Common Outlook
September 2013 - Issue # 13-09

Founder's Message


Many people in North America count the beginning week of September as the 'real' start of the New Year.

We are refreshed after summer holidays and ready to get on with it - even the start of school - while those of us in business, in political organizations, and in the volunteer sector are tackling long-term projects with renewed vigour.

Whatever the reason, we have our hopes up. We hope for a good start and we hope it will carry us through.

It is easy to underestimate the importance of 'hope'; it is even easier to lose it in the daily deluge of misleading statistics, or in the 'whatever bleeds... leads' headlines that flood our information channels. Sensationalized events, political spin, myopic focus, and poor statistics create debilitating misconceptions about the state of the world; they skew our understanding of others, and they muddle and muddy the ways in which we perceive ourselves.

In other words, they warp our view.

This month's article explores that warp, seeking to leave you with a more balanced view of the world, and - justifiably, we believe - a more hopeful feeling about humankind's prospects.

Here's to hope.




Take a break from the news for a week - or at a minimum become purposeful and selective about which news you will give your attention to - and see if and/or how your view of the world around you changes.


What's New? 


If you don't like your job or profession, stay tuned for our October and November series on job satisfaction and dissatisfaction and their connection to happiness and fulfillment. You'll be happy you did.  :-)   




"Everything that is done in the world is done by hope."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. 




We're not as Bad as We Think We Are
(so keep your hopes up)

One of the ways we can become more hopeful about ourselves is to continually step back from the daily deluge of information. When we do, we will likely remember two human tendencies. 1) We engage in negative biasing, which is the lower brain's belief that danger/evil lurks everywhere (connected to our survival instinct), and 2) We tend to see things subjectively, through our own limited experience, yet we don't think our view is subjective; we think it's 'the truth'. 

What is the primary source for our view of the world? The News.

And watching the news often makes us think we live in a terrible world. But do we really?

As practitioners in the field of conflict management, we have come to believe that - most of the time - "The News" is not a representative picture of what actually happens in the world  on any given day (or even in our local community). "How so", you ask?

Our opinion is that in many cases, you could safely insert the word "Bad" between "The" and "News" and thereby create an accurate description of what is presented. Said differently, the news - in our opinion - primarily presents negative stories: conflict, violence, crime of all sorts, social or environmental problems, etc. "Good news" stories are few and far between.

Why is so much of our news "bad"?

Read More


Peter Hiddema


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