“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
What do you want to be known for?
Lift others up. Treat people with respect. Be positive. Be true to your values. Do your best. Do things that bring you in contact with your passions. Take care of yourself, your family, and your friends. Be the person that makes others feel special. Be known for your kindness and honesty.
This is how you gain admiration and fame for being a good person…
1. Care about people.
People don’t care about how much you know, until they know how much you care.
The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion, compassion, humor, generosity, and kindness, and using these tools to improve the lives of those around you.
Smile, and help others smile too. If you don’t have the power or strength to write someone’s happiness, then try to help them remove their sadness instead. And don’t let the numbers overwhelm you. You can’t help everyone at once. Focus on assisting one person at a time, and always start with the person closest to you.
If you can lie down at night knowing in your heart that you made someone’s day just a little better, you’re doing it right.
2. Help people help themselves.
Whenever possible help people by teaching them to help themselves. Put the tools in their hands, show them how to use them, step back, and be there when they trip. Love them when they fall. Repeat.
It’s one thing to take the initiative with people you already know, but what about all the people around you whom you barely know?
Be friendly and introduce yourself to someone nearby. When you’re connecting with someone new always start with generosity. Focus on how you can help the other person. Do you have information that could benefit them? Do you have a skill that could assist them through their current situation? Do you know someone who they should meet?
One of the best investments you can make in yourself is to take a genuine interest in other people. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you. Love and kindness begets love and kindness. (Read The Mastery of Love.)
3. Live by the truth.
The most important thing you can do for others is to live by your truth and be who you truly are. If you trade in your reality for a role, you are doing everyone a disservice. When you put on a mask, and trade in your sense for an act, you give up your ability to truly connect with others. The bottom line is that there can’t be any deep connection between you and anyone else until there’s a deep connection within, to your truth. All of life’s goodness transpires on the inside first.
Once you are true on the inside, reflect it on the outside. Be honest and do what you know is right.
4. Let your passions ignite your ability to thrive and inspire others.
When you stop doing things you are passionate about, you stop living and you start merely existing. The same way your body responds to food, your heart, mind and spirit need nourishment too. You are able to get that nourishment when you indulge in your passions. Because when you truly lose yourself in something you love, you will eventually find yourself there too.
If you truly want to attract the right attention, you must devote your time and energy to what calls to your soul. When you do, you will find your life unimaginably enriched and attractive to those with like minds. (Marc and I discuss this in more detail in the “Passion and Goals” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
5. Be a force for positivity and encouragement.
Elevate your inside game. A negative attitude is below your horizon…
Our way of thinking creates good or bad outcomes. It makes a big difference in your life and the lives around you when you stay positive. So be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic. If something is not to your liking, change your liking and carry on with smile. Always turn a negative situation into a positive lesson and move forward.
Encourage the best possible results with your thoughts and words. And teach this philosophy to those around you too.
6. Over-deliver on your promises to yourself and others.
Make a real difference in the world by pushing boundaries. Test, prod, and poke until something positive gives. You can do this by saying “yes” to more than just what you’re comfortable with. Learn to stretch yourself. You might be surprised by what you’re actually capable of. Your confidence and understanding will grow, too, and you will end up giving yourself and the world more than anyone bargained for.
And when others are involved, under-promise and over-deliver on everything you do. Supply far more than what’s required. Period.
7. Have the guts to communicate clearly, from the heart.
Communication is what connects us. Start communicating clearly. Don’t try to read other people’s minds, and don’t make other people try to read yours. Speak up so people can understand you. Most people have a very low tolerance for dealing with people they can’t understand. Mystery does not fuel strong relationships and likeability.
And before you say something, always check in with yourself for a second to see if it’s really what you believe. The time you take to develop this awareness, the more comfortable you will be with communicating your truth to others. You probably think you do this, but do you really listen to yourself? The difference between someone who makes an impact and someone who misses the mark rests in their passion for the truth. You can’t say what you want to say because it’s easier. You have to communicate honestly, straight from your heart… and that takes guts.
8. Express your sincere appreciation to those who have earned it.
No matter how sure you are of someone’s appreciation and admiration, it’s always nice to be reminded of it. So if you appreciate someone today, tell them.
Just because they are reliable and there when you need them, doesn’t mean you should fail to give thanks and appreciation on a regular basis. To value someone too lightly is to risk missing the depth of their goodness before they’re gone. (Read The Last Lecture.)
9. Apologize when you know you should.
Take personal responsibility for your wrong doings. If you know, for instance, that your actions or words have hurt someone, you must immediately admit your faults and face the reality of your actions.
