It is really easy to get down about the state of the world. Some days it feels like articles about Nazis and nuclear war make up 99 percent of my news alerts.
However, no matter what your newsfeed says, you can still find reasons for hope. There is plenty of evidence that the world isn't as bad as we think, and that there is more to life than politics and the endless screaming matches we see in the media.
Personally, I find some of my inspiration in OPO Startups, the incubator my wife manages. I've been a member of this incubator for two years, and I've seen a lot of inspiring entrepreneurs--enough to make me believe that our best days aren't behind us, and the future isn't humanity enslaved by robots while we live beneath a mushroom cloud.
Three of the inspiring entrepreneurs I've met are Jonas Buxton, River Collins, and Paul Schuler. Normally Inc. articles praising entrepreneurs stick to the big names: Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, Mark Zuckerberg--people you've heard of, in other words. In fact, I'm pretty sure if I titled this article "The 3 Things Jonas Buxton Does Every Morning" or "River Collins Shares the Secret to His Success," no one would read it.
But it isn't the Mark Zuckerbergs or the Elon Musks we should look to for hope in an uncertain future. As accomplished as Elon Musk is, he is just one person. Instead, we should look to the thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs like Jonas and River. In the time that I've known them, they attempted to start one business that manufactured electronically enabled mirrors. When that didn't work, they pivoted to another concept, and their team received a grant from MIT to help fund research and test the viability of their new product.
The two have also raised money to build and launch their own weather balloon 100,000 feet into the air to capture next week's eclipse with GoPro cameras. You can watch their test launches here and here.
Normally these articles about entrepreneurs include a takeaway, something you can learn: what books Elon Musk reads, or what Mark Cuban has to say about pitching your startup.
What can you learn from Jonas, Paul, and River?
Nothing that will make you a billionaire, yet.
But you can learn some other things.
You could learn that the stereotype of the lazy, entitled young person is itself the product of lazy thinking.
(When I was Jonas's and River's age, I wasn't building weather balloons. I was stealing wine coolers from the grocery store by putting them in the sides of cowboy boots. When my dad was Jonas's and River's age, he was "asked" by a judge, not so kindly, to leave the state of Utah. Point being, generational superiority is a myth perpetuated by people who should know better.)
You could learn that the incubators and co-working spaces popping up everywhere contain a lot of the solutions and inspiration we mistakenly look to politicians for.
You could learn that there are reasons to feel hopeful about where the world is headed--no matter what your news alerts say.