At the suggestion of a few friends I just watched Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son From His Father. If you haven’t yet watched this documentary, you should do so. I can’t say too much about it without spoiling it, but I can tell you it’s a real tear-jerker and will likely inspire you to be a better person.
But posting a suggestion of what you should add to your Netflix Instant queue is not what this post is about. This post is about something that Dear Zachary further reaffirms for me: an ideal (arguably the biggest ideal) that determines how I live my life.
Every interaction you have with another human being should be a net positive one.
I get that this is sort of confusing, so I’ll explain. Whenever you meet someone, or hang out with someone, or any sort of human connection whatsoever–you should strive to have a positive impact on that person. It can be something as simple as saying thank you to a bus driver when you get off the bus, waving to people directing traffic for you, or holding a door open for someone who is carrying things. The more good you can do in the world, the better.
I’ve felt very strongly about this for a long time, but there are moments when I’ve been shaken with doubt–is it really worth it? Do people care?
The answer is yes. Unequivocally so. If the lives covered in Dear Zachary have anything to show it would be exactly that. Just being a good, passionate, caring and overall good human being can have a profound impact on the people around you.
We can’t all be perfect all the time, and there are those out there who aren’t as deserving of our collective kindness as others, but always remember: net positive. If you’re a believer in karma as I am, this becomes doubly true.