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The World is in Big Trouble. Or is it?

The world is in big trouble, but you already know this.

You can look around and see it, right? It’s not just the brutal wars in other parts of the world, but the division all around us. People just don’t like each other. No one gets along or trusts anyone. Everyone is ready to argue. Everyone is taking sides. No one is willing to compromise.

Yep, the world is in big trouble.

Or is it?

It depends on how you look at it.

Doug McMillon was on a podcast not long ago and he offered a refreshing perspective on this idea that the world is in big trouble.

Doug is the CEO of Walmart, the mega-retailer with 2.1 million employees in 19 countries around the world, not to mention business interests with suppliers in many other countries. He gets around because that’s part of his job. He has plenty of opportunity to see firsthand just how much trouble the world is in, and he isn’t one to deny the realities that he sees.

During a discussion with Simon Sinek, however, McMillon said two things that reminded me of the importance of perspective.

One, he repeated something he’s said many times before, and that’s that, “Almost anything you want to say about Walmart is true somewhere.”

With any company, but particularly one as large as Walmart, there’s plenty of good, bad, and ugly. When people complain or criticize, odds are they have a legitimate point. Somewhere in the company that complaint or criticism is valid. Take it seriously but take it for what it really is.

If an associate in a store in Iowa is rude to a shopper, that means one store associate was rude to a shopper. It doesn’t mean that one particular associate is always rude or that all associates in that store, in Iowa, or at all Walmart locations are rude.

Good leaders don’t deny problems within their organizations. Instead, they dig for information and perspective so they can accurately and appropriately address their problems. Likewise, parts of the world are certainly in big trouble, and we need to do what we can to fix those problems.

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A few minutes later, McMillon made a “by the way” comment that added another important point about perspective.

“I am much more optimistic about the world when I think locally,” he said. “I travel all the time, and I go to stores and communities where diverse people like each other and they’re working together well. There’s love and warmth. And then I read the news, nationally and globally, and it just sounds like everything is broken.”

Everything isn’t broken.

The world has big troubles, and plenty of them. And we can be consumed by them if we invest too much of our attention on the sources that continually beat the drums of doom and disaster.

The solution? Focus on your local community. Think about your interactions with people, and most likely you’ll think about people who laugh with each other, who work hard, who believe in doing the right thing, and who care for one another.

The world is in big trouble. But as McMillon said, communities can be part of the solution. Do what you can to make yours better, and the world won’t seem quite as bad.

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