Doing Good

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Being a do-gooder does not mean you have to be some lame watered down version of yourself. It doesn’t mean you can’t have an edge or act boldly. And it doesn’t mean you have to do all the same conventional good things as everyone else.

People who want to donate to charity can do that. People who want to volunteer for causes or join groups can do that, too. And there’s nothing wrong with any of these things.

People who do these things are awesome. And the world can always use more people doing them. But there’s also nothing wrong with finding your own unique ways to make a positive difference. Making someone’s day better for having been a part of it, that’s what matters.

Making someone laugh or smile. Giving someone a funny story to tell. Providing encouragement when it’s needed. Appreciation. Gratitude. Friendship. And providing not just a voice to those who need it, but a listening ear as well. These things matter. And are as equally needed in the world.

Being a do-gooder is about having a positive impact on the world around you and making people feel good.

It doesn’t matter how you decide to do it, just do it.

And when you make a positive difference, you won’t just see it, you’ll feel it, too. Because one of the fastest ways to feel good about yourself is to be genuinely good for someone else.

And there’s nothing lame or uncool about that.

So do your good in your own way. You never know when whatever good you offer in whatever way you offer it, is exactly what someone needed.

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Doing Good

Someone should do something

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If you’ve ever thought:

“Someone should do something!”

Remember: You’re someone.

You may not be able to do everything, but you can always do something.

Don’t let what you can’t do stand in the way of what you can do.

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Someone should do something

How big is your box?

I’ve said this before, but we, as individuals, are almost entirely responsible for building the “boxes” we choose to live in as well as for tying our own strings.

Little by little through life, we often change who we are — or how we act — in order to fit within other people’s expectations of who they think we are and how we think they think we should act.

In short, if you choose to act a certain way to please certain people, you do it at the expense of your true self and your true desires.

Yes, social norms exist for a reason. And there is a time and place for everything. And not all content is suitable for all audiences. And first impressions do matter — and so does being likable…

But you do yourself a disservice if you continually edit or censor yourself out of fear of what you think others will think.

I’ve also said this before, not everyone will like you — and that is perfectly ok!

What’s important is that you like you — and enough other people like you enough to show that you’re not a complete assclown.

Because being yourself is important, but so is not being an assclown.

Related:

How big is your box?

The Circle of Like

  • “This was stupid.”
  • “Not at all funny.”
  • “I don’t see what the big deal is.”
  • “I found the language offensive.”
  • “Who actually likes this stuff?”
  • “The worst gift I received this year.”

I’m paraphrasing the above quotes from reviews of one of my favorite books last year. Some of the actual reviews are far more brutal — and there are many more just like this.

I mean some people really hate this book.

And that’s a pretty sure sign that something is wrong. Right?

So what should the author do? Should they take the criticism to heart and curl up in a ball on the floor? Should they give up writing? (Some people have suggested as much).

Maybe they should seek ways to ensure that their next book — if they can muster the motivation to write one — appeals to these “haters” in some way so as to not to attract such harsh criticism?

They could do that.

In fact, it’s not that uncommon for people to not only change their creations to please others, some even go as far as to change the unique things about themselves in order to be more like those that get better “feedback”.

But I think that’s a mistake.

It may surprise you to discover that the book I’m referring to currently has a solid 5 star rating on Amazon. It has also been one of the best-selling books in its genre since it was published.

So — depending on how you look at it — it’s not so bad after all.

But what about these 1 star reviews? Are they invalid?

No. Of course not. Because an opinion is just that, an opinion.

Even if you’re only in the 1% of people who either do or don’t like something, it doesn’t make you “wrong”. It just means that, for whatever reason, you are not among the appreciative audience the something was intended or most suited for.

You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be someone who hates peaches.” — Dita Von Tease

And while I’m talking about a product and reviews, this also applies to people and criticism about one’s self or one’s creations.

I’ve said it before, some people will like you, some people won’t. That’s life.

The next time you feel rejected, criticized, or cross paths with someone who sees things differently than you do, I encourage you to remind yourself that it is likely impossible to be universally liked. And in order for nearly anything to truly have mass appeal, it must also situate itself within a very narrow spectrum so as not to offend, or bore, or turn off anyone.

And often, the moment something gains mass appeal, people criticize it for exactly that reason.

Even people who donate millions of dollars to charity receive complaints from folks who don’t think it was the right charity, or the right time, or the best use of that person’s money.

It’s very rare that you can ever do what you consider a good thing that everyone who hears about it will appreciate.

Remember this the next time you run across someone who has a different opinion than you do, or who criticizes you or something you produce. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are wrong, but it more than likely means they are simply not among the people you or what you produce is most suited for.

What really matters is making — and doing — the things you want to do for those they are intended for and not wasting your time trying to please or appease those who will never get you — or what you have to offer — no matter how hard you try.

What is the book in question? It doesn’t really matter.

Because it could be any book. Or any movie, or song, or literally anything anyone has an opinion about one way or the other.

If you’d like to try an exercise, I suggest going and reading the negative reviews for one of your favorite books or movies. Then, go read the positive reviews for a book or movie you really disliked.

Doing this can help provide added perspective because it reminds us of what it feels like to be at both ends of the spectrum — and neither end is “wrong.”

I think Bill Cosby said it best, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.

Sometimes we’re the one’s who are liking or being liked — and sometimes we’re not.

That’s the Circle of Like.

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Related:

The Circle of Like

A mission of kindness

Your mission today, if you choose to accept it, is to perform a random act of kindness.

Pay for someone’s toll or coffee.Put some change in an expired meter (*Note: may be illegal in some states). Share an artist’s work. Make a donation to a cause or help promote it. Help fund a Kickstarter project. Have flowers delivered to a receptionist. Let the Wookie win.

Or just make a stranger smile.

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A mission of kindness

Your mission, if you choose to accept it…

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to find an opportunity to give someone *sincere*, positive praise today.

Or tell someone’s boss or manager that the person who helped you (or others) is doing a great job.

Or write a positive review for a product or establishment that you appreciate.

Accentuate the positive.

Related:

Your mission, if you choose to accept it...

The right thing to do

Yes, you will sometimes feel like putting in the effort to make a positive difference isn’t necessarily worth it.

And not everyone cares about the things you care about.

And sometimes you will feel like you are the only one that something actually matters to.

But you’re not.

Never let a lack of recognition of your efforts to make a positive difference get in the way of doing what you feel is right.

Because sometimes, the most effective thing you can do is simply set a good example.

The people who make a positive difference in the world are the ones who keep trying to.

Not for fame. Or recognition. Or personal benefit.

But because it’s the right thing to do.

Related:

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From the comments:

Stephen: Hard not to internalize those with issues who smirk and roll their eyes.

Zero: Agreed. It’s a struggle. Group social dynamics are very powerful.

But I think it’s important to not lose your identity in a crowd — or to the crowd — because you are afraid of standing out.

See also: Why Good People Do Bad Things : Research indicates that being in a group makes some people lose touch with their personal moral beliefs.

The right thing to do

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Originally published on: Jun 12, 2014 @ 15:26
Republished on: May 23, 2015 @ 13:26

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