranger challenge, for example), partnering with schools and other organizations, opening activation chapters or clubs and organizing peace marches to unite people.

“We need more positivity, unity and ability to take action for better,” he said.

A face-to-face meeting with Panwar, 38, proves him to be a true believer. His smile is ever present, and he comes by his high energy naturally. And no, he doesn’t drink coffee (or any other mind-/body-enhancing substance, for that matter).

“I create a mindset,” Panwar said. “I’m having an activation cocktail.”

For Panwar, who founded a video solutions company, Oculu, and has had a successful tech career, his activation movement is a way of giving back for his good fortune.

Wearing his “#Imactivated” T-shirt like “a Superman cape,” as he put it, Panwar hopes to work on his activation movement full time.

“Keep hustling for a better tomorrow,” he quipped, “but don’t forget to smile today.”


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