Was Chicken Little an Optimist?

Rod Pickett
2 min readSep 26, 2022

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed days, the dark sacred nights
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow
So pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces
Of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, saying, “How do you do?”
They’re really saying, “I love you”

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more
Than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world

“What a Wonderful World,” Written by Bob Thiele and George Weiss

It’s a wonder we aren’t all suffering from depression.

We are bombarded with negative news stories and dire predictions about the future.

Fear is a powerful motivator, and many are trying to manipulate us by scaring us.

The cable news channels drive viewership with gloomy accounts from all over the world.

Politicians generate contributions by convincing the voters that their opponents are bad people.

Twitter users manufacture engagement by demonizing those who disagree with them.

The result is that a mere 6% of Americans believe the world is getting better. (All specific numerical data is from https://ourworldindata.org/.)

Here are the facts.

Child mortality is at an all-time low worldwide.

Deaths of children 5 and younger have dropped from 12.5 million in 1990 to 5.2 million in 2019.

Youth mortality has declined.

Mortality for those under 15 years of age in 1990 was 10.7% and dropped to 4.3% in 2020.

Life expectancy has increased at all ages.

Poverty is decreasing.

The percentage of people worldwide living in extreme poverty has dropped from 42% in 1998 to less than 10% in 2015.

Since 1990, an average of 130,000 people per day climb out of extreme poverty.

The figures are similar for other degrees of poverty.

Fewer are dying of natural disasters.

Decade averages of those perishing in natural disasters (including climate events) have dramatically and consistently fallen since 1900.

Deaths from air pollution have decreased from 156 per 100K in 1990 to 86 per 100K in 2019.

The literacy rate has increased rapidly since 1900, from about 10% to around 90% today.

Technology has been advancing at a staggering pace.

Medicine is also making significant advances.

Yes, we still have many challenges ahead of us, but the sky is not falling.

History shows that, when technology creates a problem, another technology produces a solution to that problem (and creates a new problem).

We have to address the problems in our world, but panic is not helpful.

The future is bright.

The babies being born today will learn much more than we will ever know.

Yes, what a wonderful world.

— Rod Pickett

Now available at Amazon: The Courageous Heart: Wisdom for Difficult Times in paperback and eBook.



Rod Pickett

Rod Pickett is a writer, pastor, teacher, photographer, real estate broker, personal trainer, consultant, trained hypnotist, woodworker and life-long learner.