If I were to ask how you felt the state of the world was going, what would your answer be? It’s easy to say things aren’t well. You can quickly point to any number of news stories, Facebook posts, or Twitter wars to validate your response. You could probably point to a lot of people’s faces and say – look at her and tell me the world is a happy place! Sorry ma’am, it’s probably just your resting face.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot and wondering why we lean towards doom and gloom. I am an eternal optimist, but at times it is hard to keep this pretty smile going when we are bombarded with the negativity hoopla. And then I realized the problem wasn’t so much them as it was me. We are easily swayed to be pessimists because that’s what we allow into our lives. If you watch the evening news, what do 95% of the stories focus on? The not so good, bad, horrible, terrible things happening in the world. They might throw in some good news at the end to keep us from losing all hope but the news is a business. We the viewer respond to bad things happening over good things. And viewers equal advertisers which equals money. It’s a crazy thought that if the news had thirty minutes of good stories, we probably wouldn’t watch. Advertisers might drop out and they would be forced to go back to reporting bad things to keep ratings up. Yes, it is all kinds of messed up, but it’s true.
It only gets worse online. Take a stroll through Facebook and you’ll find someone who has posted a story that fires us up. And many times, no one actually reads the story, they just start arguing with others. And how many of us get sucked into the drama by simply reading? My favorite is when a news story is posted online and someone else who hates it shares it on their page saying how disgusted they are with the world. Stop it sir. Just stop! Again, we are making the decision to read, to comment, to argue, and to feed into the negativity hoopla.
What if we took twenty-four hours and agreed to not watch the evening news, read any online stories that brought us down, or participate in any discussions that promote the negative hoopla of the world? What?! That’s crazy talk Kevin! How will I know what’s going on in the world? But what would happen if you stepped away from it for only twenty-four hours? What if you allowed your mind to focus on other things? I believe our perspective of the world might start to change. We believe in a doom and gloom society because that’s all we hear about and all we focus on. We might start to see that the world is not so bad. In fact, the world is full of amazing people doing amazing things.
I’m not saying bad things don’t happen or that these stories don’t deserve our attention. I’m also not saying we should live in a fairy tale world that turns a blind eye to those suffering. But our perspective is formed by believing that these stories define our world. And you can’t let one part define the whole. And the stories that make it to the top are the ones we give the most attention to. What if we gave our minds a break for 24 hours? We could choose to be more productive. We could choose to improve our mind which would have an effect on our body and soul. We could get off our phones and actually live in the world. You might see that the world is beautiful. You might hear stories of interesting people doing amazing things in this world. You might welcome the break and find yourself able to breathe.
So who’s with me? Let’s choose to be better people. Let’s be the change we want to see in the world instead of whining online about how others need to change. Spend that time you would normally read and comment on nasty articles actually doing something good for someone else. Take back those thirty minutes you’d normally spend getting depressed about the evening news, turn the TV off, and spend time talking, laughing, and creating moments with those around you. It’s not them, it’s us. We choose how we live our lives so I beg you to choose better.
Take the challenge for twenty-four hours. Say no to the negativity hoopla.