In an era where the noise of divisiveness and apathy frequently drowns out the whispers of unity and concern for others, the call to be a genuinely good human has never sounded louder. Striving to be a good person is a core part of who I am and how I’m wired mentally. Sure, I have my off days, but I’m committed to doing better, day in and day out.
So, as we navigate a world teeming with stressors and distractions, the ethics of decency often seem to take a backseat. Yet, in the maze of modern life, there’s a renewed hunger for actions and philosophies that are grounded in goodness, respect, and a collective sense of responsibility. In this Part II, we dive deeper into the tangible ways you can rise above the murk, contribute positively to those around you, and genuinely earn the badge of a good person—no spotlight required.
1. Random Compliments: Spreading Positivity
Oh, you noticed someone’s haircut, or perhaps their exquisite fashion taste that defies the common “sweatpants chic?” Well, don’t keep that revelation to yourself. Throw that compliment like confetti at a New Year’s Eve party. The world can feel like a pretty cold and indifferent place sometimes. An unexpected compliment, though, can be a warm flicker in someone’s day.
Complimenting someone is more than just being polite; it’s an open-handed gift of positivity, and you better believe it can brighten anyone’s day. Whether it’s about their outfit, work ethic, or the way they light up a room, your words can have incredible positive power. Make them count for something good.
Real-life impact: Let’s say someone is having “one of those days” where everything seems to be going ass backwards. You could transform their day from grim to hopeful with a simple, well-timed compliment. It might be the only good thing that happens to them that day.
2. Digital Etiquette: Being Civil Online
Ah, the Internet: a wild west where manners are as rare as a flattering driver’s license photo. Forget being a keyboard warrior; be a keyboard diplomat. You might just save someone’s day, or at least their thread. Digital spaces have become our second homes, but all too often, they’re cluttered with negativity.
That’s where the importance of digital etiquette comes in. Being respectful online goes beyond not being a troll. It means actively making the digital space better—counteracting a hateful comment with a supportive one, or spreading verified information rather than rumors. And always keep in mind: if you have nothing good to say, then perhaps is best to keep it to yourself.
Real-life impact: Standing up to cyberbullying could make a vulnerable person feel supported and less isolated, potentially preventing severe emotional distress. There are countless opportunities to prevent online bullying, and I hope you are being part of the solution and not the problem.
3. Pick Up Litter: Owning Shared Spaces
Earth is not your giant trash can, and who knew that picking up a piece of litter could be such a status symbol? Seriously though, you’ll feel like a local hero. Public spaces are shared spaces, and they reflect the collective personality of a community.
Picking up litter is a small, direct action that speaks volumes about your respect for your environment and your community, and if you’re a parent, it send a loud message to your children that THIS PLANET MATTERS. It’s a quiet but resounding statement that says, “I care.”
Real-life impact: You might inspire a movement of litter pickers in your area. Now imagine a mom explaining to her kid how one person can make a difference—that’s a powerful lesson.
4. Book Swap Boxes: Sharing Knowledge
It’s like Netflix, but for books, and absolutely free. Wow, revolutionizing the concept of sharing, aren’t you? Knowledge should be accessible to all. Setting up or contributing to a book swap box in your community is a tangible way to democratize access to knowledge. In an age when the digital divide is still glaring, books remain universally accessible.
Real-life impact: You’re giving someone the tools for empowerment—be it a job-hunting manual or an inspiring biography—that they may not have had access to otherwise. Always remember that knowledge is the only thing NOBODY can take away from you.
5. Offer Your Seat: Acknowledging Others’ Need
Who knew that your seat could be the throne for someone else’s tired day? Stand up and offer it, you benevolent ruler, you. Don’t just sit there while you witness someone who could use it more than you.
Basic comforts like seating aren’t equally comfortable or accessible for everyone. Whether you’re on a bus, train, or in a public area, offering your seat to someone in need is an acknowledgment of their humanity. It shows that you care, that you give a damn about someone other than yourself.
Real-life impact: For the elderly, pregnant, or anyone with physical challenges, this simple act offers comfort and reaffirms that compassion still exists in public life. And you will put a smile on their face.
6. Cook Extra: Altruism through Food
Cooking extra is basically saying, “I care about you, but I also don’t want to have a full-on conversation.” Works wonders, really.
The act of sharing food is one of the most fundamental ways humans express care. Cooking extra to share with a neighbor or someone in need is kindness made tangible. It says, “I see you,” without the need for words.
Real-life impact: This extra meal could ease someone’s financial stress for the day, or simply offer them a warm, home-cooked experience they’ve missed.
7. Informal Mentorship: Guiding the Lost
Who said you need a classroom or a boardroom to spout your wisdom? Bestow your life hacks like you’re an undercover sage. Mentorship isn’t just for formal settings. Even casual mentorship can change lives.
Offering your experience and advice to someone struggling in their career or personal life can set them on a better path. You’d be surprised how helpful your knowledge can be in guiding others through the right path.
Real-life impact: This simple sharing of experiences can help someone avoid pitfalls and offer a clearer path to success, however they define it. You may encounter someone who has never had proper adult guidance in their lives, and the time you spend mentoring can translate into a major life change for them.
8. Donating Used Items: Second Chances
Think of it as matchmaking between your old stuff and someone’s new start. It’s the dating app of altruism. We all know that one person’s trash is another’s treasure, as the saying goes. Donating items you no longer need could greatly improve someone else’s quality of life. It’s also a small but effective way to combat the consumer culture that encourages waste, and to also help protect our already fragile planet.
Real-life impact: Your old coat could shield a homeless person from a bitter winter, giving them a better chance at health and well-being, rather than having that coat sit in your closet for years, knowing you are never going to use it again.
9. Set Healthy Boundaries: Modeling Self-Respect
Drawing the line doesn’t mean you’re a killjoy; it means you’ve got a treasure map, and “X” marks your personal space. Setting boundaries is not just good for you; it’s good for the people around you too. It establishes a healthy dynamic that invites mutual respect.
By articulating your needs and limits, you offer others a roadmap to better interactions and let them know it is okay to set boundaries for themselves. I am a strong believer that healthy boundaries are the foundation of good relationships.
Real-life impact: By setting healthy boundaries, you may be teaching someone who never new about this, helping them foster healthier relationships all around.
10. Support Small Businesses: Strengthening Community Economy
Put your money where your home is. Why buy from a faceless conglomerate when you can help Dave from down the street pay his mortgage or feed his family? Buying and hiring from local businesses is more than an economic choice; it’s a statement of what you value, and that you support your local community.
Local businesses are often the backbone of communities, providing local jobs and contributing to the area’s character. By supporting them you are contributing to the growth of your own community; makes you a little local hero.
Real-life impact: Each purchase could be the lifeline that helps a local business owner keep their doors open, sustaining the community and its unique identity.
In a Nutshell
Being a good person doesn’t have to involve grand gestures or heroic acts. It’s often the little, everyday things that accumulate and make the biggest difference. In a world increasingly characterized by haste and indifference, on and offline, taking the time to be thoughtful, kind, and considerate is a revolutionary act. It shows you are different. You are not the norm we see these days. These small but meaningful deeds contribute not just to individual well-being, but to the collective soul of our communities. Ultimately, being a good person isn’t a destination; it’s a journey made up of countless small steps. And every step you take not only enriches your life, but reverberates through the lives of those around you, creating a cycle of goodness that the world desperately needs.
I challenge you to be a good person. Tell me in the comments what small acts of kindness you practice each day to be a good person and community member.