The other day, Success Warrior asked a pretty simple question with a wickedly complex answer. He wanted to know what good is, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since (not that I’ve never thought about this question before…), so I thought I’d try to answer it in today’s Ten Things Tuesday. Ready?
1. If we’re looking big-picture, conceptual stuff, I would say that “good” is something that benefits, gratifies, or enriches without doing any harm anywhere else.
2. That being said, something can be good for someone but not so good for someone else and still be good. Of course, that effect is maximized when the one for whom it’s not doing good isn’t doing good to begin with (I’m thinking here of hiding people from Nazis, of civil disobedience, and of the Libyan air strikes).
3. Sometimes, the good that gets done is unpleasant at first. I know for sure that most of my students don’t appreciate a lot of the things I make them do – and I KNOW my children don’t understand why I jump on them about some things – but eventually, they will (I hope). I’m willing to fight with them today so that their tomorrows are easier. Sometimes, the good is delayed.
4. Generosity is good. Be giving of your time, your energy, your wealth, your love.
5. Kindness is good, and it costs nothing. Be nice. Hold doors, say please and thank you, smile at strangers once in a while, yield.
6. Learning is good. Don’t always be content with “good enough.” Push yourself, see what you can do, want to know more.
7. Contentment is good. I know this is going to sound strange, given what I just said, but I know a lot of people who are never happy; they don’t have enough stuff, they aren’t thin enough, they aren’t rich/pretty/strong enough. Sometimes, “good enough” really IS. Once you figure out where you can be settled and where you can improve, you find your life really does rock.
8. Commitment is good. When more than one person is dedicated to a decent common goal, amazing things can happen; happy marriages, thriving businesses, vibrant communities, healthy environments.
9. Tolerance and acceptance are good… most of the time. I’m learning to moderate this quite a bit; I’ve taken a lot of hits for trying to tolerate the intolerable, and as a result, I’m learning that boundaries and a good, firm “no” are also good.
10. Diversity is good. Try new things, cultivate friendships with lots of different people (open a blog; honestly, that’s been the single biggest boost to the diversity of my personal community), travel. The more things you have in your proverbial arsenal, the better you can experience the world. The better you experience the world, the more good you can do in it.