Hello everybody, welcome to episode 144 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life and get them answered for you here on the show. I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino and it’s a pleasure to have you here today. I’m really looking forward to this episode’s question as it’s arrived at the absolute perfect time. There is surely a lot of unrest right now in various forms, and sometimes we can’t help but to get swept into it ourselves even though we might not like to admit it or it may be so gradual that we don’t realize it’s happening. This listener sees it, but she’s not sure how to stop it. Let’s try and help her out with her views on the state of the world. Here’s her question…
QUESTION: “Lately I’ve been feeling so hopeless about a lot of things. My desire to put the same effort in a lot of areas of life has gone down. At times when I’m usually motivated and excited, I’m feeling held down by all the stuff I’m hearing about in the news. I’m worried that the current state of the world isn’t going to get better and that we’re going to slip away more from kindness and understanding. These thoughts are now taking away from my wanting to be better and set a good example. Am I to blame for feeling this way? Am I just adapting? Is this natural?“
The Cycles of Society
This is a really exciting question – I love this one. Yet another topic I was recently having a discussion about in my personal life with one of my friends.
Let me start by talking about the “current state of the world,” as if you all aren’t having that discussion 5 times a day anyway right now.
Rather than going on about how terrible everything is and how we’re all just doomed, it’s of vital importance to recognize that society is just cycling. While it’s very understandable to worry that we’re going down a slippery slope that we’ll never come back from, this has never proven to be the case.
Like now, the world has been in outrage before when things are objectively the best they’ve been. Wars, equality, life expectancy – these things have never been better. They’re always improving (and will continue to), yet there will still be times of massive unrest like right now because our standards go up as things improve.
And though dark times can seem so consuming, they’re always snapped out of, since the beginning of time.
The Hopelessness During Destructive Times
The Holocaust is a fine, recent example of this. Millions of Jews being hunted, being imprisoned, being killed with a powerful system making it happen, and millions of civilians being convinced that it was the right thing to do at the time.
The hopelessness in such a time, the destruction in such a time, was astronomically worse than anything you’d find wrong with society right now – to think they’d even be comparable would be complete nonsense.
But what happened? Some people went with it, but others stood up, and despite a seemingly impossibly dark future, the Jewish people are now thriving as is Germany.
Society cycles. And that means people cycle along with it. So to answer your last question about what you’re going through being natural, yes, just as society will change, it’s natural for you to do so as well.
Our pack mentality makes it very easy to get swept into what’s common, so for the negativity in the world to come over you and cause you to put in less effort, be less excited is something that happens. It IS natural, you AREN’T to blame for feeling this way, and you ARE adapting, but you’re not adapting in the right way.
Choose What You Want To Be A Part Of
And you’re not adapting in the right way because despite this pull of society that we all face, you can still take a mindful approach and not just go with it.
Make the most of your gift of being able to watch this happen to you as opposed to being blindsided by it. Someone like you especially (who cares enough to ask this question) has the awareness to reassess your values, reassess your actions, and choose what parts of society’s changes you want to roll with, and choose which parts have gotten too out of control that you don’t wish to be a part of.
However, if you don’t do this – if you don’t question things and instead choose to follow whatever mood and it’s ensuing behavior feels normal – you become part of the problems with current normality. And it seems you’re trending in that direction right now based on what you’ve said.
Mind you, this is not to say you’re becoming villainous. It’s simply to say that you’re fading into a system that you don’t believe in, and people who don’t question things or have a stronghold on their identity easily do this. But you don’t have to.
Direct Your Energy and Enthusiasm towards Meaningful Activities
So if you care enough to submit this question, if you care enough to reclaim your excitement and motivation, be one of the people who pulls back and doesn’t join in on the parts of current day society that you don’t like. Don’t waste your energy and enthusiasm on being angry at those you wish were less angry with everyone else. Instead, stand for something you feel is more meaningful, and help expedite the cycle to move faster into a more desirable phase.
If, as you said, you feel the world has slipped away from kindness and understanding don’t follow the masses into that. Look for opportunities in your own life and your own community to combat that, and don’t worry about things crumbling down around you.
Much of what is happening outside of your bubble or anyone else’s is misunderstood and strenuous to try to change all at once even it wasn’t misunderstood. There are a lot of people out there who are just like you, who want to maintain more kindness and understanding, but are inevitably slipping into the same feelings of hopelessness as you are. Seek them out and show them that there are still others like them who can be the people they wish others were, and band with them to encourage others to do the same.
Setting this example is how you can start a ripple effect that will benefit those far and wide.
Always Count on Life Cycles
And I want to conclude by just saying once more, not just to our asker (who has sparked a nice conversation), but to everyone, that you can always count on cycles. Always, always. Because as good as things get, we always need bad with them. Expect life to get easier and better than it was in previous generations, and therefore, alongside it, expect our thresholds for what’s acceptable to get higher and higher.
Even things like what we’re doing, the huge emphasis on mindful living and personal growth will come with their downfalls in spite of being huge wins for our generation.
Worried About the State of the World: Conclusion
So, asker, if there’s one thing I can impress upon you, it’s to see beyond this current part of the cycle and look ahead to expect them all throughout your life.
Learn to build a habit of embracing and withstanding hard times societally and personally, by regularly checking in with yourself and holding yourself accountable to take action on things that you believe are right as opposed to things that any others are thoughtlessly falling into.
Thank you kindly to the woman who sent this question in. Surely these are important matters to discuss in times that many can agree are low points for the world.
We always have the choice – and the resources to capitalize on the choice – to behave in ways that we feel are appropriate and in line with our beliefs. And the more we can remind others that they have that choice as well by setting good examples, the better.
Everyone, thanks for being here, and you know what to do if you’ve got a question you’d like help with. Email it on in to advice AT oldpodcast DOT com
Head there and we’ll help you out with support via email and of course you’ll be able to hear your question answered on the show. We’re done for now though, troops. Thanks again for coming on in today, and be sure to tune in next time. Can’t wait.