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For Better? Or Worse?

For Better? Or Worse?

April 07, 2022

I’d like to start today with an admission: There's not much new perspective on current events I can offer. Markets are still locked in a volatile pattern and will probably continue that way for the foreseeable future. So instead of trying to offer up a perspective on world events that isn’t already floating around somewhere on the internet, I have more of a big-picture question I’d like to discuss.

While absorbing the recent news, we can be forgiven for wondering if the world is going off the rails. There's still a global pandemic holding on, concerning inflation, atrocities in Ukraine, and "unprecedented" developments everywhere. A fear arises that it's all getting worse, somehow. If you feel that way, you’re not alone. A lot of people feel that way.1

So, here’s the big question I pose to you today: Is the world getting worse? Or is it actually getting better?

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure that question can really be answered.

Why? I imagine that you've heard the statistics of how far the world has come in terms of measurable progress (it's pretty amazing).

But, while it’s nice to know that global poverty is down or that murder rates are historically low, those facts aren’t really all that helpful when you're getting gouged at the pump, your kid is home sick, and you're seeing images of ruined lives on the news. For the first time in human history, we can instantly communicate with folks thousands of miles away and see what they're doing. We have access to real-time news from everywhere in the world, and because of how the news is constructed, it's nearly always the bad stuff that gets our attention. And to top it off, most of us spend hours each day consuming media of one kind or another.2 From our TVs, to our Facebook feed, to our radios while we drive around town.  The question we ask each other has changed from "how are things in your neck of the woods" to "have you heard about {crisis of the moment}?"

We're human. We live our lives one day at a time inside a fairly small bubble. And that bubble is easily influenced by daily hassles, media filters, and our own outlook on the world.

So, what do we do? How do we fight against the dread and pessimism? (I think this is a serious and important question, by the way).

And I would suggest this answer: we need to know how to put things into perspective, for ourselves, for our children and young people who look to us for guidance, and for our loved ones who might need a boost.

Here are a few practical ideas:

  • Invest time in relationships with the people we love.
  • Be selective in the news and media we consume.
  • If you have a faith, follow it passionately.
  • Look for beautiful moments and treat them with awe (like that little girl on the carousel in the photo above).
  • Make art, make music, make furniture - build something beautiful.
  • Volunteer, donate, and be the change we want to see.

With that all said, you may be asking yourself – does it really matter? Why is a practice of positivity so important? Well, it keeps us from making fear-based decisions, for one, which is very important in managing your finances. I also think it helps us make our little comer of the world better. As a matter of fact, Johns Hopkins University thinks it might be a big deal for our health, particularly our cardiovascular health.3

So I’m curious as to your thoughts. Any advice for avoiding the items that stir up distress in your mind and instead, keeping it positive? We’d love to hear about them - email us and let us know at Maybe you have an idea we can share with others that could really make a difference!

1 https://www.pewresearch.orgifact-tank/2019/03/21/looking-ahead-to-2050-americans-are-pessimistic-about-many-aspects-of-life-in-u-s/