I believe that the majority of people are good. That the number of good-hearted people committed to building people up outweighs the number of those who want to tear them down.
But every time I see the news, it seems like the opposite. Like hell-fire is about to rain down and the world is doomed.
There are a variety of reasons for this; framing, biases, and the media.
But it’s also incentives. Because let’s be honest; Bad news sells. Evil deeds get reactions. And negativity gets views.
Emotions play a crucial role in our attention. And since news agencies are companies, their primary objective is to make money. And the best way to do this is by attracting your attention.
By any means necessary.
Let’s say there are two stories; one about a charity doing great humanitarian work and the other about a political scandal. Well, we all know which story will attract more attention. The negative story will garner more attention, views, reach, and influence.
That’s because negativity and sensationalism sells. And ultimately, they achieve a greater influence than it’s positive counterparts. Thus dominating the narrative.
You’ll hear about the single most horrible person in a country with 330 million people.
But you won’t hear about the hundreds of millions of Americans living good, positive, and productive lives. Being good people, doing the right thing, and being kind. You won’t hear about any of that because that’s not the stuff that spreads like fire on social media.
It’s important to keep things in perspective.
Perspective Is Key
Because yea, bad things happen. But just as many, if not more, good things happen too! Remembering this has made my experience of the world much different.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve dealt with a lot of bad people. I’ve been lied to, cheated, harassed, and shamed. I’ve had my fair share of negative experiences with people.
But I’ve met even more good people. And more importantly, I make a concerted effort to focus on the positive.
Because so often it comes down to where you draw the line, your expectations, and your perspective.
About a week ago, something interesting happened. Someone came to the front door told my brother that there was a wallet sitting in the street. My brother let me know, being that it’s my car parked on the street. So I rushed outside, went up to my car, and there it was. Sitting there plain as day was my wallet.
Earlier that day while getting out of my car, apparently I dropped it and didn’t even notice.
I had never lost my wallet like this before. I couldn’t believe it.
Then, of course, thinking about all of the hassle I would have had to go through if I did lose it. Having to cancel all my cards and get sent new ones. Make a dozen phone calls. It would have been a serious pain. Not to mention losing the $110 in cash would have been a major bummer.
And I just kept thinking to myself about this man. The man in the green box truck. Presumably, he was just doing his job. He could have ignored it. He could have taken it. He could have just taken the cash and left it there.
But instead, he pulled over, ran up to the door, let us know, and drove off before I could even thank him.
He specifically went out of his way to help a complete stranger. He didn’t know me. He had no external incentive to help me. But he did it anyway.
He interrupted his day to do the right thing. And he wasn’t looking for praise or validation or a reward. I waved at his truck as he took off, but that was about it.
He was just trying to do what was right. And I sincerely appreciate it. And not just because he saved me from a huge headache, but because he reminded me that good people are out there.
Goodness is all around us. But only to be seen by those who are willing to look.
For better or worse, this isn’t the type of story that would make all the headlines and go viral. It’s not flashy or amazing. It’s a simple act of kindness. One stranger trying to do right by another.
Now, I know that I got lucky. I’m lucky that he saw it. Someone else might have just scooped it up and moved on with their day. I know that I have to be responsible and can’t rely on strangers to bail me out.
But it’s nice knowing that sometimes they just might.
I believe that the number of good people dwarfs the number of bad. It may not always seem like it, but to me, they are the silent majority.
Thanks for reading! Although he didn’t want any praise, I wanted to share this story to remind everyone that good people really do exist. Whether he knows it or not, his one small deed has impacted hundreds of people who came across my story.
If you enjoyed this article, I wrote another called ‘Why Doing The Right Thing is Always the Best Option‘. Perhaps the man from my story read the same Naval quote that inspired me:
“Don’t do things that you know are morally wrong. Not because someone is watching, but because you are. Self-esteem is just the reputation that you have with yourself.”
Also, I shared this story in the Reno Reddit with the title ‘The Good People of Reno‘ if you want to check it out there.
Do you have a story about someone being a good person? Maybe that people was you! Let me know any of your thoughts in the comments below!