Friday, February 27, 2009

The Good News and Viral Optimism

by Pam Ripling

Doom and gloom. It’s everywhere. I can see the physical manifestations in the faces of the people I meet, hear it in the voices of friends over the phone. Negativity is one of those infectious diseases for which there is no antibiotic. It’s self-perpetuating, and in humans it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think things are bad, they will be bad. And with the collective population sighing and moaning over the economy, their lost jobs, their perceived waning benefits, it’s no wonder this black cloud has grown to epic proportions.

Enter the Good News. I’ve always been one who instinctively seeks the bright side of any given situation. So it didn’t surprise me that I stumbled across a website called the Good News Network. This site is loaded with—guess what—good news! Things you never hear in the regular news, but should. I’m convinced that if more people knew about all the really GOOD things going on in the world, there would be less depression, less contagion and probably less suicides!

The GNN’s home page is rich with uplifting items, some amusing and others serious. There are stories here that make you wonder why you haven’t heard about these things elsewhere. For example, we know that all the automobile makers are doing poorly, the biggest are on the brink of disaster. Ever heard of Hyundai? Big company, right? How about a 14% sales jump in January? Or did you know that researchers at Penn State University have developed a way to convert CO2 into fuel by using the power of the sun? And if this next one isn’t good news, I don’t know what is. UCLA has just released the largest clinical study ever involving the administration of genetically altered cells into humans in the fight against HIV. The study revealed that the stem-cell based therapy was safe and effective and may lead to a cure.

The bad news about the Good News is, it isn’t free. The website does ask for a subscription fee, starting at $2.00 per month. Of course, you can get all the free bad news you want almost anywhere. That, and $5.00 will get you a cup of coffee from Starbuck’s and an ulcer.

Reading the Good News Network isn’t enough to turn the world around. The real remedy is all about turning around your own attitude. Here is a group of people who make it their business to seek out stories of hope and prosperity, and spread that positive karma around. We can each be good news networks on our own by sharing what we know to be uplifting, optimistic ideas, by finding the good in the day and running with it.

No, one person’s attempt at constructive cheer won’t fix the stock market overnight, or get jobs for your husband, daughter or neighbor. It won’t stop stores from closing, or drop the price of gasoline. But I believe in the power of positive thinking, and in the collective power of viral optimism. The next time you encounter someone ranting about our new administration, what’s wrong with the economy or the price of bread, ask yourself if absorbing all that negativity is going to help anything. Then think about what you can do to find and share some good news. It could just catch on.

Pam Ripling is the author of middle-grade mystery, LOCKER SHOCK! Buy it at Quake, Fictionwise or Amazon today! E-book version now available for your Kindle! Visit Pam at

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