An apology is the super glue of lasting relationships. It can repair just about anything. Never ruin a relationship or your reputation with an excuse, instead of simply apologizing.
10. Take care of the one in the mirror.
If you want to be known for awakening happiness in the world around you, start by living a life that makes you happy, and then radiate your happiness outward. If you want to be known for eliminating suffering in the world, start by eliminating the dark and negative parts of yourself, and then radiate your positivity outward.
Truly, the greatest power you have in this world is the power of your own self-transformation. It starts with the one in the mirror. Be the very best version of YOU, and the right people will be drawn to you.
Ambition, intention and disciplined effort will bring you great things in this world, but there is more to success than acquiring the commonly celebrated milestones of success that society confers. In the long run, it’s less about achieving things and more about doing the right things, for yourself and others. It’s about being a genuinely good person.
Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.
What would you add to the list? What’s your favorite way to be a good person?
Photo by: Drew Myers
Hmmm… my favorite ways to be a good person:
– Holding the door open for the person behind me.
– Volunteering for a couple hours every other Sunday at the local homeless shelter.
– Spending quality time with my family and helping my kids learn and grow.
My favorite is #2. Helping people can take many forms. Just the other day I met up with Joshua Becker for a casual coffee and it was a lot of fun.
We were talking and he mentioned he was looking to speak more often, so I connected him with a buddy of mine who can help him out. Then he said he was considering a site redesign and of course I had to introduce him to someone for that too.
He’s a great person, writer, and speaker. I’m more than happy to do my part in helping him out.
Imagine if you can do that on a daily/weekly basis.
Christy King says
All great tips. I would add: be a good person anonymously sometimes.
Numbers 3 & 4: Living your truth and inspiring others. Two staples in life that can’t ever be over-compensated. Unfortunately, too few people ever get to cross the path of these two. When you do it’s worth more than silver or gold. I have had mentors in passing in my life from all walks of life show up when I needed them. Pay it forward.
Naresh C. Agrawal says
Yes, the Greatest joy I get is by helping others and making them happy.
These are wonderful reminders of how to live your best life. I also love #2. My friends call me the pollinator since I am always matching people up! Thank you, you guys rock!
Great post, but being a good person to gain fame? Kind of a confusing idea.
Faye Blondin says
I am constantly surprised by all the great messages you produce. So many resonate with me. Keep up the awesome work and thank you. The trick for me is after reading, to do! I think, oh that’s a great idea. And then …. It is gone, more or less, and I go on with my life. So as I was reading, I was thinking about what could get me more involved with what you write. I am a staff trainer, am constantly writing and “teaching” people how to do stuff and we always talk about application of learning. How do we help people apply the knowledge that they have gained. We are constantly coming up with ways for them to practice what we have preached.
So in my thought process I am trying to come up with ways to practice what you preach! And then the creator in me wonders if you could add something to your messages that would help me apply this information. This comment section is helping me right now as I keep on going back and reviewing what you posted today. Also though if you wrote questions that helped me think of how to apply the reading. So how about something like … Pick one point and write down a step you could take to apply this information to your daily life. When you have done this, write a “lesson learned” back to Marc and Angel about how it worked for you. Then you, M & A, could do a “lessons learned” post.
My lesson learned today is on point 7. Communicate from the heart. I have taken the time to think about and communicate what is important to me, my passion for the truth. When I originally read 7, I thought that I don’t communicate well, I must speak up more. But now I have read it over and over and thought abut it and realized that I have applied it by writing this post because I truly believe with passion in learning but learning and applying it is what makes you better, stronger and more able to go forward in life with conviction. Practice is the key.
When I started yoga 7 years ago at age 53, I couldn’t do much of anything that they suggested. I laughed out loud at side plank! No way I could even imagine holding my body weight up on one hand and one foot like that. Now at 60, I stand on my head and side plank is a breeze. I practiced, I applied the knowledge I had gained, over and over.
So this week I am going to practice and apply number 7. I am going to email no 7 to myself at work and post it there on my wall and look at it every day. I will let you know how it goes for me!
Thanks again, what an inspiration you two are.
Show your appreciation and smile. I love to be on the receiving end of a smile and it can really make my day to have caused someone else to smile and if that smile broadens and develops into laughter, well that’s music to my ears.
While recovering from a personal betrayal I am finding so much help in my regrouping from reading articles like this.
But if the only goal for being nice is to gain the admiration… would you still consider that a good person? I suppose as long as good intentions are used to fuel the good deeds…
I don’t think they meant big, public fame. More like when you’re not around and people speak of you, they smile and say, “That Dp is a really good person.” And they all have a different reason for feeling that way.
