Continuing with our Thankful Thursday theme, an article to get you started on a Phenomenal Friday!

 How the World is Getting Better (not written by me, but great information I wanted to share)

We humans thrive on bad news; we’re pre-programmed to respond to threats, and predictions of apocalypse. Good news bores us, so we don’t hear much about the remarkable improvements in the human condition in recent years. Here’s a quick review of significant developments.
– Life expectancy, perhaps the most objective indicator of human wellbeing, has been rising dramatically. When people live longer it means they have more of life’s necessities, and are freer from disease and fatal violence. A few hundred years ago, the average human lived less than 30 years. When I was born, my life expectancy, right here in the U.S., was 63. Babies born today can expect to reach the age of 79, a 25 percent improvement, and more than three times the average life-span in Julius Caesar’s time. Worldwide, including all the poorest countries, life expectancy at birth has gone from 46 years in the 1950s to 70 years today. Adding 24 years to the longevity of our species in a mere 60 years is remarkably good news.
 – Despite food shortages in some places, there’s more food for everyone today than ever before. For most of human history the daily struggle for food dominated life. People rarely had enough to eat. But even as the world population climbed to 7 billion, daily food supplies per person have gone from 2,250 calories a day in 1960 to 2,800 in 2002. The English, who survived on 2068 calories a day in the late 19th century, consume 3412 today. In India, calories per capita were below 1700 as recently as 1950. Today, the figure is 2459. For comparison, consider the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommendations: 2000-3000 calories per day for adult men; 1600-2400 for adult women. In many countries, including the U.S., poverty is now characterized by too much food rather than too little.
– The world’s wealth has increased enormously. For tens of thousands of years humans existed at bare subsistence, on the equivalent of $400 or $500 per person per year (in 1990 dollars). But wealth skyrocketed worldwide, starting around 1800 with the Industrial Revolution, and growing with the widespread use of electricity; it was $1500 per capita in 1913 and $10,700 in 2010. Deprivation has not been eradicated, of course, but this kind of economic growth is new to human history.
In the U.S., where income per capita zoomed from $5300 in 1913 to $48,112 today, large numbers of Americans are still classified as poor, but everyone’s living standards have improved markedly. Surveys show that 83 percent of the poor say that they have enough to eat; 63 percent have cable or satellite TV; 80 percent have air conditioning; 43 percent have Internet access. But instead of celebrating this progress, we’re inclined to find things wrong with it.
– There is much less violence than there used to be. Harvard’s Steven Pinker, who has researched this subject exhaustively, recently concluded that “today we are probably living in the most peaceful moment of our species’ time on earth.” Wars used to kill millions; now the numbers are way down. In World War II, U.S. forces wiped out hundreds of thousands of civilians as part of our military strategy. Now we pay reparations for accidentally killing civilians. Not long ago witches were burned at the stake, slavery and public hangings were commonplace. Cats were burned alive for entertainment. Those practices are gone for good.
What are we to make of the fact that good news is all around us, but we determinedly dwell on the not-so-cheerful? Some blame attaches to politicians, who want us to be afraid of unseen dangers so they can protect us, and some attaches to the media, which revel in violence because it draws eyeballs.
But we seem eager to embrace the dark side. Rather than being glad we lead more comfortable lives than our parents or our grandparents did, we tend to grouse that things are worse than they were last year, or last week.
It turns out that there’s a built-in reason for that. Attention to trouble has been vital to our survival. In a recent essay Marian Tupy of the Cato Institute points out that the information entering the amygdala, the part of our brain responsible for emotions like rage, hate and fear, “gets our first attention because the amygdala ‘is always looking for something to fear.’ Our species has evolved to prioritize bad news.” In the struggle for survival, those who constantly feared danger survived; optimists did not.
So the evening news will always lead with violence. There will always be enough bad news to go around. We even create our own bad news with deaths and injuries in many sports and other entertainment.
But have a look at the good news once in a while. I know it’s boring, but even as we resist, things are likely to keep right on getting better and better.
Other Sources:
Indur M. Goklany, The Improving State of the World, Cato Institute, 2007
Philip D. Harvey heads the DKT Liberty Project in Washington D.C. He is author of Government Creep: What the Government is Doing That You Don’t Know About.
Follow Philip D. Harvey on Twitter:

