I started my new job this week, and things are definitely shaping up to be a whole new change of pace!  I am still title-less, but the month of July is going to be filled with training, curriculum development, out of office visits and tonnes of learning.  (AND VOTING. PLEASE. DID YOU DO IT YET? :)) It’s massively different than what I’m used to, and I must admit first day I was so overwhelmed and anxious about all the new responsibility I made myself physically sick and subsequently missed the next two days (I’m a winner, I know), but the nerves I think are finally subsiding a little.  I’m thrilled to be part of a brand new project which is going to put me in a position that will not only push my boundaries (I’m going to be facilitating about 6 different modules – huge for the whole public speaking thing) but also put me in a position where I can really help people. One of the first things we were told was that the focus of this project was going to be not only helping the community, but empowering people – giving them tools and opportunities that will help them change their lives for the better. And that make me really proud. Along with teaching, I’m going to be doing some admin, some promotion and marketing, and toward the botttom end of the list – health and safety. Now, I may be a strange candidate for holding any portion of responsibility regarding other people’s safety or health (I think I made my stance on the government’s encouragement of mass vaccination quite clear during the H1N1 outbreak) – but thinking back to that got me thinking about the idea of what constitutes the idea of a pandemic – something which, when it comes down to it, causes widespread action in regards to something contagious.

When you hear the word, you automatically think of outbreaks of scary things like SARS, H1N1, Bird Flu… even the Bubonic Plague, and the masses subsequently running on something not too far from hysteria, having bought into the combination of newsreaders telling scary stories, but more accurately, fear. Fear is as contagious, if not more so, than whatever outbreak happens to be circling the newspapers.  Did I know anyone in my city affected by any of these so-called pandemics? No, I knew a bunch of people who, upon the encouragement of lunchroom gossip and television sets, rushed to the nearest doctor’s office to have something injected into their bloodstream, or started wearing surgical face masks in the street. The fear of contamination was more contagious than the sickness itself.  The word “pandemic” is defined as prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world; widespread over a large area; general; universal. So why are we conditioned to evoke a negative connotation in response to hearing it? If something like fear can become pandemic – why can’t something more positive take over the masses?

In short, it can. Think about fashion trends – throughout the ages people have seen someone famous do something different, and rushed out in efforts to imitate their style or attitude. This may not always be for the best (Crocs anyone?), but it’s a mass movement to copy something based on personal admiration.  Health movements have also swept nations (just look at Atkins and Green Monsters), and people across the globe have dropped their current habits and adopted new ones in the hope of bettering themselves.  Spiritual teachings on how to become a better person have been written in books and shot to the top of the national bestseller list, sparking a movement of positivity across book clubs, across friendships, and across the globe. An idea to make the world a better place can pop up in a single man’s head, and before you know it, it’s become an international project with people across the globe hopping on board, all hit by the contagiousness of spreading joy onto the lives of others. Movies like Julie and Julia can inspire nations to learn how to cook; shows like Glee can inspire thousands to sing.

And then there’s blogging. Since I started blogging properly, not even a year ago, I’ve been inspired by people around the world who’ve set goals for themselves, pushed their boundaries, and written about their endeavours to become stronger, healthier, better people. I’ve lost count of how many 101 in 1001s I’ve seen around the blogosphere and have been inspired by other people’s 30s before 30 to create my own list of goals, which inspires me to grow every single day. You could say it’s contagious – hundreds of people reading hundreds of posts about growth and empowerment causing a “pandemic” of positivity. I love it. How great would it be if next time we witnessed something bad spreading – fear, gossip, rumours or hatred – we chose to instead spread something else? Combat the contagiousness of negativity and be the turning point to instead disperse something better. No dictionary tells us pandemics need to be bad. It’s often easier to go along with the masses.  The phenomenon of mass hysteria proves that the strength found in numbers can allow people to do things that would be considered insane if they did them solitarily. But we’re all capable of rising above what’s popular. We just have to practice prioritising, and thinking for ourselves.


  1. great thought em, you’re right pandemic does make you think of something bad and i love how you are always striving to find the good in things. i’ll keep this in mind!

  2. Great post and very thought provoking. My sentiments are the same on the *pandemic crisis* and you articulated it very well. 😉

    Now I’m off to vote! Thanks for the reminder, girl.

  3. I tend to step away from anything viral (reality tv, I want to love but just can’t!) but it’s always good to know yourself and choose to respond in a way that’s true to that.

  4. Wise words Emily, mass hysteria is very much like popular “pandemics” – people are quick to jump on the bandwagon without thinking for themselves. I like how you showed there was no real definition of “pandemic” that included anything negative – very thought provokng in that it shows how quick people are to respond negatively just bcause the rest of the masses are doing that too. Way to keep making a positive difference.

