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Be the Good

Goodness surrounds us, though hard to see at times and easy to take for granted. The first step? Intentionally zooming out to see it.



Every single day, we are surrounded by good in the world. Hard to see at times and easy to take for granted. Especially when the everyday goings-on has us distracted, going nonstop, or laser-focused on the here and now. And yet, there it is.


But first things first, what does it even mean that there is good in the world? Does there have to be people coming together as one to sing in harmony? Well, if we waited for that to happen I doubt we would ever see good in the entirety of the human experience.


See the good


Little things beget big things, and it is never more true than when subtle, small acts give rise to larger, more substantial goodness. I tried a little experiment a couple weekends ago. I intentionally became more aware of the actions going on around me, the small acts of goodness, the ones I was not party to but could certainly witness.


I essentially zoomed out and here is a sample of what I found.


An older gentleman coaxing and calming an elderly parent in the midst of a massive crowd, saying “Hold my hand. Don’t worry, just hold onto me or my coat. I got you.” All the while staying close by and within arm’s length. Never once getting short or in a huff.


A grandmother herding her two grandchildren through a long line at the ladies room, keeping them together, answering questions, and acknowledging their comments with respect and interest.


A child in a wheelchair being pushed by another child on the sidewalk outside of a neighborhood. Smiles and conversation occurring in equal denomination.


None of these things would typically even register as any of us go about our day. And yet, no matter our location or time zone, good surrounds us.


Believe there is good


Once you see the good, you believe it. No other way exists to spin such acts. Even when our world may be spinning wildly, the good does not disappear. Can we still have crappy, ‘I wish this day never started’ kind of periods? Absolutely—after all, we do live in the real world.


Being a believer means that while the good in one’s own life may be temporarily elusive, it will return. It may not run on our time schedule (tsk, tsk), but like a boomerang it will make the rounds before circling back.


You see the difference any single person can make. How very little it takes to make a measurable difference in those around us, whether we know them well or only in passing. And now you are drawn into the web of goodness.


Be the good


At this point, you’ve seen the good and you’re a believer. The next natural step is to be the good. Take yourself back to when you were a child and another playmate had the latest toy or gadget. You saw them with this amazing piece of ingenuity (even if it was a Pet Rock, Cabbage Patch Kid, or Tamagotchi), you believed it was the greatest thing to exist since Saturday morning cartoons, and so then what? You played with it together. You became an active participant.


Be another reason there is good in the world. None of the acts of goodness I related above incurred significant costs. Or in business terms, little investment with a high rate of return. Why would you not want to be involved?


Being the good may not always be top of mind.


We may not see the person behind the counter who just needs a real smile with eye contact. But top that off with a compliment or a comment to trigger a grin and their day is a bit brighter.


We may not recognize the hills and valleys children experience and how much they just need to be heard and acknowledged. But combine some quality conversation with some snacks and encouragement, and you have lightened their load while modeling positive behavior.


We may not notice when someone withdraws or is going through an otherwise tough time, or any number of other situations. But what we can do is pay attention and zoom out. Take ourselves out of our own orbit and be the good.


We are not surrounded by sunshine and rainbows for all the days of our lives. But if we can be a ray of goodness in an otherwise monotone day, why would we choose otherwise?



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