Big Life with Ray Waters Neal Campbell no

“The world is going to hell in a hand basket!” It might not be stated exactly like that, but I have heard that mantra or something similar almost every day  of my adult life. There’s only one problem. It’s not so. For every bad thing that is happening in our country and world, I can show you 10 things that are actually getting better. Recently my dad and I were ordering food at The Varsity, a historic Atlanta Hotdog Drive In and we were talking about crime. I mentioned that violent crime had come down substantially in the US since the middle 1970’s. My father, who is the smartest man I know said that didn’t seem right. Surely with all the stories we see each day on 24 hour news there has to be more violence now than in the 1970’s. I pulled out my smart phone and ask Google to graph the violent crime in the US over the last 50 years. The graph looked something like this.

U.S. Violent Crime Rate 1973-2010

To say my dad was shocked would be an understatement. As he has gotten older he had not paid attention to the data but rather believed the anecdotal evidence which was not accurate.

There is so much more. Global literacy rates are rising dramatically. Global poverty is declining at a rapid rate. Teen births in the US have steadily decreased since 1960. The percent of per capita disposable income spent on food in the US has come down dramatically since 1960.

Your world is getting better. The 24 hour news cycle has no incentive to tell you that bit of news. They make their money keeping you anxious and worried. Their hidden message seems to be, “Don’t go outside, it’s scary out there.” It might be, but statistics say it’s a lot safer now than it was 40 years ago. So for me and my house, we are focussing on the good things and trying to help improve the bad. That’s the way it’s done, if you want to live a big life.

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