This post discusses the topics on the reasoning behind good deeds, the significance of the intention that drives each deed, and the importance of having faith in humanity.
By Justin Ho
Renewing Faith in Humanity?
Oh hey look your friend posted something on social media that is sort of positive. A video, article, or personal recount of some form of positivity that is blemished with the statement:
“My faith in humanity is renewed.”
There doesn’t need to be a renewal of faith unless its dead within you. It’s understandable to have a wavering faith in humanity. The content seen on all of the marquee news networks is deflating. It is easy to get caught up in the extremes that the media portrays and become jaded to the world around you. However, that isn’t to say you completely ignore the news. It needs to be understood that there are also positive things happening in the world.
Faith in humanity does not have to be restored if it is kept alive and constantly fed.
It is not difficult to observe and witness good around you. Positive occurrences are not rare occasions. it’s just a matter of noticing them as they happen. Spend less time fixating on society’s downfalls, and start being the inspiration for others to continue their faith in humanity.
Begin by doing daily good deeds.
After a long day at work, I caught up with an old co-worker over happy hour. We were engaged in our conversation when a group of middle-aged men were behind us scoping for available seats at the bar.
They were a group of 5 men. There were 3 seats open to our left, and 2 to our left.
“Hey are you all looking for seats? Here, we’ll scoot over a couple seats so you all can sit.”
One of them bewildered by our generosity told us that karma was going to pay us back favorably. He bought our next round of beers.
What exactly is karma?
In Hinduism and Buddhism, karma is a term that reflects the sum of an individual’s current and past actions which establishes their fate in future existences. Karma is a natural law more so than a moral law. A natural law delineates that there is a cause and there is an effect.
Our current western society creates a moral law defined by karma. The idea is that, if you do good, then you are awarded with good karma, and good things will happen to you in the future. Though the principle is overall positive, society has found a way to contort the original meaning.
The man was grateful for us moving a couple seats down for his friends, and it was extremely generous of him to buy us the next round. We appreciated his gesture and of course the beer was good. However, I wouldn’t have thought twice about the situation had he not gone into a spiel about karma, and how it is necessary to do good things in order to have good things happen to us. I disagreed.
“One should, perform karma with nonchalance without expecting the benefits because sooner or later one shall definitely gets the fruits” – Rig Veda
Do favors for people without thinking that it is a moral prerequisite to attain positive experiences in the future.
A Need for Affirmation
I’ve encountered various situations where my peers or complete strangers try to reap the perceived ‘benefits’ of karma. The concept of karma is transformed into a means of self-affirmation. People do good to receive good back. It seems that people need that affirmation and validation for their good actions.
Individuals will share their personal recounts on social media or through conversation, subconsciously pandering for praise and approval. This is where the need for affirmation takes over the purpose of the good deed. Spend less time telling about how much good you’ve done, and spend more time doing that good.
Do Good because it’s Good It’s a simple notion. Do good deeds solely because it’s a good deed. Help make someone’s day become a little more positive. You don’t need to be paid back with anything other than the gratitude of being of service. Don’t even expect appreciation back. It’s not about that at all.
Treat other people better than you’d expect yourself to be treated.
Willing to do good and help others can lead to being stepped on and even taken advantage of. Generosity can very easily be exploited. With this in mind, it is important to be aware of what exactly you’re helping with.
It is your responsibility to draw the line between being taken advantage of and doing a friend a favor. You’re passing on the favor on primarily because you want to help. You’re only obligated if you choose to be.
If pity is factored into the calculation, you may find yourself helping an individual only because you feel bad more so than just wanting to help them. I include pity because good deeds are not meant not be done from a condescending perspective. Though this is not always the case, pity can detract from the pure intention of helping someone and make the gesture seem belittling.
This is a tough line to define, but you have to remember that you have a choice. Be honest, communicate your concern, and work for a solution from there.
Raising the Bar
For a better world, standards need to be raised. Neutrality is the current standard: don’t do bad, don’t do good, just mind your own business.
Imagine a world where the bar was raised just a smidge. Raised just enough so that everyday good deeds are the norm. Where there isn’t a pedestal for good acts, and people simply do good deeds just because it is the normal thing to do.
Your waiter is working his butt off but still is having a tough time managing his tables?
Leave him a little extra tip and write down a message thanking him for his hard work.
Busy mom is in a hurry to get the groceries home at the end of the day?
Let her cut in front of you, those extra 5 minutes are trivial.
Consider yourself a nice guy?
Continue to do nice things without expectations of anything in return to your peers, including your love interest.
You see an awesome inspirational video online?
Find ways to bring that kind of project to your community.
If you’re not comfortable or find yourself having a difficult time starting, you can begin with setting a goal.
“I will do 3 good deeds every day this month.”
Eventually, reaching that quota won’t matter, and you’ll find yourself naturally helping others. These deeds should not be challenges.
The good that you do for others everyday will continue the cycle of positivity. Those affected will pass on the favors. There won’t be a need for a renewal of faith in humanity, just a constant continuation.
To those who are making people’s days on a daily basis, cheers! There are many of you in this world, and the world is blessed to have you all.
Go make someone happy. What’s stopping you?
Are you enjoying what you’re reading? Subscribe to the UP Lab email list! You’ll receive weekly newsletters with information about our weekly posts and upcoming projects.