Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Search for Happiness: Remembering The Goodness in Mankind

About a decade ago, I worked for a video news-clipping agency where I watched over 24 hours of news per workday (obviously, most of it was in fast forward). I noticed that most of the news was negative. After the sports and the weather, you might get treated to an uplifting human interest story right before closing the show. If you were lucky.

Same goes for online news. A glance at any news site will headline people dying, wars, financial ruins, scandals, political corruptions, fear, affairs, hatred, lies, gossip, and very little to make me happy.

I understand why they do it. The negative aspects of the world get people to tune in. It's a lot like writing; if your character is perfect and everything goes his or her way, your readers are going to close the book out of boredom... no matter how extravagant the prose, setting, or whatever else is in there. Unfortunately, in the news, they can lay it on a little thick. Well... a lot thick.

About a year ago, I decided to seize 90% of my news consumption. I still tune in to catch the highlights (for instance, there seems to be a lot of people playing sports in Russia this week), and I've found this decision to be a positive influence in my life. I'm happier. I worry less. I would actually recommend it if you are looking for an emotional pick-me-up.

Plus, I often run into videos like this. This is not in English, but really... it doesn't need to be.

Or this video of 24 photos that will restore your faith in humanity.

One of those photos was of these two girls, who decided that people were more important than winning a race. I say they both won a lot more in the end because of an unselfish act of kindness.

Or stories like this, where one woman ended up making a huge difference in several lives by an anonymous act of service.

And videos like this one that shows that walking an old lady across the street is an act that hasn't been forgotten.

Or videos that sum up what I'm trying to say perfectly in this video, that there are good and honest people out there.

In the world of instant and sensationalized media, it is easy to look at the world and see all the ugliness and hatred. It is easy to lose hope in humanity and miss the goodness the world has to offer. But I'm a big believer that their are more good people than bad... by a long shot. Yes, it isn't perfect and there are certain situations you should be cautious about, but it is far from lost. You just need to look for it.

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