Is the world a good place or is the world a bad place?
It is both and neither. The world is neutral. Things happen and they happen constantly. Some things that happen are horrendously awful. Like natural disasters that result in incomprehensible death tolls leaving thousands of people without homes, family members and livelihoods. Or when a human being hurts another human, even depriving them of the right to their own life. Horrible things do happen and they happen every day. And it doesn’t matter how much you rage against the awful injustice of it all, they will continue to happen. Every day. This doesn’t mean we should be complacent to the injustices of the world. On the contrary, it is essential that we all as individuals stand up for what is right and good and beautiful in the world and to not accept those things that we can indeed change. Absolutely.
My mother is and always has been a glass half full lady.
In fact when it comes to positivity and looking on the bright side, my mum could be national ambassador. My dad leans a lot more to the cynical and negative side. He reads the paper and watches the news and bemoans the state of the world, politics, education (insert topical topic) and how it’s all going down the toilet and my favourite sentiment “well it’s not going to affect me, I’ll be dead” (super constructive and fist pump for my son and his grandson who is 3 years old who inherits his generations legacy).
Research suggests that 50% of our lifetime level of ‘happiness’ is genetic.
10% is circumstantial and 40% is reflective of the choices we make in life. This is interesting to me as I clearly inherited my happiness quotient from my mother. I have always held a positive world view and have always had the default notion that people are essentially good. In fact, I tend to be really shocked when faced with evidence to the contrary. So here’s the thing though. I very rarely am. I can honestly say though that I am daily presented with evidence of people’s inherent goodness and kindness.
Honestly it’s true.
I was at the pharmacy today picking up a script and across the carpark outside the supermarket I saw a homeless man sitting. As I opened my car the supermarket sliding doors opened and an extremely tall, beefy man with a beard strolled out turned right and without skipping a beat or slowing down casually passed a $20 note to the homeless man after which he continued on into the bakery. Maybe he’d seen the homeless man on the way into the supermarket and had his note ready, but it sure as hell looked like he hadn’t had time to put his change away and then just slung it on a whim to the homeless man sitting outside the door. The whole encounter took 4 seconds but it actually blew my mind with its casual awesomeness.I could write an endless list of examples like this I have witnessed or experienced, but I will give you just one more.
Only a few days earlier in the same supermarket carpark I was strapping my son into his car seat when I heard a thump behind me. An elderly man had tripped over the cement stopper things they put at the top end of car park spaces (I guess to stop you driving into the supermarket). This poor gentleman had obviously fallen hard, had bleeding grazes on his knees and elbows and was struggling to get up. I was at his side in an instant along with a tall teenage boy who happened to be walking past. Together we assisted the man to his feet and into his car. He insisted he was fine to drive and he headed off whilst he teenage boy and I stood for a few moments debriefing and hoping he got home safely. This kid was kindness incarnate. He was genuinely concerned and a bit shaken by what was a fairly minor incident in the scheme of things. But I too was a bit shaken. It’s never pleasant to see someone hurt. But more distressing was this man’s helplessness, his inability to get up of the ground without the assistance of two strangers. It really puts things in perspective.
At some point, no matter how invincible we feel now we will all need the help and kindness of strangers.
My (almost) 3 year old son had witnessed the entire event from his car seat as Id left his door hanging wide open in my rush to get to the fallen man. As I got back in the car, Oliver was clearly upset and said “Mama that man had so many boo boos!” “Yes darling he fell over and got some boo boos, but we helped him up and he’s gone home now and he’s going to be ok” “He fell over mama!!” “Yes darling he did” “Why did he fall over mama?” You get the picture. Well, maybe if you have experience with talktative toddlers you get the picture. If not, suffice to say a lengthy conversation ensued, at the heart of which was the fact that my son had found it upsetting to see the man fall and hurt himself and he felt bad for him. Which brings me to my point. We humans are wired for kindness and compassion. From birth. We really are.
PS – do you agree with my worldview? Maybe you don’t. That’s your right. Let me know your thoughts.
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