05 Apr Life is good – mostly and for most people
Consuming our daily news stories is a threat to our health and wellbeing. The ‘imminent threat’ to almost everything seems believable if one engages with the news stories that bombard the internet on a daily basis.
But is this really the case? And how can we know? How would we measure things – and importantly, people – are really worse off than in other decades and centuries.
Harvard University’s Steven Pinker argues that humanity, overall, is doing well. In Prof Pinkers’ book “Enlightenment Now: The case for reason, science, humanism and progress ”, he argues that the progress humanity has made is generally an upward trajectory.
Prof Pinker states “And here is a shocker: The world has made spectacular progress in every single measure of human well-being. Here is a second shocker: Almost no one knows about it.” He provides many databases from which to verify such a statement.
Doesn’t this challenge us to find out more about ‘ the good stuff”? Imagine for a moment if we spent as much time on good news as we do on disasters, wars, and injustice. What might that do to out overall view of the world, our attitude to life generally?
Optimism has been shown to be a key determinant of the opportunities we are able to find. Those with an optimistic disposition make better sales people, are more likely to achieve in athletics and the military and even political prowess. Yet, we risk our optimistic disposition with too much focus on bad news.
How about we all get back to ‘counting our blessings’? Take 10 minutes a day to reflect on ‘three good things’ – the things that have gone well today. Notice over a three-week period what happens when you do that.
Ill return to this theme in future posts. In the meantime, feel free to let me know how you’re doing.