The World Really is Getting Better, Promise.
For the last couple years, I've had a nasty habit of listening to far too much political and current news talk radio. I usually consume these via multiple podcasts on my phone, which would continue throughout my day, often starting in the morning while I made my daughters' school lunches, any time I would be driving, and often when I was doing housework in the evening or the weekend. Want to know why our trade discussion with China was doomed by poor decisions by the State Dept? I had the answer. Want to know why our infrastructure is falling apart, or why fracking is ruining the environment, or the latest stats about political unrest in Nepal? I knew and could give you the rundown.
The problem was I felt very well-informed but nearly always kind of sick to my stomach. It's hard to feel optimistic when you listen to lots of tragedy, misery, and outrage each day. And it becomes nearly impossible to be positive when it feels like most of the world is just going off the rails. So, I've decided to make TWO CHANGES:
- I'm limiting my news consumption to Washington Week, The Skimm and Next Draft. I think I can both stay informed and stay sane with those sources.
- I'm watching "Is the World Getting Better or Worse? A Look at the Numbers" every day until I can use it as a mental happy place when I stumble across a Fox News broadcast or a live stream about Facebook's latest data mining feature.
I also suggest that you take the time to watch this great TED talk by psychologist Steven Pinker. Aside from an amazing head of hair (seriously, he looks like he needs to find an orchestra that he can conduct with some crazy, full-body flourish), he talks about the world with a sense of optimism for the future.
Also, check out another great BBC video featuring physician-statistician Hans Rosling who shows the amazing amount of progress the world has made in the last 200 years.
It's going to be okay. :)