I truly believe that our thoughts can control and determine our actions. That’s why I think it’s important to tell people that the world is probably better than you think. By acknowledging it, you will be slightly more positive than before and might see things from a different perspective, which can improve your life.

First, let’s understand your current knowledge about main topics which are often discussed in the world.

Please answer the questions below collected from the Gapminder Foundation and compare your results with the correct answers in the end.

1. In all low-income countries across the world today, how many girls finish primary school?

A. 20 percent
B. 40 percent
C. 60 percent

2. Where does the majority of the world population live?

A. Low-income countries
B. Middle- income countries
C. High-income countries

3. In the last 20 years, the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty has . . .

A. Almost doubled
B. Remained more or less the same
C. Almost halved

4. What is the life expectancy of the world today?

A. 50 years
B. 60 years
C. 70 years

5. There are 2 billion children in the world today, aged 0 to 15 years old. How many children will there be in the year 2100, according to the United Nations

A. 4 billion
B. 3 billion
C. 2 billion

6. The UN predicts that by 2100 the world population will have increased by another 4 billion people. What is the main reason?

A. There will be more children (age below 15)
B. There will be more adults (age 15 to 74)
C. There will be more very old people (age 75 and older)

7. How did the number of deaths per year from natural disasters change over the last hundred years?

A. More than doubled
B. Remained about the same
C. Decreased to less than half

8. There are roughly seven billion people in the world today. Which map shows best where they live? (Each figure represents 1 billion people.)

school of freedom world population

9. How many of the world’s 1-year-old children today have been vaccinated against some disease?

A. 20 percent
B. 50 percent
C. 80 percent

10. Worldwide, 30-year-old men have spent 10 years in school, on average. How many years have women of the same age spent in school?

A. 9 years
B. 6 years
C. 3 years

11. In 1996, tigers, giant pandas, and black rhinos were all listed as endangered. How many of these three species are more critically endangered today?

A. Two of them
B. One of them
C. None of them

12. How many people in the world have some access to electricity?

A. 20 percent
B. 50 percent
C. 80 percent

13. Global climate experts believe that, over the next 100 years, the average temperature will…

A. get warmer
B. remain the same
C. get colder

I can tell you that chimpanzees had an average of 33% correct answers. What if I tell you that most participants did way worse than that? That’s how the majority of the world population sees things right now.

Correct answers:

1: C, 2: B, 3: C, 4: C, 5: C, 6: B, 7: C, 8: A, 9: C, 10: A, 11: C, 12: C, 13: A

How many correct answers did you get?

Don’t worry if not many. Even the brightest scientists and people from very important world organizations did miserably in these questions. These questions are not about intelligence or something alike. The fundamental key point to retrieve from these questions is that people are not updated with the current world in which they live in.

Just because things might still be bad in some sections, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t recognize the improvements already made! We need to look at data with different eyes and compare the results of nowadays with the results from the past.

There is No “Us” and “Them”

The majority of people still look at the world as “us” (western countries) and them (poor countries).

school of freedom factfulness

Instead, the countries should be separated by levels, which represent the average income per person in dollars. Each peer in the picture above represents 1 billion people. As you can clearly see, most people are in level 2 and level 3. In these, things like a home, bicycle, motorbike, house, bed, warmed food, vaccines, medications, school, etc… (I could continue…) already exist.

All Countries Are Moving in The Same Direction

world health factfulness

The right direction in the image above represents the richness of each country; to the top how healthy a country is. In the opposite directions, we have poorness and sickness. The bubble’s size represents the size of the population.

As we see, there are still some countries with a high level or poorness, but the overall picture is showing a clear movement to the level 4 sector at the top right of the chart.

Conclusion

Next time you hear some bad news on the tv or on the internet. Ask yourself: “Wait, do they have any data that clearly shows the seriousness of the situation?”. Or if a friend keeps complaining that things are getting worse, tell them about the Factfulness book so they can understand how to read the world in a better way.

Books

If you liked this small article and would like to know more about books directed to a growth mindset, click here.


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