The Silent Majority

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. 

Photo by Issy Bailey on Unsplash

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.

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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. 

Story Time

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.

Wrap Up

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. 

Photo by pixpoetry on Unsplash

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.”
Naval Ravikant

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!

24 comments

  1. We are so constantly bombarded with negativity thru the media and even people around us. We truly forget that the majority of people are intrinsically good and kind. I like your wallet story. I know I could never steal someone’s stuff from their wallet.
    Pay it forward.
    Great post.

  2. I agree that the majority of people are generally good and have good intentions, though their suffering causes them to usually unintentionally hurt others, Though it is true that anything bad which happens gets far more attention compared to something good.

    1. Hi Victoria!

      Thanks for your thoughts, you made a good point. Often it is unintentional. And that’s okay. My goal is to just catch myself when I do something like that and strive to be better next time! 🙂

    1. Hi Richard!

      That’s fair! Reminds me of “Don’t let good be the opposite of great.”

      We don’t have to be perfect. I know I’m not. I’m just trying to do my best. 🙂

  3. Oh my goodness! Beautiful story about the wallet! And yes, I won’t even watch the news anymore. My life, and the lives around me, are far better for it. I take on negativity quite easily so it’s sort of a necessary choice. ☺️

    On the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people thing…I think that everyone is good and bad to a degree. For me, it allows for an easier stretch into compassion when I acknowledge my own ‘bad’ when faced with the ‘bad’ of others. Everyone is different, though. We each see and take part in the world in different ways, don’t we, which is part of life’s beauty, I think. Thanks for the wonderful post, Evan! ☺️☀️

    1. Hey Brooke!

      I’m with you. After a certain point it’s hard not to absorb some of the negativity if you’re constantly consuming it. At least it is for me!

      And I agree with your point about everyone being good and bad. Maybe I could have phrased it more delicately. And also, ‘bad’ is often just being selfish. And that doesn’t make them bad people.

      Thank you as always for such a thoughtful comment! I appreciate you spending those positive vibes. 🙂

      1. Spending vibes?! I LOVE that idea! Ha ha ha. I suppose communicating and adding ideas to the pot of humanity really IS spending our vibes. ☺️ I never thought of that. Lol. So good! And you’ve phrased it all perfectly. Had you phrased it any differently, we’d not have had a chance to go deeper into the idea together. You know there are no accidents in the universe, Evan! Lol. At least that’s what I think, anyway. 🤗

      2. Hahaha I meant spreading! But I absolutely love that you found a way to make it work! And for what it’s worth, I kind of like that idea now too! Except you probably deserve the credit. But you’re right. That typo wasn’t an accident, it was an opportunity! Love the way you think, Brooke! 😀

      3. Ha ha ha! What a classic, Evan! The universe is having an absolute field day with us, isn’t it. 😂We’ve totally ‘accidentally’ started something here. Spending vibes. Love it! Ha ha ha. x

  4. A nice read👏🏾. I too believe that there’s so much good in this world. The media is just hell-bent on magnifying the negatives.

  5. A prescient post for these strange times. Before Covid-19, I worked at the airport and I was astonished at the honesty of passengers. One even brought me a dripping cell phone that someone had dropped in the toilet… 😱
    When I lived in Cairo, I was surprised at how kind most people were to me.

    1. Thank you, Chattykerry!

      Exactly! It’s so easy to let the one negative experience dominate our perspective, but little acts of kindness are happening all around us! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  6. I agree with you on a number of points. The news often blows events out of proportion. However, the person who brought your wallet to you was not silent. Though wordless, his action was a sign that spoke volumes. You are confusing a term applied to a sector of society “The Silent Majority” that turns a blind eye to preserve the status quo, with the actions of a good citizen, the person who returned your wallet. As toxic as the news can be, it’s important to Inform ourselves someway. Read, watch and listen. All points of views. You may be comfortable materialistically, safe in your environment, as I am too, but after 65 years and parents that taught me to care for the sick and the poor, I’ve become ever more vigilant of those who suffer, usually living on the fringes of society. I recommend you read the late John Lewis’s book: “Across That Bridge.” BTW, you liked one of my posts once, so I read your posts, and followed you. I invite you to read mine too, and to not be Silent.

    1. Hey Tiffany!

      That’s a really good point! Silence isn’t always a bad thing and his actions spoke volumes here. I’m using the term ‘silent majority’ here for a different reason. I’m trying to illustrate that the majority of people are silent about their good acts. That many of us do the right thing without an expectation of praise or credit.

      To your point about consuming news. I agree that having a sense of what’s going on in the world is important. But realistically, you could stay plenty informed by spending 30 minutes once a week going through the important stuff. I don’t advocate isolating oneself from the news. But most of it is a waste of time.

      I’ll be sure to check out the book recommendation.

      I appreciate you taking the time to read and share your thoughts. Even if we don’t agree about everything, I’m happy discuss these ideas! 🙂

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this story of yours, and the message that goes with it. We all have the power to do good if we make the choice to do it. Sometimes temptation will be there to reward ourselves by neglecting this choice, or even worse, show undue apathy when faced with the opportunity to help one another.

    I am constantly reminded of the good people can do in the little things. When walking down the street there are plenty of people who aren’t aware of their group taking up so much space that others have to walk on the road to get around them or push past. It’s easy to focus on these interactions because they might negatively impact our day. What we can forget is the people who acknowledge us with a small and step aside or encourage us on with a gesture and a kind greeting.

    Choose kindness. It is the best decision we can make every day. ♥

    1. Hey Hamish! You’re welcome!

      The sidewalk example is a great one. We’ve all experienced that and it can be pretty obnoxious. And I agree, it’s so easy not to notice or acknowledge the little courtesies that happen too.

      I’m glad that we share the same philosophy about these things!

      And I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Thanks Hamish! 🙂

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