The Audacity of Optimism

The Audacity of Optimism

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Few minutes into watching the news, it is very likely that we might be tempted to tune off and conclude that perhaps trying to stay abreast on the worlds issues, isn’t such a great idea.

From terror attacks in our country’s north-east, to Trumps incessant tweets threatening the very fabric human decency as we know it, to our country’s murky polity, it is tempting to conclude that the sky is falling.

It is all too easy to be lured into to burying our heads in the sand and hoping for the best.

Nihilism seems to be the general direction human thinking is headed, and based on all that is reported on a daily basis,   it all makes perfect sense

Think about it, the world is messed up right? What’s the point of anything?

Bill and Melinda Gates want to stop you dead in your tracks.

In their foundation’s annual letter for 2018, the Gates espoused their beliefs that the world is indeed getting better, with the facts to prove it.

Infant and maternal mortality, thanks to a global effort to bring the scourge to an end, is on a steady decline. Less than ten percent of the world is living in extreme poverty which is a great leap because just a few decades ago, it was a whopping 30%.

Also, believe it or not battle fatalities from war have dropped significantly compared to the 20th century.

The world is getting greener actually, at least where once waning forests are concerned  (I must admit, this one really shocked me). A study conducted by the Rockefeller university, in partnership with the university of Helsinki in Finland, shows that there has been a reversal in the decline of the world’s forests, this phenomenon is dubbed the great reversal.

Let’s not get carried away though, it’s not eureka just yet.

While a lot of things are changing for good, there’s still a ton of bad stuff the world has to wade through, in order to make our planet a better place.  In our neck of the woods for example, we haven’t been able to battle corruption, civil unrest all though greatly declined since the last century, still looms. Also, the world’s hyper connectivity might inspire us all to sing cumbaya, but it brings with it a lot of challenges from accelerating global warming, to deepening the lines of inequality.

In the end, we essentially have a simple choice to make. Do we choose to be optimistic like Bill and Melinda or do we dwell on the gloom and doom?

However pervasive the feeling of hopelessness is in today’s world, the choice to see the glass half full or half empty ultimately rests with us.

But hey, if the facts don’t sway us in the general direction of optimism, perhaps the following benefits will:

  1. It gives us a reason for living.
  2. Research shows that it increases longevity.
  3. It enables us handle and put your emotions in check.
  4. It promotes happiness.
  5. It enhances various coping skills developed in order to combat life’s struggles.
  6. It forges persistence which is an essential trait required for achieving success.
  7. It creates a positive anticipation of the future.
  8. It increases our level of productivity.
  9. It allows us to deal with failure constructively.
  10. It allows us to develop the attribute of patience.
  11. It improves our physiological and psychological wellbeing.
  12. It increases the likelihood of effective problem solving.
  13. It gives us peace of mind.
  14. It enables us generate an alternative, more hopeful explanation for various difficulties experienced.
  15. It increases our tolerance levels because it lowers the risk of you being irritated by little things.
  16. It allows us to develop the habit of being thankful.

(Benefits of optimism listed above, culled from


Credit: Tobi Akhanamoya

Author Bio

Tobi Akhanamoya is your typical millennial. She loves selfies, has an occasional penchant for punctuating with cuss words and wants to “change the world”.

She works as a corporate communications officer at MTN Nigeria by day and by night? Well….you’ll find her asleep on her comfy bed and fluffy pillow after a long hard day of stirring up controversy.

Instagram : @Osione_Akhanamoya 

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