A year of unfortunate events, but it doesn’t have to stay that way

Toxic news cycles, overcoming 2020, and 5 links worth your time

I am the queen of the worst-case scenario.

Not the greatest title to have in this, the year 2020, a doozy even by my standards (though I can certainly imagine ways it could be worse).

But you don’t actually need me to tell you how bad things are because the media is thoroughly covering the killer virus (which has now infected the President of the United States), the prospect of election chaos, and the fraying of our social fabric (just to name a few concerns). And true to form, I’m worried about those things too. Even to me, though, it seems unhealthy to marinate in doom and gloom 24/7, and it might even make the worst-case scenario a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Garbage in, garbage out

If we continually feed our imaginations with a constant barrage of negative analysis, doomsday predictions, and toxic discourse, I fear we’ll weaken our ability to confront the problems we’re facing today. No one ever said, “I think it’s impossible to go to the moon, and we’re sure to blow up on the way there, but I think I’m going to try anyway, just in case.”

Whatever happens in the election, whoever is elected, we still need to overcome polarization, discord, disease, and economic tragedy in order to have a better future for the country and for ourselves.

No news is good news

One unique feature (or, perhaps in this case, it’s a bug) of our current situation, is that, unlike previous tumultuous years in US history, we have instant access to a barrage of news stories as they happen. Add to that the fact that disaster gets eyeballs quicker than positive stories of things working, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for paranoia to fuel your mind. We’re not going to see headlines like “Local Democrat and Republican find out they agree on 7 out of 10 issues” or “Big business keeps America afloat during a challenging recession.”

Changing our tune

If we want to change the tune of 2020 or sing a better one in 2021, we can’t wait for the news headlines to bring us a boost. We have to choose to look for reasons to hope and then cling to those reasons when the media, the statistics, and our leaders tell us otherwise. We need to take matters into our own hands and act from that hope, however small it may be. Out of these little bits of light and optimism we will find our way out of the mess in front of us.

I’m not saying you should discard the evidence before your eyes or be unprepared for real trouble, but I am saying that if you are perpetually preparing for war, peace may be hard to find.

This week’s 5 links are stories and ideas that are giving me hope right now. I hope they add to yours and encourage you to look for more in your daily life.

5 links worth your time

  1. Teens Create Website To Combat Social Isolation in Seniors, Freethink – We all know that COVID has been particularly hard on the elderly. The good news is, there’s an app for that, thanks to some enterprising teens in Texas.

  2. The sprint to create a COVID-19 vaccine started in January. The finish line awaits., USAToday– The story of the continuing race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 start to finish. There are plenty of errors made by individuals, governments, and companies in this process, but the collaboration, creativity, speed, and sacrifice of those working on this project are inspiring.

  3. The Dialogue Project – We’re proud to support The Dialogue Project, a year-long global research effort to explore how business can play a more active role in improving civil discourse and decreasing polarization. The study, which was just released today, includes first-hand perspectives from prominent leaders, in-depth research, and case studies (including the Center!) of actions we can all take to improve dialogue.

  4. The Common Ground Scorecard, CommonGround – Debates got you down on the likelihood of political cooperation anytime soon? The Common Ground Committee just released this new “scorecard” to help you search which politicians have a history of acting in a bipartisan way.

  5. Beautiful News Daily, Information is Beautiful – This is a collection of good news, positive trends, uplifting statistics, and facts all presented with beautiful visualizations. We particularly like the one on things going down, down, down like malaria deaths and child labor.

Photo by Ipopba on Adobe Stock