28 May CHEERING FOR OPTIMISM AND THE INTERNET
Many of us are complaining and we don’t realize that this is the single greatest era to be alive in human history. It’s almost a non-debate.
YOU LITERALLY HAVE MORE OPPORTUNITY THAN EVER
Everything points to the fact that the world is getting better. There’s more opportunity than ever because the internet changed everything. At the most macro, I point to things like the internet adding 1.7 billion users since January 2012! That’s 88% growth in terms of total internet accessibility. Additionally, in that time, 864 million people have joined a social network, gaining access to more information, entertainment, and community online. Since 1900, the global life expectancy has more than doubled. People are living longer and global health is improving. Global conflict has also dramatically declined. These facts, and many more clearly articulate the positivity and optimism I see that the world truly better than it was before.
Not only has life expectancy, poverty, illness and conflict dramatically improved from generations past, we now have a truly limitless playground called “the internet” to connect, create, learn, and work from at every second of every day. Just 30 years ago, if you hated your job, your life, your friends, or your town, you had nowhere to go. Now, with the internet, and especially the advent of the smartphone, you can use the device in your pocket to find new friends, colleagues, communities, job opportunities, entertainment or even the tools you need to build your own business while laying naked in bed. The internet and the opportunities it’s granted us are ludicrous and I hope this article can get at least one person to take a step back and recalibrate their perspective.
And obviously with an article title like “The Greatest Year To Be Alive” I understand that there are subtleties and nuances up for debate. But on a macro scale, things are just better than they’ve ever been. Trust me, I am enormously empathetic to the strifes and struggles that are happening all over. I’m not blind to the reality that horrendous things still happen but I challenge you to understand the fact that because of the enormous amplification and distribution of this information through the internet does it appear that we are being bombarded with bad news everyday … It used to be that you only heard about the news in your town and maybe the town over. Even with newspapers, we were operating on information at a state or national scale and we had to actively subscribe or purchase a physical copy to stay in the loop. Today, the world has gone global and there’s more info than ever being presented to us at all times. But, there’s also a flipside to this proliferation of information and access too. We now have more opportunity than ever and for once, we actually have an alternative.
YOU HAVE LIMITLESS ALTERNATIVES – DON’T COMPLAIN
30 years ago, your grandparents couldn’t build a business from the comfort of their own home, or on the way to work riding on the bus or train. Your grandparents couldn’t consume content and learn about entrepreneurship from a hundred different sources while grabbing groceries and listening to a podcast on their wireless earphones. Most of your grandparents would probably struggle to have 500 people listen to their opinion in their lifetime, and now we complain about having “only 10,000 views or only 10,000 followers online.” The distribution and disruption that the internet has enabled for us all is insane.
Now anyone with the access to the internet has a legitimate alternative. An alternative to what content they consume and when they consume it. An alternative to which friends they associate with or want to communicate with all across the world. An alternative to where you work, how you work, and with whom you work at any given moment. With social media and the smartphone we have a choice. We have infinite alternatives.
The cost of starting a business or producing content in today’s digital age is dramatically lower than it’s ever been. The processor in the iPhone is millions of times of times more powerful than the computer that first took the US to the moon. Yes, the moon, my friends… If I wanted to produce a long form video show to mirror my vlog, and a radio show to mimic my podcast, and billboards to mimic my images on Instagram, I would have to spend millions of dollars just 20 years ago. Today, the barrier to entry is practically zero. If you have a smartphone and access to the internet, you are in the game. You can document, create and distribute, at scale, through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitch, iTunes and many other platforms for pretty much free.
If you don’t have capital, you can literally go to the Craigslist free section and start picking up and selling items on other marketplaces, for close to free. If you don’t have the gratitude and perspective to appreciate that then you’re not in the right headspace to win. The reason I push so hard on developing this perspective and mindset is because it’s absolutely the foundation of a winning career.
Social norms are changing faster than ever and we’ve all become complacent to the rapid rate of change. If only there was a magic genie to take us all back 80 years to show us how things used to be, then we’d all finally know how much the game has truly changed. The internet is a fucking miracle, and everything we take for granted from our cellphones, to social media, to WiFi, Uber and anything else you can imagine delivered to your door or accessible through a click of a button would sound pretty fucking good. I laugh at the fact that I become noticeably aware when my internet is 1 second slower than I’m used to, or I occasionally joke about not having WiFi on a plane .. Newsflash! It’s freaking WiFi on a fucking plane! I’m old, I remember not having these things just a few years ago. I was hysteric when a friend texted me in London saying his Uber app didn’t work and he weren’t sure how to get around .. I joked that, just as we have all done for the last 300 years, it was probably okay for him to walk or take the train. It’s moments like these that remind me how comfortable and complacent we’ve become to innovation. The fact that we aren’t able to be grateful or aware in the moment to find the proper perspective to realize that things are just so insanely good! It’s that optimism and positivity that I want to preach .. Because when you are looking for bad, I’m sure you’ll find it, and when you’re looking for good, positivity becomes the norm.
Either you’re on the offense and looking for what’s right, or you’re on defense and choosing to identify what’s wrong. When you’re addicted to optimism, kindness, and positivity, your POV changes. When you choose empathy, gratitude, and perspective, nothing can stop you. It’s 100% the way to win.
Let’s all make that optimism a little bit louder … This article was inspired by one of the best keynotes I’ve ever given in Portland Oregon .. If you have 2 hours and want to understand my exact POV, give it a go 😉