Some say that we are living in the worst time in the history of humankind. The number of lives lost to violence and wars, coupled with growing civil unrest throughout our country and world are staggering. Combine this with rises in cancer and other diseases, along with deep global challenges of human rights, income inequality and climate crisis, it is no wonder that view exists.
But rather than despair, there is a tremendous opportunity to see another narrative and be a part of a solution of hope and light. Humanity is made of individual stories, and each of us has the ability to be part of the collective story that will help change the narrative of discord. In our world of content overload, everyone has the ability to be a media company. We can choose to tell and share stories of light across an integrated and global platform.
According to Science Daily a new MRI research study from the University of Pennsylvania revealed that people are interested in reading and sharing content that connects to their own experiences, their sense of who they are and who they want to be. When stories go viral through Facebook messages, tweets and emails, they can have real impact on society. The human brain is wired to find meaning, and it will actively seek out meaning whether we are conscious of that fact or not. Stories can help us find that meaning and see the generosity of others. Stories help us feel emotionally invested and connected.
The Giving USA 2017 Annual Report on Philanthropy shows that as a society we've never been more giving and generous. American individuals, estates, foundations, and corporations contributed an estimated $390.05 billion to U.S. charities in 2016. There is a large and growing trend toward generous and conscious capitalism, fair and just capitalism, and simply giving back. Smart business leaders understand that having a social mission aligned with a business mission is critical to an overall strategy, and the collective power of capitalism that does good should be acknowledged, celebrated and shared.
There is also a rise in generations that are very conscious of doing good. More than eighty million Millennials (age 18-33) are coming of age, and they bring with them more than $200 billion in spending power. This generation seeks meaning in their lives and a desire to impact the greater world. They are made up of savvy consumers who make purchase decisions with organizations that sell more than a product or service. They like to do business with organizations that have authentic and transparent social missions to do much larger good in the world.
For more than two decades I've been a storyteller, and I've had the privilege to witness and experience how a simple story can bring governments, communities, non-profits, and individuals together. By isolating a story of light we can rally around a cause, initiative or support of an individual.
Stories of light help us celebrate the triumph of the human spirit and the intersection of corporate social responsibility, faith-based and cause related initiatives that make the world a better place. The stories of light are all around us. Together we can rise through the clutter and noise, and cast out a bold message that there is unshakable beauty and light in the world.