Are You a Good Person?


Are You a Good Person?

Those who do good because they
want to be seen as good are not good.
Lao Tzu

Are you a good person? When you get right down to it, this is the most important question in life. If you are not a good person, it does not matter how many degrees you have, it does not matter how great your martial arts skills are, it does not matter how much money you make. In the end, the bottom line is, are you a good person.

What is a good person? A good person is someone who helps others, who goes out of his way to do nice things for others, who shares both his life and resources with those around him. A good person tries his best to protect those who he can protect. He tries to be positive and encourage others who are having a hard time. Without helping others, it really is impossible to be a completely good person.

The task of a good man is to help those in misfortune.

You may argue that a monk who isolates himself in the wilderness is a really good person. He doesn’t wrong others, focuses on strengthening his spirit, prays, and in general, does harm to none. But is this really being a good person? Sure the isolated monk is not harming anyone, is focused on improving himself spiritually, and is devoted to developing a relationship with the Creator, but is this enough to be considered a really good person? If you look at the monk’s action from another point of view, he could be considered very selfish and narcissistic.

None of the sages, prophets, or great teachers live a life of isolation. Oh, they may have spent periods of time in isolation, as should we all, but their main focus was on helping and enlightening others, not simply improving themselves. This is an important consideration for the true warrior. While it is true that the true warrior is focused on self-improvement and making his life a life of excellence, it should not be focused on merely selfish ends.

Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can,
to all the souls you can, in every place you can,
at all the times you can, with all the zeal you can,
every time you can.

John Wesley

If the warrior is not truly a good person inside, he is merely another narcissistic, ego driven person who is doing all that he is doing simply to make himself feel better about who he is. Without service to others, he is not a true warrior. Being a good person is truly the cornerstone of being a true warrior. If you aren’t a good person, nothing else really matters when you get right down to it; you are simply another self-centered person who has martial arts as a hobby instead of knitting or woodworking.

Don’t get so caught up in your work, your training, your meditation, or anything else, that you neglect to do what you can to make other people’s lives better. You may think that you can’t really do anything to help others because you are barely scraping by yourself. After all, how can you help anyone else if you can’t even help yourself? While it is true that you can’t share what you don’t have, it is also true that we all have enough to make someone else’s life a little better.

Kind words do not cost much;
yet they accomplish much.
Blaise Pascal

One kind word warms three winter months.
Japanese Proverb

It cost nothing to give someone a compliment or give someone a warm smile. It cost nothing to help an elderly lady with her bags. It cost nothing to listen to someone who needs someone to vent to or a shoulder to cry on. I go for early morning walks, and one of my neighbors is in her 90’s. During my walk, I take just a few seconds to take her newspaper from the street and put it at her doorstep. Mind you, this is a small act, but it does enable her to get her newspaper without having to walk down 5-6 steps and out to the street. She has no idea of who is doing this, and that doesn’t matter. It is just a simple thing that is nice to do.

You may think that this is really not “helping” her or that it is just me trying to make myself feel good, and that there is really no good coming from this act, but you never know. This simple act may prevent her from falling one morning. The smallest acts of kindness can have ripples that you could never imagine. You simply don’t know what all of the consequences of your actions may be, both the bad actions and the good actions. Don’t be concerned with the consequences or getting recognition; just do your best to help make others’ lives better as you go through your day.

Real generosity is doing something nice
for someone who’ll never find out.
Frank A. Clark

Do not avoid doing small favors,
for you will seem like one who does great ones.

There may in fact be no consequences to the example that I gave you about my neighbor’s newspapers besides making it easier for her to get her morning paper, but that is enough. But then again, who knows; the law of karma is always at work. Maybe when I am an old man, my daily newspapers may mysteriously appear at my front door step instead of under my car, in the middle of my flowers, or out in the street (the usual places for me to pick up my papers). The bottom line is, you should do acts such as this simply because it is the nice thing to do.

A warrior who only thinks of himself is not a true warrior, I don’t care how skilled he may be in the martial arts. Being a truly good person is the basis for being a true warrior. I will not let another day go by that I don’t do something nice for as many people as I can. Life is too short and too hard; do what you can to make the lives of those who cross your path just a little better, even if all you can do is give them a smile and treat them with respect.

Every person is responsible for all
the good within the scope of his abilities.
Gail Hamilton

Are you a good person?

What have you done for someone else today?

The greatest tragedy is indifference.
Red Cross Slogan

Warrior Wisdom
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