For Goodness Sake

9 Aug

I read an article saying that the average human being only uses a small percentage of their lung capacity.  I read another saying that we also only use a small percentage of our brain capacity.  I believe we only use a small percentage of our capacity for goodness.

I was talking to a friend today about this and, in an attempt to be supportive (always appreciated), she made an off-hand remark that doing good was not that hard.  I beg to differ.  For instance, you can do aerobic exercise to increase lung capacity (really folks, I’m not a doctor so, no medical advice here).  You can take classes and do word puzzles to increase your brain capacity.  Both of these take effort and commitment.  Improving your “goodness capacity” also takes effort and commitment.

Regarding the effort – well, here I am on vacation after working five months straight.  I worked every day, 70-80 hours per week.  I’m heading back to work at the end of the month, yet I have taken on this project.  It is not simply about writing. It involves developing the website (thanks for reading, subscribing and sharing), planning my route across the U.S. and meeting the people who will be profiled (investigating job fairs, food banks, etc.).  There’s been some time spent getting out the word about the project to individuals and media (yes, there will be some coverage).  Of course there will be the drive across the U.S (2181.82 miles and 32 hours and 13 minutes according to MapQuest).  And finally, the writing part. That’s a lot of effort.

In regards to the commitment, well that’s a bit of the inspiration for this project.  When things were really tough for me, I was surprised by both the people who were there for me and those that weren’t.  This project is to honor those who were.  You see, every time I said a heartfelt thank you I was told, “Just pay it forward.”  This term came into common usage following the release of the movie of the same name in 2000.  Most have said it, few have done it.  When things get better, we tend to get so involved with our everyday life that we forget these promises.  One thing my dad taught me is never to break a promise.

I woke up this morning and had a flashback to where I was two years ago.  I was living in Phoenix, Arizona, my air conditioning had broken and I had no money to fix it.  It was 106 degrees in my kitchen (according to my meat thermometer) and I lived that way for a month and a half.  It’s hard for me to forget the promises I made.

I’ve received incredible support for this project. Some have talked about karma – “Oh, you will have such good karma from this,” they say.  The thing is, if we do things with the expectation of good karma coming back at us, it seems a bit selfish.  While I do believe in karma (to a point), I’m not sure that this should be our primary reason for doing not only what is right, but maybe going above and beyond.  Perhaps we should do it simply to work on improving our “goodness capacity.”

Just as the more you exercise the easier it becomes and the better you feel, the more work you do to contribute to the world in a positive way, the easier it becomes and the better you feel.

So, while one reason for starting this project is to keep promises, the other reason is simply – For Goodness Sake.

Note: The Rebel-With-A-Cause Road Trip begins in approximately 10 days. Feel free to spread the word. Oh, and follow me on Twitter @rblcause.

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