Read the eight statements below and tell me they aren’t good news:
- The U.S. is experiencing its longest economic expansion on record, besting the period from 1991 to 2001. (CNBC)
- The decade-long U.S. economic expansion has generated 20 million jobs. (New York Times)
- 3.4% year-over-year wage growth is the strongest in more than a decade. (MarketWatch)
- Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) might spend as much as $143 billion this year. (Barkley US)
- Reno’s median home price hit a record high last year, breaking $420,000 in June 2019. (Reno Gazette Journal)
- January 2020 had record job growth in the private sector: 291,000 new jobs, the largest monthly gain since March 2015. (Yahoo Finance)
- The U.S. hit the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years in 2019. (Whitehouse.gov)
- Thanks to improvements in medicine and health, life expectancy has increased dramatically on a global scale. The current average life expectancy is 72 years old. (UN Population Division)
Why is it that, as a society, we dwell on the negatives and not more on the positives? Is it easier to be negative than positive? I certainly understand why the news reports more of the negatives — because that’s what sells.
Personally, I have stopped watching the news or getting the newspaper.
It just doesn’t add value to my life. Maybe I’m a little less informed, but I think it’s worth it for a little less stress and worry over things I can’t control. Plus, it helps that most of my investments are no longer correlated to the ups and downs of the market. I am glad I am off that rollercoaster ride!
One of the things we used to do during our family dinners when the kids were young and all living at home was ask each person, “What is the best thing that happened to you today?” It helped us focus on what was good out of the day and we got to share that with the whole family.
I know a lot of people are still dealing with bad situations out there. I don’t downplay that, yet sometimes what we believe to be so negative isn’t quite as bad as it seems. If we let the negatives override our thoughts, it can produce a vicious cycle that keeps everything in the negative when just a simple outlook change can change your actual outcome.
As a business owner, I’ve gone through all kinds of ups and downs in my life. One way I’ve been staying positive lately is by working my way through the different meditation lessons on Sam Harris’ “Waking Up” app. Sam Harris has made his career out of an interesting combination: neuroscience and philosophy. If you’re anything like me, you might have once thought of meditation as woo-woo stuff. But as I’ve gotten more exposed to the science around it (yes, science!) and successful people’s positive experiences with it, I slowly started to change my mind about it. And I have to tell you, the short 10-minute practice I do almost every day really does calm my mind. I’m still learning a lot each time I listen to his lessons and I’m guessing that will continue to happen for my entire life, as meditation is one of those things you can probably never master.
Until next time, “What is the best thing that happened to you today?”