We have now left the first year of the pandemic behind, and the list of other things we have left behind is getting longer: holidays, time away from screens, dreams, and ambitions. Brno Daily’s Melis Karabulut suggests a strategy that could help to deal with these thoughts: factful opportunism, and telling yourself: ‘The world is stronger than the pandemic’. Photo Credit: Melis Karabulut.
Brno, Mar 21 (BD) – When I first arrived in the Czech Republic, my intention was to travel across the country, see even the teeny-tiny villages, make use of the great location of Brno and visit neighboring countries, learn the culture and history by heart, make friends, enjoy the best beer in the world, find opportunities, dance, live life and be adventurous. A few months later, just when I started to find my way around Brno, my dreams were crushed by the pandemic outbreak, just like everyone else’s. Now we have left the first year of the pandemic behind.
The list of other things we have left behind is long: seaside vacations, detox from screens and notifications, dreams that once seemed achievable, ambitions that we believed we had the power to follow. I see my friends drinking more, but being a lot less cheerful. I see myself growing a hunchback as I complete endless online tasks. All this is hard on all of us. Young and old, local and foreign. One way or another, everyone has had their own version of ‘lockdown problems’ in pandemic times. But there is a thought strategy that I have developed to take this all in: There will be an end to this, just as there was for all other disasters and wars. And, the world is stronger than the pandemic. The key is seeing the opportunities of humankind, and factfulness.
Based on my experience in journalism, I have noticed that every piece of news shared on mainstream media is based on creating a feeling of emergency in people’s minds, and these prophecies of doom have gained even more power during the pandemic. We consume this vicious cycle of negativity from the media, comments from people about politicians’ mistakes, hatred against certain races, religions, and colors, misinformation, overdramatization, conspiracy theories. The list goes on. The world is full of problems, it always has been and will be. But good things happen, too. Slowly, gradually, the world has achieved great things in the past decades, while the tracking of slow-but-promising developments does not get enough media coverage. Let me give you a brief overview:
The World Bank data says that in 2000, around 57 million girls around the world did not attend primary school, while this number had fallen to 34 million by 2020. Furthermore, in the last 20 years, the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty has almost halved and the majority of the world lives in middle-income countries. The International Disaster Database says that over the last hundred years, the number of deaths per year from natural disasters has decreased by over a half. According to the World Health Organisation, more than 80% of the world’s 1-year-old children have been vaccinated against at least one disease. And this list goes on. If you don’t believe this data, ask your grandparents about their living standards when they were young.
The world is going through serious challenges, but it is not under a zombie attack. We still find pasta and rice at the supermarket, luckily. The long-awaited vaccines for COVID-19 are here. The world has succeeded in developing several types of vaccines in less than a year, leaving the politicization of the process aside. And the world will heal, one way or another. The post-pandemic problems will surely challenge the world, yet solutions will be created to move forward to improve the joy of our daily lives again. With the development we have achieved so far, it is possible to create solutions to 21st-century problems. It is a good strategy to keep history in mind, what great things humanity achieved with very little to hand. And to remind ourselves what great things we could achieve with a lot to hand. This is certainly not wishful, pollyanna-ish thinking, but rather a worldview gained through evaluating the odds. Keeping this in mind as you take your coffee walks in Brno can help you get through the day. Take your coffee walks, meet friends for a run, watch good movies on Netflix. You will go on, and so will the world, to a better place.
A friendly book suggestion to build factful opportunism: “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World and Why Things Are Better Than You Think” by Hans Rosling.