Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tip #56: Let's get in an abundance frame of mind

About to burst.
You all know by now that I'm quite the optimist, who likes to look at the positives aspects of life. And that's why this is one of my favorite TED talks (although, I will admit I have many, many favorites). Here's this nice man, who sounds very intelligent, telling me that we all have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future, even though there are several wars going on, there is poverty, we are destroying the Earth with our pollution, and we still haven't found a cure for cancer.

He tells us something very different: how extremely fortunate we are to live in this moment in history.  This talk is 18 minutes, but I still hope you watch it. The speaker is Peter Diamandis, and the talk is based on his book Abundance, the future is brighter than you think. (By the way, I like to have the subtitles in Spanish for my family in Spain who reads the blog, but as a Spanish teacher I also think it is another learning tool for those of you who took Spanish in the past, as I'm sure it can bring back words long forgotten or you may even acquire new ones, like cognates. In any case, I hope it is firing up your neurons! You can also just turn the subtitles off).

Here are some quotes I like from the talk:
Over the last hundred years, the average human lifespan has more than doubled, average per capita income adjusted for inflation around the world has tripled. Childhood mortality has come down a factor of 10. Add to that the cost of food, electricity, transportation, communication have dropped 10 to 1,000-fold. Steve Pinker has showed us that, in fact, we're living during the most peaceful time ever in human history. And Charles Kenny that global literacy has gone from 25 percent to over 80 percent in the last 130 years. We truly are living in an extraordinary time. And many people forget this.
Consider each one of those statements and pause. In just one hundred years our life span has more than doubled. Which means that if I had been born in any other time before I may have been already dead. This, alone, is extraordinary and a cause for celebration. The same for everything else in that quote.
When I think about creating abundance, it's not about creating a life of luxury for everybody on this planet; it's about creating a life of possibility. It is about taking that which was scarce and making it abundant. You see, scarcity is contextual, and technology is a resource-liberating force.
It is the part about "creating a life of possibility" that I really like. I was brought up believing you had to go though life working hard and being nice towards others, which I think it could still be a good goal, but it does not sound like a life of possibility. Now, through the things I write on my computer I can reach people I don't even know, who may find solace or learn something in what I have to say. That, to me, is just incredible. And it is so true that scarcity is contextual. We often consider life from the things we don't have: time, beauty, money, and we forget to be thankful for everything we do have: time (like the Holstee manifesto says: "if you don't have enough time, stop watching TV."), beauty (honestly, look at yourself in the mirror, will ya? Yes, you are definitely cute.), money (do you have a roof over your head? I thought so.). The scarcity point of view permeates everything we see.

And he also tells us about other miracles:
Think about it, that a Masai warrior on a cellphone in the middle of Kenya has better mobile communication than President Reagan did 25 years ago. And if they're on a smartphone on Google, they've got access to more knowledge and information than President Clinton did 15 years ago. They're living in a world of information and communication abundance that no one could have ever predicted.
Yes, scarcity is contextual, and that quote let us see how far we've come.

And this is how he ends (for those who will not watch it):
 Ladies and gentlemen, what gives me tremendous confidence in the future is the fact that we are now more empowered as individuals to take on the grand challenges of this planet. We have the tools with this exponential technology. We have the passion of the DIY innovator. We have the capital of the techno-philanthropist. And we have three billion new minds coming online to work with us to solve the grand challenges, to do that which we must do. We are living into extraordinary decades ahead. 
I see it already. I know we still do not have a cure for cancer and many of my friends are still dying from it (and I may too), but I see that finally doctors are looking at things differently, that young investigators are collaborating in innovative ways, that many new types of treatments are in the pipeline.

I'm also hoping you see it too. In fact, you can and probably will also contribute to this abundance. We are definitely lucky to live in this moment.

Let me know your thoughts. Are you in an abundant frame of mind?