“Public servants are losing their foothold in the Middle Class” – NY Times
“’Wrong, wrong, wrong’: Labor accused of hoarding billions in road, rail cash”– The Age (Victoria/Australia)
“Data exemption sparks fears of renewed Windrush scandals’ – The Guardian UK
It’s hard to be optimistic in the 21stcentury.
We’re surrounded by constant negativities – read any newspaper and the message is generally miserable. People are being ripped off, conditions are getting worse, madmen are running the world and the environment is falling to bits.
All too often, we’ll reach for the negative. Stop and listen to how many conversations start with a complaint or a gripe and then have a think about how much time is spent fleshing them out.
In these hyper-individualised times, we’ve adopted a “the world’s against me” mentality.
The end-result is that we leave ourselves exposed. Exposed to the angry populists, constant comparison and pettiness. It’s no surprise that mental illness amongst young people continues to rise.
Sometimes I wonder if we’re feeding a self-perpetuating loop. Feeding off our own worries, the fears of others and the risks of the future.
That doesn’t mean that concerns aren’t valid but I think we’re letting them dominate. And – it’s exhausting.
So here are some alternatives:
- For every time you feel that you’re being squeezed out – think of when someone has included you.
- For every time you have a gripe with a government policy – think about a program that is making a difference
- For every time someone’s rubbing you up the wrong way – think about the people in your life who really care (even if there are only a handful)
This blog hopefully has led you to believe otherwise, but I’m guilty of riding the negativity train far too often. Even in the friendliest cities, there are still looping grumbles. You can’t avoid them, they’re important to acknowledge but their effects are huge.
It doesn’t matter how resilient you are, they’ll set off anyone’s doubts – but you can always choose whether you set off a looping grumble yourself.
Which means, the next time you read a miserable news story, your friend tells you about a rotten act or things look uncertain – don’t run away from it. Just ask, ‘is there an argument for optimism?’ and see where the ride takes you.
(Great street-art from Krakow!)