If you only make time for reading one thing today, it should be this. It’s so easy to become jaded and believe that things are getting worse rather than better, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
By almost any measure, the world is better than it has ever been. People are living longer, healthier lives. Many nations that were aid recipients are now self-sufficient. You might think that such striking progress would be widely celebrated, but in fact, Melinda and I are struck by how many people think the world is getting worse. The belief that the world can’t solve extreme poverty and disease isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful. That’s why in this year’s letter we take apart some of the myths that slow down the work. The next time you hear these myths, we hope you will do the same.
One of the most important takeaways from this for me was a reminder that nothing changes overnight. Not personal health or well-being. Not personal success or failure. And certainly not the entire population of the planet.
With analytics everywhere, it’s so tempting to do one little thing, measure, and then be disappointed because it did’t change the world. Measuring is important, but it’s much more useful on a long-term scale. Chances are that if you feel like you’re working on the right things to make some sort of a difference, you’re on the right track.