Look How Far We Have Come

Look How Far We Have Come

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For someone like me, who is deeply focussed on helping to create a wonderful future, it is hard to spend much time thinking about the past or the present.

This can be deeply challenging for those closest to me and the people I interact with. Living with a perpetual mindset that everything can be greatly improved can cause a fair bit of friction.

An awful lot in the world isn’t as good as it could be, but it is important to recognise that the world  is actually getting better every day. A lot better.

The data proves this. Less than 240 years ago, average life expectancy worldwide was only 29 years old, whereas it’s 70, today. The number of people living in extreme poverty  has decreased by over 50% in just the last 25 years.

Since the 1940s, the percentage of the global population killed in wars is at an historical low (from 22 people per 100,000 population to less than 1), and since the 1990’s, deaths from HIV/AIDS and other diseases like measles are 35-58% lower, owing to vaccinations and new antiviral drugs.

These days, more people  have enough to eat than ever before – since 1990, undernourished people in countries in the developing world have declined by more than 20%. Since only 1990, the number of mothers dying in childbirth is down by 45% and children living to the age of five are much higher, since the child mortality rate has dropped by half. How fortunate we are to live in these times!

And I can see how progress is impacting my own life. I am looking forward to the birth of my second son in the weeks ahead. This will be a birth that in another part of the world, or in another era, would not have been possible, due to complications with the pregnancy. For that reason, I must confess to my immense gratitude for the quality of the medical system we already have.

There are many wonderful things in my everyday life that are incredible simply because they exist and I am as guilty as anyone of not appreciating this. In the pursuit of continual improvement, I rarely take the time to stop and notice what is already magnificent about human accomplishment. Despite what the media would have us believe, with its persistent focus on bad news, overall, life is good, and I am thankful.

There are so many grand challenges that the human race collectively still has to solve. There are so many more problems that we will yet create.

But in this moment, I just want to celebrate what we have and be grateful for how far we have already come.

With gratitude.


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  1. Why do you only give 2 choices? Love it or hate it? Maybe I simply found it an interesting piece to reflect on!! And I am delighted that your wife’s pregnancy is going well!!

  2. I’m surprised you say you don’t have time for thinking about past or present because you are focussing on future.

    Surely we need to focus on the now to get done what we need to do now so you may want to achieve in future?

    Btw, all the best with new child Marc!

  3. Gratitude, yes more gratitude always. Thanks for the reminder. Baby blessings x

  4. Aw, this was a very nice post. Spending some time and actual effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and don’t manage to get anything done.|

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