Is Your Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

Surveys conducted around the world show that the majority of people today are pessimistic about the future. In fact, in America only 6% of the population think the world is getting better. However, in reality the world is doing really well in numerous ways. Many of you would be surprised to hear just exactly how well we are doing. Here are a few statistics that illustrate this point:

  • Worldwide, the average person earns 3 times more than they did in 1950.
  • The global illiteracy rate has dropped from 46% to 18% since 1970.
  • 721 million fewer people live in extreme poverty ($1.25 per day) in 2010 as compared to 1981.
  • In the last 50 years the proportion of the world’s population in poverty has decreased from 40% to 14%.
  • Today, less of humanity will experience war and conflict than in any other period of human history.
  • In most countries violent crime rates have been on the decline for the last 25 years.
  • In the last 16 years, child labor has been reduced by more than 50%.

So why is the world so pessimistic about the future? Well, part of it is human nature. As humans we tend to look at the glass half empty. Another significant factor is the impact that the media is playing in our lives. The media makes more money when we are afraid and so they purposefully report stories that cause fear. Just watch the “ads” for news or look at the news headlines and you can see that a big chunk of the time they are pushing the fear button. It is a scientific fact that the more news you watch the more afraid of the world you will be.

So what can you do about it? One step would be to look for news outlets that purposefully present more positive stories and include them in your news diet. Being a little more discriminatory with your news diet can make a huge difference. Another step is to simply try and be more optimistic. There are negative things happening in our world and many problems that need to be solved, but at the same time amazing things are being accomplished. Start to notice the good around you and remember that the glass, though it is half empty, is at the very same time half full.

Karl Steinkamp
Blog #15 (halfway)
Day 15 of 30

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