The most optimistic people on the planet


GALLUP International found that Africans are among the most optimistic people in the world.
This is despite the fact that Africans can expect to live the shortest lives, earn the lowest incomes and suffer more misrule than most people on the planet.
They are more likely than anyone on Earth to bury their children before the age of five, to become infected with HIV, to die from malaria and tuberculosis, to require food aid.
They are painfully aware of the inadequacies of their leaders. One survey found eight out of 10 Africans thought their leaders were dishonest, three-quarters deemed them to have too much power and responsibility and believed politicians generally behaved unethically.
Yet Africans are optimistic. Why? Apparently because they recognise the daily triumphs of hope over experience.
Their hope is the evidence of things not yet seen.


24 thoughts on “The most optimistic people on the planet

    • Conversely, the more that’s going well for you, the more you can concentrate on what needs improvement. Otherwise we would be stuck in a dark past. But can we improve conditions without losing that optimism? Perhaps a growing sense of responsibility automatically loads us with care, and an overload brings negativjty?


      • But does a life that is going well lead to concentration on what needs to be improved? It can go two ways from there – decadence or uplifting others. Looking at the current crisis of Economic Inequality, it seems the former currently tends to win out over the latter.


      • Humanity is learning. In many ways we have improved the lot of others immeasurably. Now we have further lessons to learn, and as we progress lessons get more demanding, not less.


    • Actually Bryan did an article on the happiest countries on earth recently.

      I’d be willing to be if you considered countries by levels of “religiosity” that some of the happiest would be the least religious


      • Yeah but is it really such a stretch to consider that the folk in Denmark or Norway might (overall) be happier than those in Sierra Leone or Afghanistan ?


      • Your examples are extremes. But yes my son lives in Norway and is happy. It seems that people in poor African nations that have many “religious” people are also happy. I don’t know if it’s an exact science – and I suspect it’s not.


      • Yep my articles are extreme, at one end are two nations that regularly rank as amongst the happiest on earth, that also rank as some of the least religious. Which is entirely consistent with my earlier speculation.

        Your article claims Africans as the most optimistic people – not the happiest.

        As to an exact science more to the point does it need to be ?


      • Happiness is subjective isn’t it? Some research found that a range of nations — including: Canada, the United States, Iceland, Ireland and Switzerland, display relatively high happiness levels and yet also have high suicide rates. Oslo and Stockholm are according to some surveys more prone to nihilism, alcoholism and suicide than many other cities.

        In contrast, poor people in isolated tribal groups may not have access to electricity or running water, but their stronger sense of community and culture often gives them a naturally more upbeat and cheerful outlook on the world, some might argue.
        A paradox eh?


      • Yeah happiness is subjective – so is voting intention and yet organisations like newspoll galaxy et all still get good results.

        Happiness also can correlate well to external conditions.

        “….relatively high happiness levels and yet also have high suicide rates….”

        And ?

        Poor isolate tribal groups might to a lot of things. Some might argue all kinds of stuff based on whatever personal biases they have. But feelings aren’t data.


  1. I was reading this question that Pope Francis apparently posed recently.

    Most people know and celebrate their birthdays but do they know the date of their baptism? He wants us to look it up and keep that day in remembrance for celebration as well.


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