Recently, I was grateful for the opportunity to interview two gentlemen for our Liberty at Home series whose occupation is to show all of us that the world that we inhabit is not going to hell in a handbasket.
Ron and Marian are the authors of the book “Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know.” The authors have managed to write a remarkable data-driven book that produces two things: optimism and gratitude. We live in a much better world compared to the world that our parents or grandparents inherited. Violence, death, war, and illiteracy are trending downward, while at the same time life expectancy, access to the internet, clean water, and electricity are going up around the world.
This, of course, is not what we hear when we switch on the news or read the newspaper. The reason for that is that good news isn’t news. Why would anyone report about a catastrophe that didn’t happen because of better city planning and emergency forecasting?
It is a non event. All of the fires that were prevented due to better forestry won’t make the news, but if a neighborhood burns to the ground, it certainly will. This aside, the behavior of human beings has always adapted to look out for the negative. Our ancestors who were jumpier when there was a sound coming from a nearby bush had a higher likelihood of survival compared to the person who ignored it and got eaten by a saber-tooth tiger.
However, we do not have to be always afraid. Especially in a world that is infinitely better than what even our great-grandparents could have ever imagined. We do have the capacity to pause and appreciate, but it is hard to be optimistic these days when we see millions of people unemployed, people dying, and divisive politics all around us.
Taking stock and realizing how far we have come is an important facet of living a good life. Gratitude has benefits beyond a temporary good feeling, though. Grateful people feel more in control of their time and generally report a higher level of happiness compared to people who don’t practice gratitude.
If the present pandemic had happened 20 or 30 years ago, we would have lost exponentially more people. Thanks to modern society, the whole world was able to react to the virus within a period of months. News traveled fast and the global scientific community has come together to work on a vaccine with astonishing speed.
The disease was detected in December and correctly identified as a virus by mid-January. Days later, samples were available and the virus was sequenced shortly thereafter and shared with scientists in about 200 countries. It is likely that we will see a vaccine within a year from detection, which would hold the record for the fastest time a vaccine has ever been developed.
This is only possible because of improvements in medical technology, the internet, and the availability of software that allows us to communicate freely and efficiently. Try to imagine how long all of this would have taken when scientists were isolated in their countries using petri-dishes and only having access to their own data. We live in a different world and, while there is plenty to improve, we should acknowledge the positive trends that are all around us.
I am grateful to be part of an organization that makes the world a better place. At Students For Liberty, we spread positivity every single day through our dedication to building a freer society.
Spending my days educating, developing, and empowering the next generation of leaders of liberty means that I know I will leave behind a better world than I inherited, and, for that, I am truly grateful.
What are you grateful for?