Reasons For Optimism

Scott Kronick

I have been in China now for the past 1.5 months and am feeling very optimistic. That may sound contrary to what you are hearing or reading about the US-China relationship, but I just listened to a Ted Talk from 2021 by Kevin Kelly, a brilliant thinker and Founding Executive Editor of Wired Magazine, where he introduces the concept of “Protopia.”  Protopia is a world where things get just a little bit better year-on-year, and this is a result of being optimistic.

Benevolent Ancestors

Kelly argues the reason we don’t hear so much about the results of all the solutions society delivers is because the problems just don’t exist. For example, we don’t hear regular updates about children dying from polio, because history provided us with a solution. Also, positive results take much more time than negative news, and do not dominate the news cycle like crises that meet the time crunch of hourly news. He also talks about being optimistic based on the fact we are living in better times due to benevolent ancestors, and by being a good ancestor ourselves, the future will be better than the past. Finally, his source of optimism comes from the problems we have faced in the past have served as a catalyst for immediate solutions. Only with big problems will we be forced to create meaningful solutions, and we need to be optimistic that such problems will serve as an impetus for future, big solutions.

I must say I look at AI and Chat GPT in a much different way when listening to Kevin’s talk.  It is well worth the ten-minute video below.

Optimism in the US-China Relationship

With US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken’s visit to China, at the same time of many US CEO’s visiting here, and what I understand are several future US-China exchanges in the plans, I am feeling much better about our prospects in this critical relationship. We just must limit incidences and misunderstandings that create tension, which both parties have been pretty good at creating in the last year. Let’s hope we have learned a few lessons there.

Stay tuned for what the future holds if we remain optimistic.

Optimism From My Friendship Group

While I have been in Beijing, I have had the opportunity to meet up with a lot of friends and colleagues. Here is a picture of Nita Wang, one of my former colleagues I have written about before because of her optimism. She once told me the positive side of her disability was that good people migrate to her, and for that she was grateful.  Picture of Nita below in a pack of wolves.

Here’s another very optimistic photo. One former colleague, Tina Ren, got married last week, congratulations Tina, and this is a photo in Chengdu at Tina’s wedding of the kids of many of my current and former colleagues, many of whom have mixed race children like my own. These kids will solve our future problems.

Competitive Optimism

Finally, I got a kick out of this story from the New York Times. One shot putter from Belgium needed to compete in a totally unrelated event from her expertise to gain some points for her team, and she did this with grace and selflessness. I love these types of stories.  Check out this article and click on the video of her running the hurdles.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/26/sports/olympics/belgium-hurdles-jolien-boumkwo.html?searchResultPosition=1

Just a few things to make you smile. Have a great week ahead.

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Ben Becker
Ben Becker
9 months ago

Scott- Thank you for the Monday dose of optimism! One learning from my past couple years: optimism can be a choice, and optimism breeds success as opposed to success breeding optimism.

Joyce Beach
Joyce Beach
8 months ago

I got hooked on the video and protopia. You and Kelly have perfect timing. An optimistic shot in the arm helps the medicine go down. As always, thanks Scott.

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