Gloom And Doom Is Everywhere
Is it the law of attraction or target fixation?
Everywhere I care to look on the internet, there is Gloom, and his friend, Doom. I see them in the news, on my social media feeds, and in my newsreader, Feedly. There isn’t very much good news in my feeds. I’m an optimist so I know it’s out there, but I have to scroll a bit to find it. Still, the tide brings in gloom and doom more than it brings good news.
Even here on Medium, most of the news is so dour. There are more predictions for bad than good. Lots of people are talking about the breakdown of society, of social norms, of the economy, of our way of life. I could list the many ways we’re going to suffer and die, but one only needs to look around the internet to find them.
I am aware that people get a hit from reading bad news. I am aware that people get a charge from reading that pandemic stats. I am keenly aware that some people enjoy reading all the bad news that has befallen President Trump. I have even seen people express confidence that Trump is losing the pending election, already. I think I will feel a sense of relief when he is finally gone, but I don’t trust the polls.
I have seen plenty of personal gloom and doom myself. I’ve been poor, technically homeless, and I’ve been seriously lost at sea in my life. I have been a pessimist for a long, long time. And that made me really tired. So I decided to be an optimist.
When I see the bad news, I just browse the headlines unless there's something that might affect me directly. Like when I see the news about the latest coronavirus surge, that doesn’t really affect me personally. I’m doing my part. I’m working from home. I’m staying in. I’m keeping my family safe. Yeah, I think much of this is crazy, but I accept the science and follow it. That also means I don’t sit around worrying about the end of the world as we know it.
I look at the gloom and doom and then I look around me. I’m still here. I’m still paying my bills. I’m still being a father, a husband, and a worker. I’m still doing what I used to do before the pandemic, except that I hardly ever drive my car anymore. I’m not spending much money on gas and car maintenance. We don’t eat out much as a general rule, so we’re not missing any restaurants. I don’t miss going to the movies because I didn’t go to the movies much.
We’re not flying anymore. At least, there are no plans to go anywhere anytime soon. We’re not avid flyers or travelers. We have been hiking more. We’re even looking into camping in the great outdoors. Most of what we do when we travel now is outdoors. When I’m on the trail, I’m not hiking with the tag team Gloom and Doom. I’m thinking about the weather, and how I’m going to manage if I have to carry my younger daughter. I’m thinking about keeping up with my older daughter when she blazes the trail.
I’m looking for good news at home, too. I have neighbors I love. I have a home that I love. Our garden is doing very well these days. The sun shines without a mass coronal ejection. The last gamma ray burst missed us by a comfortable distance. The last near-earth object buzzed by without a headline. SpaceX is launching rockets. The weather has been unusually cool lately. At home, I’ve got no complaints. Everything just works.
Every week, I see a little more progress towards a working fusion reactor. I see a little more progress on a vaccine for the coronavirus. I see a little more progress on solar power and batteries. I see a little more progress on electric cars. I also see progressive victories in the Democratic primaries here and there, too. Bernie is still out there, doing his thing.
I used to think that the world was against me. But then I wondered, if the entire world is against me, how could I still be here? If the entire world was against me, I’d be about a millimeter thick. Well, I’m here. And life isn’t so bad. There is more good than bad going on in the world, right now. I know, it’s hard to believe.
The media would have you believe that the world will end tomorrow if they could make a buck. The media would have you feeling guilty that you actually have a reason to be happy if that would pay their bills. With the latest surge in cases, we’re not supposed to be happy. With Donald Trump and his minions running the country, we’re not supposed to be happy. With global warming, we’re not supposed to be happy. With a struggling economy, we’re not supposed to be happy.
Don’t buy into it. Even if you’re unemployed, I bet you could find a reason to be happy. Even if you’re sick, you can still find a reason to be happy. Even if you’re a news junkie waiting for your next hit of bad news, you can still find a reason to be happy. Happiness is like the air we breathe, we only need to notice it to feel it.
I believe in target fixation. I believe that if I’m focused on something, I tend to head towards it. I believe in the law of attraction. I believe that if I think about something long enough, it will manifest itself in my life.
I’m mindful of the news. I know that there is bad news out there. I know that there are hurtful and hurting people out there. I also know that if I get lost in all that, then I can’t take care of myself or my family. I know that I must take care of myself first, then my family, and then do what I can to be of service to others.
So I focus on myself and my family. I focus on my day job when I’m working. I focus on my home and the garden and the lawn. I think about the good things that are happening right now. I think about the good things to come. I do all that in the hopes that those little things I do will help to make a better world for all of us. These are small influences, but when they are multiplied, they have large effects.
It is not the end of the world. For every ending, there is a beginning. The coronavirus ended a way of life for millions of people, but much of what is familiar to us remains. And much of what remains is still good. It’s good enough for us to live.
We have enough for today or we wouldn’t be here. I guess that makes me an optimist.