When I was nearing the end of my 21st year around the sun, I packed up my bags, loaded my tiny little '92 Honda to the brim, and drove 20 hours north to settle in the place I wanted to call home. It wasn't that I was unhappy where I was where I was living - Southern California in the United States is a beautiful part of the world that practically has perfect weather in the winter. My entire family is here (and I have a BIG family), all of my friends from my childhood through adulthood, and all of my connections in the industry.
Why did I leave?
Simply put, it was time for me to make my own way. I needed to create my own mental pathways, formulate my own opinions about the world around me, and I needed to do it away from any of the influence of my childhood. It wasn't until I came back to visit on a stop over 3 months later that I realized how much I hated one simple thing:
Local morning news.
I will preface: I don't think the news is inherently wrong, nor do I think we should ever do away with it. I think it's important to be informed on the world around you... However, I think many news group have their focus in the wrong place, because it's way too easy to boost your ratings and viewers when your headline is the !!!!!!!end of the world!!!!!!, rather than something beautiful, positive, uplifting. It's fascinating to watch the news and see 50 minutes of straight terror, 5 minutes of commercials, 3 minutes of commentary and only two minutes of coverage about someone actually doing something good in the world.
This style of storytelling has permeated almost every type of storytelling we utilize across many cultures, and it's worked its way in to our heads so silently and so quickly that I even remember how sensational my own stories became when I watched the news regularly.
It wasn't until l returned for my visit that I realized how many people around me were constantly focused on negative things *potentially* happening around them. We're staying with family in SoCal this month for work and the holidays, and this morning, before I began writing this post, I heard that familiar news jingle make it's way over to the living room. I have this gut-drop feeling when I hear the news come on, because I can't stand it.
Is there bad in the world? Yes. But I believe there is much more good, and I just don't think we're telling enough people about it.
I don't think this is a conspiracy theory. I'm not in to chem-trails or government covert operations or UFOs. I just think it's way too easy for us to focus on the bad happening around us, and get stuck in a loop of turning lights OFF and shutting out the world around us, than it is to turn the lights ON and share the goodness of the world around us.
Our energy goes where our mind directs it - how can I ever possibly think I can bring something good in to this world if I permit negativity, within my control, to permeate my existence? My routine? My daily habits? The growth I experienced after subtracting local news was exponential. Over time, I didn't fear car accidents or earthquakes or tornadoes or vortexes in the middle of the ocean sucking me up and doing away with me for the rest of time.
This isn't just present in local news - this type of negative, scarcity-thinking is so easy for us that it's often hard to even notice there's a problem. It gives us the attitude of "....there's so much bad in the world. How could I possibly do anything about it?"
"....there's so much bad in the world. How could I possibly do anything about it?"
When we focus in on looking for the good in our lives on a personal, local, and global level, it's much easier for us to share our vision with the world. It's much easier for us to do good for those around us. It's much easier for us to create beautiful things, to remove stress from our lives, and to build something that lasts beyond us. And, as with anything, it all begins with an awareness.
The answer to solving this problem of negative-focused thinking isn't shutting the world out and focusing only on the good stuff. One of the things that really shook me when I first started trying to think this way was that I couldn't just be "happy" all the time, and not let things bother me. I tried for too long and eventually had to address that there was still bad in the world, even in my own life. How could being happy all the time just bring a change?
Instead, I decided to switch out that negative thinking for positive anger, action, and hopefully, resolution. Then, I started looking for the good in everything... things as simple as a smile at the checkout or a perfect-tasting coffee clearly made with heart, up to the way I saw people doing ethical business in Portland (shout out to Pip's Original Doughnuts!) or forgiveness for blunders while driving, and tipping over at world leaders making landmark decisions like shutting down DAPL and the marriage equality bill passing nation-wide.
The 5-Day "Sharing the Good" Challenge
Actively practicing this way of thinking is one of the best ways to instill the habit. I've done less of this lately than I would like, so for the next 5 days, I'm going to write about one thing every day that I see as good in the world...
...and I want YOU to join me.
In the comments section at the bottom of the blog post, I will share something good each day for the next 5 days. I'll link out from stories I see online, and I'll share stories from my day-to-day life. Each day, for the next 5 days, join me in sharing small stories of GOOD in the comments of this blog post, then share it with friends and family who you think would love to see it.
At the end of the next 5 days, I'll talk about the good I saw in a full blog post - and I'll even feature some of the comments that are written below.
So go out, find the good, and share it with us here. We all need to hear it.
A PRO-PHOTOGRAPHER'S HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE:
I just launched my 2017 comprehensive Holiday Gift Guide: ALL of the gear I use as a professional photographer to create every image you see on this blog. In this image, I used the VEO tripod, a 5D camera, and a Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art lens. Find the guide by clicking the banner below:
Stars courtesy of Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash.
Share your stories of GOOD below!
I'm on a mission to show that the light will always pierce through the darkness.