What is the biggest problem in the world today? There seems to be no shortage of options. Is it the wars being battled throughout the Middle East, the fighting throughout Africa? Countries arming themselves with nuclear weapons? Is the biggest problem not on an international level but domestic? Is it the flawed education system, unemployment, the economy? Is it discrimination and racism? Is it religion, politics, the media? Is it marriage, gay marriage, homophobia, Islamophobia? Is it disease and illness, crime and violence, taxes and death? Is it TV, social media, new technology? What about on the human level; is the biggest problem poverty, depression, anxiety, mental illness?

The world sits evenly poised like never before. Politically, environmentally and socially we are in the midst of potentially the biggest crisis in over 50 years. Whilst politically and environmentally there is call for concern, and rightfully so, the far bigger issue is the emergence of  the “modern great depression.” Never have we seen such devastating statistics about our health and well-being. So what is the biggest issue facing us and what can we do about it?

If you had asked G.K. Chesterton you would have got an interesting, and provocative, response. A newspaper once sent out an inquiry to famous authors asking the question, “What’s wrong with the world today?” Mr Chesterton didn't choose the lengthy essay -style response, instead he gave us this incredible insight.

Dear Sir,

I am.

Yours, G.K. Chesterton.

In a world where we are happy to march for change and sign petition after petition, what are we really doing to make this world a better place?

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe gives us food for thought with this brilliant insight,

I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humour, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.

Matthieu Ricard, the man scientists say is the happiest man alive, says

Nothing is right outside because nothing is right inside.

We can look outside and attempt to find our happiness and our ‘everything’ in external things but what do we really find? When we have the courage to take the time to forge a deeper connection with ourselves it becomes the catalyst for changing everything on the outside too. It allows us to become less dependent on those things outside of us, the political landscape and media to name a few, and become the creator of our own health, happiness, purpose and attitude.

How can we expect things be right on the outside when nothing is right on the inside? How can we expect to find what we're looking for when we don't even know what it is? Maybe our health and happiness starts with introspection, with going back inside. It starts with taking care of you, getting things right inside first and foremost. When you take the time to do this, clarity emerges that dulls your desires for seeking happiness in external things, in external outcomes and successes, in material things and in superficial things.  

All places on earth are more or less the same. It is our state of mind that ultimately determines things. Our attitude is what is most important – more important than where we happen to be.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

What is the biggest problem in the world today?

I am. You are. It all starts, and ends, with me and you. It's our attitude that is most important.

Change our thoughts and change our lives.

BY EVAN SUTTER. Evan is the founder of The Happiness Compass, an author, speaker, activist and environmentalist. Evan will be speaking at Happiness and It's Causes, the world's largest conference on happiness and well-being in June in Sydney, Australia.