We need a bipolar president…article of interest from 2011

We Need a Bipolar President

A Bipolar Solution To Our Bipolar Economy
Published on August 8, 2011 by Tom Wootton in Bipolar Advantage
In recent months, discussions about the boom and bust cycles of our economy going back to the Great Depression have been the focus of many news stories. During boom cycles, too many of us experience periods of inflated feelings of power or delusions of grandeur, characterized by excessive risk taking and out of control spending. During bust cycles, many of us experience periods of indecisiveness, black and white thinking, loss of energy and fatigue, even feelings of worthlessness and suicidal thoughts. These reactions are classic symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Companies can and do prosper during times of economic turmoil. What do GE, Disney, HP, Microsoft, and Apple have in common? They were all startups during steep declines in the U.S. economy. GE started during the panic of 1873, Disney started during the recession of 1923-24, HP began during the Great Depression, and Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft during the recession of 1975. Even today, while the economy is in the worst down period since the Great Depression, Apple is thriving. All these companies realized that they had an advantage by adopting a different mindset, a different way of seeing the crisis. Instead of succumbing to the situation, they saw it as an opportunity to innovate and grow.

Those of us who have changed our mental condition from bipolar disorder to bipolar IN order have something important to share. We have found strength in what was at one time a debilitating weakness. We have learned how to function in all states, including the extremes of mania and depression. The insights we have and the tools that we use can help our companies to function better in both boom and bust times. We can inspire everyone to move forward instead of being crippled by fear and doubt.

It is times like these that call for a different kind of leader. We need someone who understands bipolar and can inspire us all. We need a bipolar president.
Dr. Nassir Ghaemi is a professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine and the director of the Mood Disorders Program at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. He serves on the faculty of Harvard University’s Medical School, and has degrees in history, philosophy and public health. His new book comes to the same conclusion.

In A FIRST-RATE MADNESS: Uncovering the Links Between Leadershipand Mental Illness, Dr. Ghaemi argues that the very qualities associated with mood disorders have produced brilliant leadership under the toughest circumstances. He focuses on those leading during very turbulent periods and he identifies four key elements essential to crisis leadership: realism, empathycreativity, and resilience. All, he posits, can be directly enhanced by mental illness: empathy and realism by depression, creativity by mania, and resilience by both.
Dr. Ghaemi looks at the careers and personal plights of figures like Sherman, Lincoln, Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr,. What Ghaemi uncovers is that our great heroes were neither “normal” nor were they special in the sense of being better, or more perfect, than the rest of us. They often suffered from mental illness, but these afflictions actually proved beneficial by boosting the very traits they needed to excel as leaders during hard times. In the case of Lincoln and Winston Churchill, depressive realism and empathy helped these men tackle both personal and tremendous national challenges. For General Sherman and Ted Turner, mania proved a catalyst for the design and execution of some of their most creative and successful strategies. Depression built resilience in King and Gandhi.

Expanding on his thesis, Dr. Ghaemi also explains why exceedingly sane men like General George McClellan and Neville Chamberlain failed to rise to the challenges of their times. Though many considered these men were excellent peacetime leaders, during crises – when empathy, creativity, realism and resilience are called for – their mental health proved a severe liability. A lifetime without the cyclical troubles of mood disorders, Ghaemi explains, can leave one ill equipped to endure dire straits. He also clarifies which kinds of insanity – like psychosis – make for despotism and ineptitude, sometimes on a grand scale.

Similar to my own work with Bipolar Advantage, Dr. Ghaemi encourages us to rethink our view of mental illness as a purely negative phenomenon.Those of us who have done the work to change our bipolar condition from disorder to IN order can be tremendous assets to society instead of burdens. We may also hold the key for turning this mess around. As Dr. Ghaemi concludes, “We should not be seeking leaders who are like us – our leaders should be different from the norm and posses the qualities that come naturally to those persons with mental illnesses.”

*Once again, I’m not endorsing or promoting any person or product. Just providing information for your pleasure. What do you think about this commentator’s opinion? Tell us below in the comments!