Off The Record
The World Is Getting Better All The Freaking Time But Here’s Why We Can’t See It
Statistically everything is getting better! Yet most of us see just the negative side on the news, unless an election comes.
Those on the right tend to be certain that crime and unauthorised immigration are growing out of control, in the face of statistics showing the opposite. Those on the left tend to be certain that racism, sexism and oppression are growing worse, which is far from true.
We hear all the negative and bad things on the news. Some say it’s better for control, some say we should stay informed, but not matter what’s the cause, we are seeing the world as worse it’s ever been, but that’s far from the truth.
Statistics doesn’t lie. It’s one of the sure ways to spot if something does well or not. That’s why businesses pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for some particular statistics, so they can see if there’s progress in that direction or it’s leaking money day by day. And this is something I got a hold on lately. I am not a math guy, nor a physics guy, I hated every minute spend on physics. You can probably imagine by now that I am not really good with numbers and formulas. I always looked at equations as BS. Why would I do it if I have a calculator that can do everything for me? Statistics is of vital importance because numbers never lie. They prove that something works or turns to s#it. That has nothing to do with me hating that process.
Now, the media is poisoning us with negative news.
Just watch the news today, I dare you. Take a piece of pen and paper and start writing the headlines of the news. If there’s 5% positive things on the news, except if an election is not coming, if there’s 5% good news I will delete this article, ASAP.
I don’t believe it’s because we need to stay informed, and since I stopped watching the news my life turned 180 degrees for the better.
But there’s an even more interesting aspect. It’s called algorithm.
As human beings we tend to click on the fearful news, right? The things that opposes threat to us in some ways. We are build to run away from fear, but in order to run away from it we need to stay informed first. So we click on the dreadful article, we read it and we shut down the computer feeling like s#it because of the negative news. Now, next time you scroll on Facebook or any other social media, the algorithm knows that you want to read fearful news, and it targets you precisely to show you even more negative news. The endless cycles of negativity begins and I know for sure that a lot of people live on the side of fear because they want to protect themselves (this is of course by evolution, we want to run away from real danger to save ourselves).
Now, the world, statistically, is getting better all the time. This is the good news.
Steven Pinker, a famous author of books on language, mind, & human nature and Professor of Psychology at Harvard University did a TED talk where he shared incredible statistic showing that the world is drastically improving, instead of going to s#it in every direction.
Here are few takeaway from his talk and I know statistics are boring but these will blow your mind because once you see them, especially the last one.
- Thirty years ago in the US, there were 8.5 homicides for every 100,000 Americans, 35 million tons of particulate matter (a hazardous type of air pollution), and a poverty rate of 12%. Today, those figures are 5.3 homicides, 21 million tons of particulate matter, and a 7% poverty rate.
- In 2017, the world had 12 ongoing wars, 60 autocracies, 10% of its population in extreme poverty, and 10,325 nuclear arms. But in 1988, those stats were 23, 85, 37%, and more than 60,000, respectively.
- While 2017 may have seemed like a bad year for terrorism in Western Europe, with 238 deaths, 1988 was worse, with 440 casualties.
- For most of human history, life expectancy was around 30 years old worldwide. Today, it is more than 70 years old, and in most developed parts of the world, it’s over 80.
- Just 250 years ago, a third of children in the world’s richest countries did not live to see their fifth birthday. Today, less than 6% of children in the world’s poorest countries die before they reach age 5.
- Today, less than 10% of the world subsists in extreme poverty, but 200 years ago, 90% did.
- Over the last century, we’ve become 96% less likely to die in car accidents, 88% less likely to be killed on the sidewalk, 99% less likely to die in a plane crash, 95% less likely to be killed on the job, and 89% less likely to die from a natural disaster.
- Literacy is at an all-time high. Before the 17th century, just 5% of Europeans could read or write. But more than 90% of the world’s population under the age of 25 can read and write today.
Statistics never lie. They point out the harsh truth about the quality of a given subject. Yes, bad things happen to some individuals. Some people die way too young, some people die unexpectedly, but statistically, the world is getting better in each and every aspect.
Now, because statistics won’t help us become better version of ourselves, I will propose some ways to start looking on the bright side of life:
1. The first is to stop watching the news
And I won’t dig so much into this because we already spoke about the detriment of negative news and every fool that wants to loop in a cycle of never ending negativity should watch the News all day.
2. The second is to mind your own damn business
I’ve heard way too many foreign information in my life that I have never used for anything. Mostly it was gossip by me or someone I know that was telling me stuff about someone else. I’ve heard way too many unnecessary conversations because I wanted to be too nice to people, which wasted months of my life. I’ve seen so many pointless entertaining videos that didn’t give me an inch of knowledge I can use in real life. It’s ok to watch an episode every now and then and couple of useless videos for the sake of some entertainment, but if that’s your main goal, to entertain yourself throughout the entire day, then you are way too shackled outside of your own life and you need to mind your own business.
For this step to be valuable you have to take precautions.
First is to cut the BS when someone is telling you useless gossip. Me and my friends have made it a habit to cut the cords when the conversation leads to politics. We all say “Hey we started talking about politics now, we are not politicians and we are going to fill ourselves with negative BS and things we have no idea about. Let’s change the subject.” and we do.
The second step is to stop gossiping. Once you hear someone say anything negative about someone, or you are that someone, cut the cords immediately. I have made it a practise to not engage in conversations like that. I just listen uninterested and people don’t have the impulse to continue once they see your cold facial expression. Also, once I spot myself that I engage in gossip, I stop because looking at that conversation from a different angle: is it going to benefit me in some part of my life now or in the future? If the answer is no, then I completely stop, and when it comes to gossiping the answer to the question is always NO.
The third step is to create a small circle around you and make it your own business to care about those people. My circle is my close family, and couple of friends. The only people I give a damn about is them. Of course I have global compassion about other people that are outside of that circle, but I won’t jump in front of a gun for them, as the saying goes.
3. The third way is to occupy yourself with an imaginary goal.
I feel like putting the goal to something physical is the quickest way to self destruction whether that’s people or things. And this imaginary goal is something that can never be unattainable in the near future. For example, let’s take Elon Musk. He wants everyone to drive electric cars right? That’s one of his goals. But what are the chances that each and every one of us is going to drive one in the next 10-15 years. Almost impossible. Let’s take Jeff Bezos for example. He says that the goal of Amazon is to satisfy the customers, but what are the chances that each and every customer can be satisfied? Zero, right? But that’s his goal and by working on it, he can improve the whole network, transport, packaging, delivery etc etc… That goal is unattainable.
Once we place a goal we can never fulfil, like every person to be fit in the world, at least that’s the goal to most successful fitness trainers. We can never attain that goal. There will always be chubby, fat, obese, overweight people. But once we place such a goal, we focus on a grandiose vision, something that will require us to work and improve on until death. It will push us to think harder and quicker on how to make people lose weight and help them solve that problem. Out of that vision, we can make a course online that everyone will be able to afford and go on the journey to lose that extra pounds.
I honestly think this is the major mindset shift of many ultra successful people that made a difference in the world. They want to attain the unattainable, and it pushes them to do wonders trying to fulfil that unfulfillable.
I hope at least a bit you’ve changed your peception to see the good instead of the bad. And on top of that I truly hope you will take these advice to heart and implement some of the ways to make your life go in a more positive direction.
And for the last time, don’t forget, the world is getting better every single day.