Angel Chernoff says
@J.J.: I love those simple ideas.
@Vincent: So glad you two met. And yes, if we all did a few good deeds like this on a daily, we would transform the world. 🙂
@Christy King: Excellent point. I think that 99% of the time the good deeds we do are anonymous. The key is that we have to do lots and lots of them before anyone will notice, and that’s a good thing.
@Faye Blondin: That’s an incredible idea! I’ll have to talk with Marc and see if we can work an idea like this into some of our future posts. Good luck with #7. Keep us posted.
@Joanne: Such a beautiful way of looking at life and relationships. Thank you for sharing your positive ideas.
@Beverly: Thank you. That’s exactly what I mean. 🙂
@Dp and Ragnar: The post could have been easily titled “10 Ways to Be Known for Being a Good Person” or simply “10 Ways to Be a Good Person.” In hindsight, these may have been better descriptions of the content. The core concept, however, is this: When you practice genuine good deeds for a long, long time, eventually people will recognize you for being who you are, a genuinely good person.
@All: Thanks so much for the replies. I love reading your perspective on the ideas I write about. Keep them coming, and I’ll check back soon.
I would add to the list, Random Acts of Kindness. Just do them. You’ll make someone’s day, week, month, or year.
Innocent Gideon Nwuju says
Great ideas, but how can you help others smile when you yourself are struggling to smile. Any thoughts or tips would be appreciated.
@Innocent… The fastest and best way to move yourself into a positive smiling state is to get outside of your own head, your own sadness, and focus on helping someone else move their self to a more positive place. The afterglow of a deed like that will make you feel so much better.
Kevin Cole says
I really resonate with #6. When you make promises to other people, it’s one thing to keep your promise. It’s another to go above and beyond. To take that extra step and truly show them how deeply you care. Oftentimes, it’s that extra little step that separates you from everyone else.
I’d also like to add “Saying Thank You” to this list. It may no directly correlate to becoming famous, but I think it does in a sense. Being a good person means being appreciative of the world-changers in your life. Whether they are a villain or a friend, everyone has played an impact on who you are and you should be thankful for that. So say “Thank you” to the people in your life and show them how their actions have bettered you as a person.
Davis Nguyen says
My suggestion would go under 1 and 2, but making simple introductions for people who would benefit from knowing one another is a great way to help people and create some positive change.
You have put into words how I strive to live my life on a daily basis..I will post this at work so I have reminders on a daily basis…random acts of kindness…love it.
“To have; Give all to all.”
I find it easiest to be genuinely good to others (including ALL life/creation on earth) when I remember we are ALL children/creations of God, connected and NOT separate.
Not in the interest of gaining “fame” but because that’s our true nature and it shouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary.
GREAT post (as always). Thank you!
David Rapp says
I was also confused “gain fame for being a good person.” But I agree that fame can be a local concept.
I think many people set up impossible standards internally, and when they fail to meet them, settle for other people’s standards and opinions. The goals, paths, scorecards, measurements, etc. become totally external. So “being a good person” gets outsourced altogether.
I am still in the process of re-internalizing my goals and dreams. I have a 6 year-old, and I do not want him to live the life I led for 44 years, where all my success has been external. His bright eyes keep me working through the long, painful process of re-inventing myself.
Same for my marriage. Our new house and her new job have affected all we are doing right now. And I own my part of it, and its up to me drive my own emotions and actions in the most positive, supportive and sacrificial way to enjoy the process.
Lastly, figure out a way to cheer yourself on. I STILL suck at it, but I am slowly getting better at it. Your life has purpose and meaning, find it and you set yourself free. When others rail against it, you’ll know you are on target.
Hi Angel – love what you wrote in the afterthoughts in that it’s really about being a genuinely good person, not for what society thinks of us. Striving to do more and be better for ourselves, not others (but naturally will be appreciated by others)
Caring, serving and giving back to others is key to being a good person. It’s one of my primary resolutions for 2013 – to give back to someone daily. The interesting thing is that we get so much back from others when we give, either in the form of a thanks or just the goodwill people repay us with.
Living authentically and living to our values are a couple other ways I try to live my life.
I am a 5th grade teacher and I plan to use this article with my students. I want to discuss each section for 10 days and see how much they can truly get out of it. Today was day number one and we had such a wonderful conversation. If students can learn early on these types of lessons, imagine how much less bullying we’d have in high school. Not only will they not be the ones doing the bullying, they may become protectors of those that have nobody otherwise.