    1. Thanks Michelle. I just found it strange that the definition didn’t really have anything to do with negativity yet that’s how people generally respond. Always good to remind ourselves that we have a brain and can think for ourselves!

  5. Love the sentiment in this…spreading positivity instead of negativity eh? Sounds good to me! 🙂 And I am so crossing my fingers for you to win! Just placed 3 more votes today. 😉

  6. Voted for you again today; looks like you are in the lead 🙂 I’ll be on the road the next few days so I won’t have normal computer access but I’ll try to make up for it next week!

    Good luck spreading positivity! I think it’s something we could all use more of 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Nora! I’m scared – I’m away this weekend too with D and his family – and I don’t think there’s internet access in the middle of nowhere 😦 Fingers crossed the Internet continues to be awesome 🙂

  7. I like your attitude… why does a pandemic have to be something bad? It doesn’t. Exactly. Spreading some positivity would definitely be a good thing… we could all use some of that.

  8. I think I adore this most out of all of them! How great is this concept. I hold tight to the fact that one day I am hopefully going to be able to spread positivity all over this world, in a fashion like Nate’s. its so very true, and too often we are afraid of our own capabilities that we decide to not even try.. And that is no way to live.

    And what I love about the blogosphere is that it is filled with so much positivity. We are one heck of a motivated group.


    Hannah Katy

  9. I don’t think popularity has to be negative but I agree that it isn’t necessarily a positive thing. Following trends blindly allows people to be lazy and not think for themselves.

  10. Thanks for the shout out re: my 30 before 30 list. I am almost at the half way point. YIKES! The year is going to fly by.

    You are right, though, positivity can spread pandemically. It is great to have things like blogs to spread it, too!

    And PS – I just voted and you have 41% of the votes, lady! 🙂

  11. I super agree. On everything!!! You know what, your posts make me think. I hate you. No I love you!! Haha.

    You’re in the lead!!! You’re totally gonna win this!!! Do you know whose name I chose to use for my groom? Drew Fuller!!! Just saying. 😉

    Please make a grab button for this. My brain is paralyzed right now. Haha.

  12. I hope you win!!!! 🙂

    This is why I love the blogging world… it’s sad to see some people who are still into drama and spread negativity rather than making it a positive or just keep their mouths shut. It’d be awesome to meet you & other bloggers some day!

  13. I like to think I’m a pretty positive person & I don’t let negative situations affect me too much. And when negativity does see fit to come into my life, I try to combate it with positivity but sometimes it’s really, really hard. I love this message, though, and think it’s one that needs to be told over & over again! 🙂 (Now I’m off to vote for you again!)

    1. I think it is hard sometimes – but so often the harder thing is the more meaningful thing in the end 🙂

      Thanks for keeping up with the voting!! You’ve been amazing so far 🙂

  14. You make so many great points, Em. It’s scary what can happen when the masses turn to hysteria, but you’re so right — pandemic does not have to be a bad word.

    I love your idea of a positivity pandemic. This whole community here is filled with so much positivity, inspiration, and encouragement — it IS contagious! Thanks for the reminder that we can CHOOSE what we want to proliferate in the world, that positivity and negativity are conscious choices we can make.

    On a related note, I’m not sure how it is where you live, but I imagine it’s FAR different than here. People in South Florida can be so freaking rude, inconsiderate, and just plain dumb and oblivious. Some days it’s hard not to let the constant bombardment of rudeness get to you, and I’m happy to be nice to people because they usually respond so well–and are NOT used to it, and I hope they’ll pass it on a little. 🙂 So I try to be kind, be positive, and smile at people. It helps to fight off the negativity, too, I think. And the community in this little corner of the internets also helps me to keep my chin up, and gives me a daily reminder there are really GOOD people out there. 🙂

    1. Definitely – there are lots of good people out there it just seems like they are too far AWAY 🙂 I think there are rude and oblivious people everywhere – the best we can do is face the world with a smile instead of contributing to the “negative pandemic” 🙂

  15. I think its epidemic? I think pandemic includes fear? And I am totally with you on your November 2009 post LOL. I don’t trust the government and much prefer to not be their guinea pig!

    Side note, did you SEE your recently rankings for WeddingBells woman!?! That bajillion dollar dress is as good as yours if it stays how it is, you have 46% of the votes! =DDDDD

  16. Pandemic and epidemic I think mean the same thing. I did look up pandemic just to see if it included fear and it definitely doesn’t!! But YAY for not wanting to be a guinea pig 🙂

    YAY 46%!! Thanks so much for keeping up with voting!! Only 2 more weeks 🙂

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