Everyone needs a wise old uncle or aunt to guide them through life. For me, it’s Uncle Dick, who is 98 years old and still enjoying life.
Dick was a businessman before he retired. He ran a chain of coin-op laundromats. And he did well, but his greatest interest was always people, and the way they think.
Many decades ago at a Thanksgiving dinner, perhaps when I was in my 20s, I remember him saying, “What you think is what you’ll get.”
It didn’t make sense to me then. In fact, it sounded kind of kooky. But that’s because I didn’t have his perspective, and the wisdom to know that one’s thoughts actually do drive their actions and therefore their results.
Dick thought positively and he achieved positive results.
When he turned 90, we had a big party. And he commented on the pessimism that so many people feel about the future.
“It’s easy to be discouraged,” he said. “Anyone can be discouraged.” (And that was before our current era of global pandemic, political dysfunction and high inflation.)
But Dick was never discouraged, and as I’ve aged, I’ve worked to embrace his attitude as well. It works. Positive thoughts lead to positive actions lead to positive outcomes.
Admittedly, the modern world doesn’t make it easy to think positive thoughts. Uncle Dick realized that. But there are ways to deal with it. One way is to ignore a lot of the bad news—especially news about things you have no control over.
Personally, I never watch TV news, and I never watch TV ads—except during the Super Bowl. (Instead I read my news, which means I can turn the page whenever I want.)
Another way to get more positive thoughts into your life is to focus on the good news. So today I’m going to give you some, with six charts sourced from “Our World in Data”. https://ourworldindata.org/
Take a look.
Six Encouraging Charts
Over the past 200 years, the number of people in the world living in extreme poverty has shrunk dramatically—from 94% to 10%—and it continues to fall at a very fast rate.
Over the past 200 years, the number of people in the world with a basic education has climbed from 17% to 86%—and it continues to climb.
Over the past 200 years, the number of people in the world who are literate has risen from 12% to 85%—and continues to rise.
Over the past 200 years, the number of people in the world living in a democracy has risen from 1% (!) to 56%—and the main trend remains up (though the past decade has been challenging).
Over the past 200 years, the number of people in the world vaccinated against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus has risen from 0% to 86%—and continues to rise (and that doesn’t even taken into account the COVID-19 vaccine).
Over the past 200 years, the number of children dying before they are 5 years old has fallen from 43% to 4%—and continues to fall.
Bottom ljne: long-term global trends are good.
And then there’s the stock market.
Long-Term Stock Chart is Positive Too
Here’s a chart showing the progress of the S&P Composite since 1900 (note: this is only through the end of 2021, so it would look a bit different now).
Yes, there are serious corrections from time to time (like now), but the long-term trend is up, and as long as the world continues to improve, the long-term trend will continue to be up.
So, in this tumultuous period, I hope that this message helps you adopt a more positive attitude as well. It’s the simplest way to make your life better.
And a positive attitude can also help when it comes to selecting growth stocks.
People who are discouraged and fearful are reluctant to buy growth stocks; they focus too much on the risks. But people who are optimistic and positive look at growth stocks and imagine success. And like my Uncle Dick, they often find it.
*This post has been updated from an original version, published in 2017.