There are no “negative people”, just “negative thoughts”.
My second “Happy New Year” post for 2014 is just that – a short set of remarks about how it is actually a HAPPY NEW YEAR.
So, I want to start the New Year talking about death – and in spite of media propaganda – the growing shortage of death we’re all having to live with.
Let’s start with life expectancy, world-wide:
Since 1950, we’ve been increasingly polluting this planet with life expectancy. It’s been going up all over. And, it’s getting worse. Next up is mortality for the Middle-aged in America (me and my high school peeps). The handy graph was from 1950 to 2010. Just take a look at this thing:
I don’t know how you respond to seeing this, but it fills me with an almost reckless desire to go out and kick some ass of some kind.
And, there’s more news for the Middle-aged – this time world-wide.
This graph takes a bit of interpretation, but take a minute and digest this:
- Group I = Communicable Diseases (pneumonia, flu, etc)
- Group II = NON-communicable Diseases (cancer, heart disease, etc)
- Group III = Accidents and violence
People under 4 years old mostly die of contagious stuff. If you can make it to your 30’s contagious and non-contagious stuff are about equal.
But, if you can hang in until you’re 45, chances are you’ve learned to avoid accidents, and the vast majority of issues are Group II – stuff you control – like being fit and not smoking or drinking too much.
So, if you’re 45 or older, you’re almost forced to feel great – and just tolerate as much of that control as possible. There’s a good chance your New Year’s resolutions – if you actually keep them (how to do that in another post) could just force you to live longer!
And, all around us, people are getting that understanding – and at earlier ages. If you think the young people are carrying this place to hell in a hand-basket, check this out:
Smoking rates even in teenagers have been coming down since 1998, and in 2011 they were acting smarter than their elders! If you aren’t careful, you could run the risk of becoming optimistic, here…
But, what about violence?
We all know – because the press keeps telling us how violent America is – and how the young people are the scariest – especially for us old farts. There must be some violence to be afraid about?
Contrary to “the news”, if youth crime were a stock you wouldn’t want to be holding any of it. This graph from the CDC says the violent crime arrest rate for youngsters has been sliding since 1995 – almost since I was in high school.
I think about how safe I felt in the world during my late teens and twenties – and realize young people are committing violent crimes at only HALF the rate they were when I was that age.
What’s the world coming to?
You may ask someone like Steven Pinker:
And, you’d learn that, boringly, the world is getting safer.
Many people have had financial difficulties during the past … well, since I graduated high school the purchasing power of minimum wage has declined, dragging part of our economy with it.
While the cost of many things are going up and up, some of the best things in life are becoming more accessible and cheaper.
And, even as the cost of a college degree is rising, much of the education itself is becoming FREE – and accessible from your own couch.
Places like TED are providing “riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world”. Going to the TED conference and sitting in the auditorium is a several-thousand-dollar proposition. But, you can get the videos, which you can pause while you fetch another notebook to write in, free on your couch.
There are also places like EDX are offering courses from MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley – for FREE.
Which leads us to connectivity – or, how many people are gaining access to this kind of FREE self-developing resource?
Check out this graph of Internet connectivity from 1996 to 2012 – from only around 10% of the population in developed countries connected to something around 74% back in 2012. And, where do you think it is today?
And, that leads us to the intersection of education, entertainment, connectivity, and business because anyone with an iPhone or cheap flip camera – and some imagination – can produce movies; have their own television show; and make money doing it.
Check out Thug Notes: High-quality, Cliff’s Notes style summaries and interpretations of classic literature delivered in “thug” style.
These people are combining a passion for something they love – literature or physical health – and sharing the positive outcomes of their personal adventure-paths with others. The video camera and YouTube channels aren’t the end of this, but the beginning. There’s loads of hard work and learning involved.
But, the basic opportunity is waiting. Just like death and disease and crime and violence – Even as the press keeps saying we’re all doomed – and even as people have experienced some tough times – other ways of making a life (notice I didn’t say “getting a job”) are becoming more available than ever before.
My friend Chris Dunn just wrote:
“In 2013 we saw the strongest bull market in 7 years. Hopefully everyone made improvements, built some wealth, and had a lot of fun! Here’s to an incredible 2014!”
This guy makes his living day-trading – and teaching other people to do that. He, often does that from exotic locations in Thailand or other fascinating places. And, from where he’s sitting the economic tide is rising – not falling.
Which brings me to the second-to-last optimistic authority on my little tour:
Gary Vaynerchuk says:
“…This is the most practical time in the history of time to be an entrepreneur. If you even have one percent thought around doing it, do it – and not do it at the expense of anything other than your leisure … at the expense of watching Breaking Bad … can’t you give that up for a year to change your entire life?“
There are no “negative people”,
just “negative thoughts”.
The most powerful thing a human can do is focus their thoughts. Those who do this transform themselves into winners – and infect the entire space around them with an aggravatingly optimistic and positive attitude.
If only everyone could feel that way. If only more people knew how…
This blog post was a demonstration.
The next one will reveal the blueprint and detailed how-to for those who want to own the process of creating powerful, transformational optimism.
If you have a story, comment, or question about the power of reality-based optimistic perspective, please share it below. I’ll do my best to answer.