Life is better now than it used to be.
You might disagree with that statement, but well, I’m afraid you’d be unquestionably and almost comically wrong. Others have compiled lists of the ways in which things have improved, written books about it, and even conducted real, peer-reviewed research to back up that statement. So I’ll just give an abridged list of some of my favorite signs of progress:
- Social justice, in all forms. No, we’re far from full success on this front, but we’re equally far beyond our past failings in this area. On a personal level – I’m a short brown man with middling physical strength and poor eyesight. What the heck would I have been good for 100 years ago? Fetching tea for a British magistrate in Bombay, if I was very very lucky. That’s no way to go through life.
- Air conditioning. A mere luxury? Ha! A/C facilitated the advent of motion picture halls, which led to a boom in the desire for commercial entertainment. The result: a $100 billion worldwide entertainment industry that creates millions of jobs, and allows us to experience humor and drama and all ranges of emotion through art almost anywhere, at any time. Speaking of which…
- The Internet. You’ve successfully found your way to a blog post, so I don’t need to explain this one in detail, right? I’ll simply mention that I have an almost limitless curiosity about stuff – all kinds of stuff – and the Internet allows me to learn about and experience said stuff in a way I never could have dreamed of even 20 years ago. (Even if I had one of these.)
- Coffee. Now easily accessible in virtually any corner of the world. Thank God.
Now, I’m not Pollyannaish. I obviously understand that there are many tragedies, large and small, throughout our nation, our world, and our own personal lives. We have indescribable poverty within our (overall) very rich United States. We have diseases that still seem incurable (until they’re not). We have mediocre educational systems, and cable “news” networks (see how I lumped those together?).
But overall, the trend is real, and consistent, and enduring, and positive.
And here’s why this matters: if you don’t believe that things are better now, and that the majority of things will continue to improve, you should not be working in marketing, or business in general, or education, or any other field where you have the ability to actually impact that future in some small but not insignificant way.
This is an amazing time to inhabit this planet. And it’s going to become more amazing because there are people who believe that’s what should happen, and work to make it so.
So, optimists: come on in, join us! Pessimists: thanks, but we don’t need you. Stay outside, moaning about the good ol’ days, while you Skype with your uncle halfway around the world, sip your organic hazelnut latte, and breathe relatively clean air.
(And so-called “realists”: you’re welcome to come in, but we’re keeping an eye on you.)