“Everything changes when you exchange suspicion for a more positive view of human nature.”

Rutger Bregman


We talk about how easy it is to lose trust. It seems like you can do 99 good things, 99 things right, but do 1 wrong thing and, whew, trust has crumbled. Frankly, that’s a bullshit thought. And if it isn’t, we have a fucked up view on things.

We talk less about when someone does 99 crappy things and then they do one great thing. One really, really, right thing. Whew. It throws us for a loop. For some reason we want to qualify the one great thing. We rush to diminish the one great act by pointing out the 99 crappy things that person has done. Once again, we have a crappy way of viewing these things. And if you don’t think that’s crappy, well, we have a fucked up view on things.

Let me state upfront, good is good, great is great. We should never diminish when someone does something good, or the right thing to do. You can be happy, surprised, uncomfortable, but we should all be comfortable with the fact a good deed has been done. Celebrate the right thing happened. Period.

I state that only to follow up with we struggle to do what I just said.

One of the hardest things in the world for anyone is to embrace the fact people are flawed.

Flaws, or words associated with flaw like blemish, defect, failing, fault, imperfection, mar or shortcoming, are all words that indicate a lack of something that prevents it ‘from being complete, wholly effective, or desirable’ (Hayakawa). Flaw is typically the most general term suggesting the existence or presence of something spoiling an otherwise sound whole. Flaws, most often, imply something missing. So. Things they are not. So, adding to that thought and drawing on my earlier point, in the case of “99 wrong, One right,” they are not being consistent. The lack of consistency, even though it is a RIGHT GREAT THING THEY DID, confuses us a bit and, well, we dwell on the inconsistency and not the ONE RIGHT GREAT THING THEY DID.

Look. Each of us ‘are not’ a lot of things. Recognizing those things is actually pretty easy. We notice them all the time. Shit. People are pointing them out to us all the time. That said. I guess the difficult part is accepting them and resigning ourselves that someone is ‘not being something’ with grace. But. Let me emphasize. Not being consistent and DOING THE RIGHT GREAT THING should not be difficult to process. Doing the right thing should be celebrated, not questioned, not caveated, not diminished.

For what it’s worth <most likely not much>.

I believe contradictions are not flaws nor are they imperfections. People do contradictory things all the time and that does not make them flawed or imperfect. Well. To be clear. People are flawed and imperfect its just that doing the right thing, occasionally, despite doing the wrong thing the majority of the time, is not a bug; it’s a feature.

I just thought about this for a variety of reasons. I will say that public figures, in particular, get crucified even when they do the right thing if they have been judged to do the wrong things the majority of the time up to that point. But you know what? Doing one, right, great thing is one, right, great thing. Period. It is value added to the circumstance, if not society. Each good deed nudges the arc of what is right and good in the right direction. We should celebrate good deeds, done by anyone, not diminish someone. Ponder.

Written by Bruce