18 November 2008

The big world and the little world

An eye-opening (and sobering) new look at the world: Check out this article and these accompanying 'maps' of the world.

It often seems like news is always bad news, but a good news movement is starting, too. The Good News Network would be awesome, except that you have to pay for it. Then, there's the Good News Daily, which is free but not quite as cool. So, if you're into journalism and want to fill a need, there you go. My ideal would be a Huffington Post with mostly good news and the occasional earth-shattering bit of bad news that I have to know about in order to be a somewhat informed citizen of the world.

Looking at world news can be overwhelming in how much suffering there is out there. Seeing those maps of the globe in terms of malaria deaths, for example, made me feel a bit guilty that I was living so well. So, short of curing malaria once and for all, what can we do?

One idea is simply to lead a good life. We hear that all the time, but what does that really mean? I find so many students about to graduate from college are so focused on what job they will get that the larger picture of why they're taking that job is forgotten.

College students are an incredible demographic with whom to work because they're old enough to be able to carry out their big visions but young enough to still be very idealistic. I realize that it's a luxury to be able to choose a profession based on values and long-term goals rather than the immediate paycheck, but ideally, what I do during the day should also advance my personal goals. I know, I know-- student loans, family obligations and pressure, social pressure and norms... Right.

But what are your priorities? What is your life purpose? For what do you live? About what are you most passionate? People always look at me like I've sprouted an extra head when I ask questions like these, and I get that the dining hall isn't always the best place for personal, deep conversation. On the other hand, though, why not?

Okay, I'll stop my preachy yammering. I'll just conclude this post with a hopeful thought. We can't control the world at large, but we can control our own little worlds. As Anonymous said, "To the world, you may be one person; but to one person, you may be the world."

In case you're interested in declaring why you're here on this earth, here's an article on writing your personal mission statement. If you google 'personal mission statement,' a lot of junk comes up. The gist of it all is basically: What drives you? Who do you want to be in the world? What do you want to accomplish here before your time is up? What are you going to do to make that happen?

I believe we create our own reality, and that gives me hope. So, what reality do you want to create?

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