The best way to understand the world isn't by listening to the news or mainstream media. If these are our primary source of information, we would think the rest of the world are always suffering from natural disasters, war, terror, asylum seekers or horrible diseases taking the lives of the old and the young alike.
Unfortunately, this isn't an accurate representation of the world.
To better understand the world, Anna Rosling Rönnlund sent photographers to 264 homes in 50 countries to document the stoves, bed, toilets, toys and more in households from every income bracket around the world. Her team also took over 40,000 photos (and counting!) and recorded people doing everyday activities, such as brushing their teeth and washing their hands.
Their findings are astonishing. It turns out that there aren't many differences between people across the world – certainly not as much as the media would like you to believe. There are far more that unites us than divides us, irrespective of the country, religion, culture, language etc.
The only real differentiator amongst people is their incomes. If you know someone's income, you will have a pretty good idea of how they live. People in the same income brackets all have homes, stoves, bed, toilets, toys that look alike, irrespective of the country, culture or religion.
If we take the people in the top income bracket, their bed looks pretty similar, irrespective of whether they are from the US, China or Ukraine. Likewise, people in the lowest income brackets also have stoves or food storage that look alike, irrespective of whether they're from Rwanda, Burkina Faso or Peru.
In other words, humans around the world are all very similar. The only thing that separates us is our income bracket. Increasing global income and reducing inequality will go a long way to solving the world's problems.
Anna is one of the authors of Factfulness. It's an awesome book that offers a framework of how to think about the world. It's a book that helped me to learn more about the world through facts and data, not from the news and other mainstream media, which helps to avoid biases. It confirms that the world is indeed getting better according to all observable and measurable metrics.
I'm unable to do Anna's Ted talk the justice it deserves, so give it a watch and let me know what you think.
Have an awesome week ahead,
This Week's Wisdom
"If you follow your intuition, you will more often than not err by misclassifying a random event as systematic. We are far too willing to reject the belief that much of what we see in life is random."
– Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
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