Auntie G

Reasons to be cheerful

Auntie’s favourite song is Louis Armstrong’s “What a wonderful world”. She loves to hear his gravelly voice listing the things that make life good. But lately, she’s been more likely to hum “It’s the end of the world as we know it” under her breath. It’s easy to see why. We’re bombarded by bad news – conflict, natural disasters, displaced people, squeezed resources, pollution, financial uncertainty, scandals… it’s enough to bring anyone down.

Now, Auntie doesn’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but for 2018 she’s decided to actively seek out the positive.

She’s found there’s plenty of good news hidden among the headline-grabbing doom and gloom. Child slavery is down 40% since 2000. They’re going to start building roads from recycled plastic recovered from the sea in the Netherlands. The snow leopard, endangered for decades, is now merely “vulnerable”. A gusty weekend generated so much wind-powered electricity that consumers in Germany were given free power. The disfiguring disease elephantiasis has been eliminated from two states in Nigeria.

All things that make the world a better place. And there was more, much more, to restore Auntie’s belief that we’re still making progress as a species.

The same applies in business. Red flags that set off alarm bells in one area often signal new opportunities elsewhere. The slump in oil prices of recent years was bad for the energy sector, but cut costs for truckers and many others. Digitalisation sparks fears in some of being replaced by a robot, yet opens up new realms. Many success stories began with failure that pushed someone out of their comfort zone.

Auntie knows she can’t do much about all the big bad stuff. But she can do small things. Donate to her favourite charity (every little really does help). Volunteer at the local soup kitchen. Read aloud to Great Aunt Agatha whose failing eyes can no longer make out words on a page. Even a smile to a harassed check-out girl can make her day a little better.

Bad news is loud and panic-inducing. Good stuff comes in smaller packages, and it’s often already with us.

If you’ve got something positive to share, drop Auntie a line at She’d love to hear from you.