Happy New Year | Bruce Turkel

Depending on when you read this post, it’s either New Year’s Day, about to be New Year’s Day, or a day or two past New Year’s Day. That simply depends on when Amazon Web Services’ algorithm chose to send you this email and when you chose to open it and read it.

Regardless of when you encounter these words, I hope you’re reading them with a heart full of gratitude for the healthy and prosperous year that just passed and a mind full of hopes and dreams for the even better 2020 on the horizon.

But if, like so many of my friends, you find yourself dragged down by national and world events you find undecipherable and sad, let me quote from some very smart thinkers who may change your mind just a bit.

From Nicolas Kristof’s NYT op-ed, This Has Been The Best Year Ever:

“In the long arc of human history, 2019 has been the best year ever.

The bad things that you fret about are true. But it’s also true that since modern humans emerged about 200,000 years ago, 2019 was probably the year in which children were least likely to die, adults were least likely to be illiterate and people were least likely to suffer excruciating and disfiguring diseases.”

Or, as Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari pointed out in Sapiens, and Homo Deus, for the first time in human history, more people died throughout the world from their indulgent diets than from the violence of war and crime combined. In other words, sugar is now more dangerous than gunpowder. 

Max Roser, an Oxford University economist puts it this way: “If you were given the opportunity to choose the time you were born in, it’d be pretty risky to choose a time in any of the thousands of generations in the past. Almost everyone lived in poverty, hunger was widespread and famines common.”

Back to Kristof: “As recently as 1981, 42 percent of the planet’s population endured ‘extreme poverty,’ defined by the United Nations as living on less than about $2 a day. That portion has plunged to less than 10 percent of the world’s population now.”

“Diseases like polio, leprosy, river blindness and elephantiasis are on the decline, and global efforts have turned the tide on AIDS. A half century ago, a majority of the world’s people had always been illiterate; now we are approaching 90 percent adult literacy. There have been particularly large gains in girls’ education — and few forces change the world so much as education and the empowerment of women.”

“We are some of the first people in history who have found ways to make progress against these problems,” says Roser, the economist. “We have changed the world. How awesome is it to be alive at a time like this?” 

“Three things are true at the same time: the world is much better, the world is awful, the world can be much better.”

To tie it all together, some hopeful optimism from my friend and client Carlos Oramas’ holiday letter: “It is said that the happiest people in the world have one thing in common.  They are grateful.  That’s a goal worth aspiring to, and a virtue I wish to emulate. 

2020… just saying it, inspires possibility.  A new vision, a new lens, a fresh perspective. I believe that’s what awaits our arrival.”

Happy New Year. I look forward to sharing these thoughts with you in the new year.



  1. January 6, 2020

    I am grateful that I had the opportunity to hear you in person and that you brighten my inbox! My wish is that you continue to share your thoughts and wisdom throughout 2020.

  2. January 6, 2020

    Thank you for this perspective. It is too easy to be consumed with the negative rather than the good things that we have been blessed with. All the best for you and your family in the New Year.

  3. Dick Turlel
    January 4, 2020

    Appreciate your e-mails- it is always great to hear from another Turkel

  4. January 3, 2020

    Incredible post! We are way too motivated from fear instead of love, joy and gratitude. Thanks for helping change the brain in 2020!!! Happy New Year!

  5. Alan Srebnick
    January 3, 2020

    I try to live my life with a “ Glass Half Full” ( or greater) attitude. Your 2020 New Year’s wish and message is right on target. We all should look at what is in front of us and give thanks for how fortunate we are. Despite the trials and tribulations of many, “Life is Beautiful”. Living one’s life with thankfulness in our minds and hearts is a treasure we all possess. That golden ring is right in front of us. All we need to do is reach out…. sometimes extending our reach and grab it . I look forward to 2020 with the idea that each and every day is as special as I want to make it. If I wake up each morning with passion in my mind and body, I will make it a great day.
    Wishing all at The Arsht Center for the Performing Arts a healthy and prosperous 2020. Thank you for all that you do to add incredible experiences for me each and every time I visit The Arsht.

  6. January 3, 2020

    Bruce- Hooray for providing appropriate perspective for your readers. We, indeed, just lived through the best year ever!
    Happy New Year 2020 to you & Gloria. Steve Smith

    P.S. AWS decided to send your missive to me at 1142PM Jan 2, 2020

  7. Stanley Rigaud
    January 3, 2020

    Happy New Year!!
    You’re one of few people I follow that I can be sure will leave his audience with an inspiring message . No less, of course, is this true in your “Happy New Year” commentary than in all the ones you wrote this year.

    As years, decades, and centuries pass us, indeed, there’s so much to be thankful for, and yet so much work to be done. Luckily, putting things in perspective in Bruce’s world is always looking at the glass half full. It’s a simple thing, but for that, I’m truly thankful.

  8. Marci Yunes
    January 2, 2020

    One of your best posts ever. We are so fortunate in so many ways. Happy New Decade!

  9. Thomas E. Byrne
    January 2, 2020

    Thanks Bruce. My adult children need to hear these words. They are bombarded with negative news.
    I hope you are feeling better.

  10. Mario
    January 2, 2020

    Great messages and so true Bruce!

  11. January 1, 2020

    Gratitude says it all. One more thing I’ve learned is forgiveness!

  12. December 31, 2019


    Thanks for being one of my regular mindset watering holes.

    Your mindful and inspiring posts are always a pleasure to read – please keep em coming!

    Happy New Years to you and yours,



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