Since I’ve been writing about purpose, it seemed appropriate to tell you something about my own.
Put simply, my purpose is to bring more good into the world.
Now here is some really big, important news, and I hope you’re ready for it. That is your purpose, too.
I know, I could have just started this whole series with that and been done with it. You wouldn’t have had to think about your past or your future, or even considered your gifts and abilities. Or would you?
Yes, you would, because while bringing more good into the world should be everyone’s purpose, it is not everyone’s primary purpose. Yours might be in politics, like Queen Esther. It might be in civil rights, like Martin Luther King Jr. For me it is primary, but for everyone it is and should be a result of their purpose.
When I meet someone who is interested in the Do Good U curriculum for their employees (as every employer should be), I ask them a question. Do you think there is enough good in the world?
So far not a single person has said yes, and I don’t believe any thinking person ever will.
Then I ask, very politely, “What are you doing about it?”
There are a lot of good answers to that, and one of them is to do more good. Another is the reduction of evil.
Replacement theory may or may not be a thing, but it’s something I’ve talked about for a long time in teaching sports.
I use it with students who have a negative thought in mind before hitting a shot. With golfers that could be a drive or a putt, and it can happen to anyone.
Someone asked a PGA Tour professional, “What’s going through your mind when you have a tough little chip shot to win the tournament?” His reply was, “You don’t want to know.”
But your mind cannot be “empty” when you’re hitting a shot, so how do you get rid of the negative thought? You replace it with a different thought.
Now take that same idea and move it from your mind to your mouth.
Recently a friend was decrying the fact that so many people in open social settings use such crude language. I agreed with him. He asked, even though he was not going to do it, “Is that OK?”
No, it is not OK. Is it widely accepted? Yes.
When I was young several friends and I were challenged by a teacher who said, “You need to improve your vocabulary, partly so you can use better words than common cuss words.”
It was a form of replacement theory, and while I do not succeed 100% of the time with either my mind or my mouth, that is still my goal.
Is a room full of “F bombs” evil? It is not good, and it does not lead to good. Do you want to know how you can bring more good into the world? Use good words. Trust me when I tell you that people will notice, and it will even change the way they speak, at least when you’re around. And that’s good.
Before saying more I want to acknowledge that all cultures around the world have two things in common: they honor good and punish evil.
A universal way to punish evil is to remove it, either temporarily or permanently. Ultimate removal could be death or banishment, but it is intended to be permanent.
God was (and is) big on the removal of evil. So, in some ways, are we all. That is a topic for another day, but let me note here an interesting example of “removal” in America.
It seems to be on the wane, but over the past few years something called “cancel culture” was talked about a lot in America, and even put into practice. That is a form of removal intended to be a kind of death penalty. It was not imposed by a legal court, but usually by a self-appointed “judge” enlisting the support of some “court of opinion.”
Ultimately it was never about good and evil, though it was usually presented that way, it was about control. But it did show that people understand removal. Even if they didn’t understand irony.
Not a good replacement
There are some “replacement” strategies that I don’t recommend, and one of those is ESG.
ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance. I have a couple of books about it, because they used the words “do good” in their title or subtitle, and I couldn’t resist.
Many (but not all) who push ESG begin with the idea that evil things are being done in corporate America. Their apparent intent is to rid us of those evil practices and replace them with good practices. That raises two questions for me: 1. Is evil being done? 2. Is ESG a “good” replacement?
The answer to the first question is “probably not as much as the ESG folks say.” The answer to the second question is “no,” though some are well intended.
ESG isn’t about good, it is about politics.
And that’s what I mean when I say that the idea of diminishing evil can get off course. Using fossil fuels, for instance, is not inherently evil. Using wind is not inherently good, though some have implied both as part of ESG. The truth is there are good and bad uses of fossil fuels and wind.
ESG is sometimes a lot like cancel culture, but with a better name.
I hope this little series has been helpful to you in finding a purpose for your life. You are here for a purpose, whether that is in your family or for the entire world. I sincerely hope you find it and fulfill it.
Whatever your purpose is, from university president to a singer of songs, always make sure it adds to the good.
Do good on purpose. It’s in you.