Who is the Optimistic Canadian?

I’m an Optimistic Canadian. I think the glass is half full.

I believe that on average the world has never been better and that Canadians specifically have never had it so good!

If you’re an average citizen of the world or indeed an average Canadian you’re probably questioning my sanity at this point.

After all there’s terrorism, global climate change, sexism, racism, demographic challenges, overpopulation, income inequality and don’t even get me started on Donald Trump!

Yes, all of those things and many others are issues and they need to be addressed. It’s just that in the midst of all of those challenges there are overwhelming positive developments that most of us just don’t hear about or think about and those positive developments are incredible! In fact, they’re almost magical!

Why do many of us think the glass is half empty? Largely because that’s the story that we are told every day by virtually every information source we have access to. Whether it’s traditional media such as TV, radio or print or new digital media channels that insinuate themselves into every part of our life. Every day, all day, we are flooded with negative news.

Why you ask? Commercial success in media has always been driven by the rule ‘if it bleeds it leads’ but in previous eras we got that negative view of the world with our morning paper and evening TV news.

Now we get it 24 hours a day from every media channel and shared on every social media platform. Negative news attracts eyeballs and eyeballs attract advertising dollars. Negative news makes money. Negative news is good business. Whether it’s Fox news or CNN, the Wall Street Journal or New York Times, The CBC, National Post or Globe and Mail, Facebook or Huffington Post every channel we receive overwhelms us with the negative.

The problem is it’s just not representative of the state of the world. In the last 20 years, the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty has almost halved. In the last 100 years the number of deaths per year from natural disasters has decreased to less than half, the average lifespan has almost doubled, and the number of people killed in wars has plummeted. Don’t believe me? Google it or read Better Angles of our Nature or Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker or Factfulness by Hans Rosling. Don’t feel like reading books and just want the facts in 10 charts? Here they are.

Another simple way to make the case is to compare the average billionaire a couple of generations ago to a first world citizen on welfare today. A life upstairs at Downton Abby wasn’t everything it was cracked up to be.

All of the three above arguments are global. It turns out that in Canada we’re doing even better. We’re the 2nd best country to start a business, we have among the most livable cities in the world and we’re right up there in the happiest country index. I could go on.

I’m not arguing that the world is perfect or that Canada and the world don’t have major challenges to address. We do! I’m just asking for some perspective.

Because your other sources of information are likely largely negative or ‘glass half empty’ I’ve created at least one place you can go to get the optimistic view for Canada and the world. Come back often or follow us on twitter @optimisticcdn

You’ll be better informed and you’ll be happier.

What’s not to like?