“There’s a dark and a troubled side of life;” begins the iconic country gospel song, and “Tho’ we meet with the darkness and strife,” it continues, “The sunny side we also may view.”
The chorus, written in 1899 by Ada Blenkhorn, was made into a country music anthem by the Carter Family in 1928: “Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life.”
A great American tune, but apparently people the world over believe and practice its formula.
Every year for the past 15 years, the Gallup Organization has questioned people in more than 100 countries about their emotions and experiences. As you might expect, 2020 was a terrible year. Half of the people Gallup spoke with said they’d made less money than in 2019 and almost one-third said they’d lost their job as a result of the pandemic.
No wonder Gallup found record-setting levels of worry and sadness, anger, and, five percentage points higher than ever before, stress.
But Gallup registers positive feelings as well, and with a couple of exceptions, the people of the world told Gallup, they’d experienced as many good things in 2020 as they had the year before, the year before the pandemic.
The most widely-shared positive experience among the people of the world: feeling respected. 86 percent of those polled said they’d been given respect the previous day.
Feeling respected … that may be “the sunny side of life”.
Jon Clifton is Global Managing Partner at Gallup. His mission is to help 7 billion citizens be heard on their most pressing work and life issues through the Gallup World Poll, a 100-year initiative spanning over 150 countries.
Clifton is a nonresident senior fellow at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion. He serves on the boards of directors for Gallup and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, and he previously served on the boards for three nonprofits and a startup — Meridian International Center, StreetWise Partners, Chess Challenge in DC and Findyr.
Because of his expertise, Clifton has been interviewed on BBC News, C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” and Al-Jazeera, and he has testified in front of the U.S. Congress on the state of American small business and entrepreneurship. He is a frequent contributor on Gallup.com and has written for The Hill, The Diplomatic Courier and The Global Action Report.