The beltway is an interesting place to work and to live. We are entrenched in this political arena, which ultimately shapes how we view the current state of our country.

Those who are especially tuned in to the political atmosphere feel as if the country is either utterly doomed or on the cusp of previously unattained greatness.

The reality is things are not as bad as media outlets and influencers would lead us to believe. Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, studied and authored a book demonstrating how the news can actually alter the brain. He wrote that,

“News is about things that happen, not about things that don’t happen. If you base your beliefs about the state of the world on what you read in the news, your beliefs will be incorrect. You never see a reporter standing on the streets of Angola, Sri Lanka, or Vietnam saying ‘I’m here reporting that a war has not broken out today.’ It’s only by looking at data on the world as a whole that you get an accurate picture of the trends.”

On the other hand, things are not as good as some political leaders or the White House twitter feed may suggest.

Today, millions of Americans got up and went to work in an effort to provide for their families. For many, their thoughts were consumed by their own personal struggles and challenges. Life, for most of Americans, has not changed all that much since the election.

For those of us who work here in D.C., I think it is important to remain focused and determined. There is still work that not only should be done, but needs to be done. For those who feel as if the country is falling apart, quitting is not the answer. Finding a way to work with those who may have opposing beliefs is a good starting point. Those that believe the current administration will solve all our nation’s problems are also mistaken. Helping to identify solutions and implementing these strategies are required of all successful administrations.

I want all of us here who work on the beltway to remember that the current state of our country falls somewhere in between the doomsday perspective and the “all is well” attitude. We must all continue to strive to work with one another in order to create a more prosperous nation.