The Myth That The World Is Getting Worse And Worse

by Tiago on October 12

image-for-tiagos-article-suggestion Last week, the World Bank Group explained that poverty has fallen to an all-time low. The World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, concluded that advances in health, education and social safety nets have reduced global poverty by nearly ten percent.

The new goal set by the World Bank for 2030 is to completely eradicate extreme poverty. I, for one, am confident that we will make the right choices and achieve that goal.

It’s easy to forget that there’s much worth celebrating—the infant mortality rate has fallen steadily during this century; the global literacy rate for adult women increased; there has been a steady fall in the mortality rate for childhood cancer; Internet usage has increased worldwide in the past decade.

Yes, some things have objectively gotten worse. Atmospheric concentrations of CO2, greenhouse gases and other aerosols have increased. And there’s a global increase in obesity due to the way we eat. Yet if you go out and ask people, it almost seems like there is hardly anybody who feels like life has gotten better.

So what gives? Why are so many people writing the story this way?

The Effect of Media on Your Brain

Watch a single episode of CNN and you will quickly witness horrible stuff like serial rape, ISIS, death, bombings, Putin shenanigans and a whole host of other similar stories. All ghastly stuff. Do this every day for years and the accumulated stress hormones can actually kill you. There are studies that show that chronic stress can damage brain structure and connectivity.

There’s a big difference between being informed and watching the likes of Fox News which spin all their stories into an emotional sh*tfest—don’t fall into the trap.

Negativity Bias

Negativity bias is the phenomena that causes human beings to give more psychological weight to bad experiences, thus creating a cycle that produces more stress hormones. I find that the best way to rid yourself of a tendency towards negativity is to simply observe your thoughts and emotions.

This can be done via meditation or through simple awareness. The key here is to reach the realization that the great majority of your negative thoughts and emotions are complete nonsense—they’re not objectively true. Half the time you’re literally projecting your fears towards a situation or person, and it’s all made up.

Your Reference Point


Humans aren’t too good at relating to distant, abstract populations on the other side of the world. We have an easier time connecting to the people closest to us, as well as their problems and struggles. But objectively speaking, the world doesn’t just consist of you and your day-to-day life. You live in a universe where nothing is isolated and everything is connected; everything is interdependent.

To take the time to connect with situations far removed from your own makes you a more balanced human being. When you put things into perspective, it helps to do it not only in terms of a more global perspective, but also in in terms of your personal perspective. Your worries and obsessions become infinitesimally small when you contemplate the entire range of things that are happening right now.

The Key Is Perspective

The world is not getting worse. It is a matter of what lens you choose to wear today. What you choose to see, choose to do and choose to be—those are the things that will decide what sort of perspective you take.

And it’s always a choice.

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Tiago uses his forbidden Internet skills to forge the basic framework of the Spiraling Up website. He teaches English in three languages on his English website. He was born in a small city in Portugal and now resides in Barcelona. His personal development journey started in 2006. He eats more lentils for lunch than you eat in a year. He’s also hilarious.

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