Good People and Bad People

Trouble, like most all little towns, has some people who are bad all the time.

And it has some people who are good all the time.

But most of the people are good and bad… most of the time.

Lee Hazlewood – “Long Black Train”

There are no good people and there are no bad people. Nobody is born angelic and nobody is born evil. There are only people, and the choices they make.

When people make choices you agree with, you call them good. When you disagree with people’s choices, you call them bad. But that doesn’t make it so.

You have no idea why a person chooses the way they choose. To each and every person, relative to their worldview, the things they do make perfect sense, no matter how irrational, illogical, or even evil they might seem to you.

If this sounds like I’m advocating letting people off the hook, or letting them do what they want with no consequence, or just giving them the benefit of the doubt, then please keep reading, because I’m not. Not at all.

But what I am saying is that since the reasons for why people choose what they choose are so unknowable, then spending your time thinking about them is largely a fruitless exercise. It would make far more sense to focus instead on something you can actually do something about – your choices.

There are seven billion minds on this planet – and that number is increasing every day – with each one constantly making new choices in its every waking moment. You have the privilege of being able to control exactly one of these minds. One of these choice-making apparati. Use it or lose it.

Rather than just bumbling along, make a concerted effort to choose the things you consider to be the right things. What if I’m wrong? You will be. Constantly. But so what? You’ll be less wrong than if you just left it to chance.

I lied earlier, by the way. There are good people and there are bad people. You can’t see them from the outside. The good people are the people who consciously choose what they believe to be right. The bad people are the people too cowardly to ever choose one way or the other.

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