Blog with Joel Brookman

The Best and Worst of Humanity

Each morning when you wake, you have a choice to make: Will you focus on the positive or the negative? Two weeks ago I wrote an article about how divisive the U.S. has become over racism and the political landscape. The events in Charlottesville put a spotlight on the underbelly of humanity. This week’s news shows a completely different perspective on our ability to peacefully co-exist. Heroic events and an outpouring of support for the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas show us just how incredible people can be. No one is focusing on race, religion or immigration status. Instead, Americans are coming to the aid of those in need, no background questions asked. Politics divide us, crises unite us.

Most people are good

I refuse to accept that most people in the U.S., or in our world, are filled with hate, bigotry and anger. Think about all of your co-workers, neighbors, family, members of your church, temple, or mosque. What percentage from each group are mean-spirited, nasty, or just “bad” people? I’m going to make an educated assumption and suggest less than 5% constitute “bad” people. That means that more than 95% can be kind, genuine, and good-hearted.

If you are in a role where you serve people on a daily basis, odds are that the majority of your interactions are either neutral or positive. Unfortunately, the most memorable interactions tend to be the negative ones. Sometimes you may even allow that single negative experience, amongst many positive ones, to bring down your entire day. Start to put your focus on the good you see in people.

If you look for negative that’s what you’ll see.

Ever notice when you are shopping for a car, you see that car on the road wherever you go, then it pops up in television ads as you are watching? The reason you are seeing that car is because you are tuned into it. If you are tuned into negative politics or the horrific things that people do to each other, that’s what you’ll see. If instead you choose to tune into the great things that people do, that’s what you’ll notice.

Media Negativity Bias

If I could shine a light on the worst atrocities that occur on the planet each day, then produce and deliver it to you it in a professionally done package, it would be one of the many news feeds most of us consume. The media that we are ingesting has a negative focus. The ratings suggest that bad news drives us to tune in; The more catastrophic or anger-invoking, the better.  Since ratings drive advertising dollars, it becomes a vicious cycle.

How to tune into the positive

Use news aggregation services like Flipboard, Feedly, or Apple News to curate your information. Become your own editor. These services have the ability to walk you through a profiling process which tells them exactly what news and categories you want to see. Next their algorithms search for articles that align with your interests and deliver them to your device in a user-friendly format.

The beauty of living on the planet in 2017 is that you have choices. You can choose from the best and worst of humanity. You decide where to focus your energy, and you can surround yourself with material and information that supports your choice. Why not choose to see the positive and look for the best in people?

Posted by Joel Brookman in eliminate negativity, Positivity, Uncategorized.


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