ISIS, Ebola, and horrible, never-ending political commercials are just some of the scary things we face when we turn on the news.
The world may be getting scarier, or we may just live in a time where bad news is covered 24 hours a day and tweeted and re-tweeted over and over during that same time period. We should keep that in mind.
And we should also keep in mind that there are some great things happening in the world, and a lot of reasons to be hopeful.
Here are a few:
1. Kids these days.
Because of relocating for work my daughter attended several junior high schools in different parts of the country with very different demographics. In each of these environments one clear takeaway is how much more tolerant kids seem now than when I was growing up. There appear to be less social classes, and more mobility across groups of friends.
The exposure to the rest of the world that comes from time kids spend on social media combined with the intense anti-bullying focus in classrooms today seems to produce a group of kids that are more accepting of differences and embrace uniqueness.
Rather than constantly bemoaning what the world will look like when it’s run by people who have grown up with Instagram and iPhones maybe we should be a little excited about a world led by people who have been taught to be more tolerant of each other and are aware of a world beyond their school.
2. We are more connected than ever.
Because of my writing on LinkedIn I’ve had the chance to exchange emails with people from India, Iran, South Africa, Rwanda, and the Philippines, among many, many other places. Whether those become business relationships, friendships, or mere LinkedIn connections, each of those interactions are a chance to get to know the rest of the world a little better.
And the rest of the world is not a terrifying, conflict and disease ridden place. It’s actually full of people who are remarkably similar, with very similar concerns, challenges, and hopes. I’m sure that’s something we all believe in concept, but now we have the ability to find a fellow hotel manager (or whatever your profession is) in India and connect with them.
Take that opportunity. What you learn will be inspiring.
3. Global poverty is shrinking.
Research by multiple industry associations in the United States shows that due to higher energy, shipping, and other costs manufacturing production is shifting back to the United States. That is good for the United States, but it’s also good for overseas markets. Globalization should mean that production moves to where intellectual capital and innovation are strongest, not just to the cheapest and most exploited work force.
If these trends continue overseas markets will be forced to compete on something other than low-cost labor, forcing them to invest in their intellectual capital. In turn America will have to do the same.
Hopefully we are witnessing the beginnings of a race to the top, making globalization the win-win concept it was supposed to be when we first started hearing about. That is a goal that the world is still working toward, but it’s important to note that it is happening as we speak. Global poverty has shrunk dramatically over the past twenty years.
Enjoy your family, your friends, and the opportunities in front of you. The world you see on the news doesn’t have to be the world you live in.