Amelia Williams says
Although I like the overall message, I find this post to be just a bit odd – in that those who are devoting their time to charity and devoting their time toward other people at senior match are generally not concerned with the fame and adulation that they can achieve or receive as a result of it. I’d like to think that the ultimate goal of doing these things would be more for self satisfaction rather than any ‘fame’ that could be gotten.
Melissa Webster says
“When others rail against it, you’ll know you are on target.” David, oh how I wish that were true. Thank you for your comment. As always, insightful and helpful.
Great post Angel! Thanks! I’m going to share this one today.
To share by my actions and show the thankfulness and gratitude for this life time I have been given.
In this way, I show the creator, a reflection of my love.
You’re a good person when you stick to what you believe in whether people support them or not. You don’t really care about the approval of others. You just want to help out and make the world a better place.
Angel Chernoff says
@Amandah: Yes! Random acts of kindness are my favorite. And every time I make someone smile unexpectedly, it makes me smile too.
@Innocent Gideon Nwuju: The act of helping others is a great anecdote to unhappiness. Give this post a read: https://www.marcandangel.com/2011/08/30/12-things-happy-people-do-differently/ – Also check out the happiness and self-love chapters of our book.
@dede: Spot on!
@Kevin Cole: The addition of “Thank You” is wonderful. No matter how appreciated you feel, it’s always nice to be reminded of it.
@Davis Nguyen: Oh, I love introducing likedminded people. Great addition! Thanks.
@Jonathan: Oneness… indeed. We all are connected. Respecting this fact helps us connect and help each other.
@David Rapp: “Slowly getting better…” that all you can ask for. That means you’re doing it right. Thanks, as always, for sharing with us.
@Vishnu: I love the idea of deliberately giving back to at least one person every day. That’s something worth keeping track of.
@Dee: Thank you for helping spread these positive ideas to your students. That’s honestly the best news I’ve heard all day. =)
@Amelia Williams: I assume it’s the title that’s throwing you off. The content itself is about being a good person. The thought process behind the title was not to find fame through good deeds, but that good deeds would eventually lead to public recognition for such deeds. As I stated above, the post could have been easily titled “10 Ways to Be Known for Being a Good Person” or simply “10 Ways to Be a Good Person.” Hopefully you still found value in it.
@Melissa Webster: Thanks!
@Loren: Beautiful. =)
What an awesome post!! Thanks for sharing this. Was a worthy read, Marc & Angel!
Felt like you people read my mind. All the points mentioned perfectly synced with my mind, the thought process inside…
I would like to comment on #8.
Paying honest and sincere appreciation to a person for the slightest of his deeds will bring about a change in him. This puny yet worthy act would help the person gain confidence. As humans, all of us are longing for acceptance or approval or acknowledgment or appreciation or whatever you would call it. This is the eternal truth lying deep within us. All our gestures or acts, in one way or the other is focused on leaving an impression on the beholder. No matter how we argue upon it, the fact remains we want to be under the lime light. We wish to mark a dent in all walks. As such, lets help people improve their self esteem & confidence by appreciating even the slightest of the accomplishment he makes. At the end of the day, life is all about helping others live their lives to the fullest. Let’s try to be the reason for postive change.
#7 and #9 are what I am dealing with right now. In my attempts at honest communication I may have hurt someone unintentionally. So, today I intend to use #9 to correct that and apologize. As the saying goes: the time is always right to do what is right. By the way I didn’t even notice the title till I read the comments. The entire post was so great and relevant (as usual) and I applaud you for all the great advice and insights. I think it is amazing that you take the time to respond to all that leave comments; that is above and beyond what might be expected. Thank you again for all you do.
Angel, Great line… “If you don’t have the power to make others happy, then try to help remove their sadness.” That is something I try to do everyday as a psychotherapist when I can’t find a solution for their problems. At least remove their sadness and suffering or find another way to change their perspective in life.
One favorite way to be a good person or speaking for my self as a clinician, always learn to listen more become one with their story, become a character in their stories that will help connect with them in a deeper level to understand them more. Great post.
Gurmeet Singh says
I d like to add:
Volunteer: Give someone more than a donation
Donate blood regularly: give someone something very special that may even save someones life.
You have to be yourself in what u do, keep following ur heart and don’t get distracted by things that are happening around u. some things are really just a waste of time and stop u from doing what u actually want to do.
Helping someone is good. But how can u get others to help others. Charity & acts of kindness should not be kept secret. you should promote and speak about the good things u do as much as possible so that others can learn from u & try to do the same.