Laughter would be bereaved if snobbery died.

~ Peter Ustinov ~

Leaving Good Behind You

October 3rd, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 42 secs

What are you leaving behind?

Let me ask you, how good is the trail you’re leaving?

Plenty of people believe in destiny, karma, kismet, or God purposing events. Yet, it’s remarkable how few choose to leave a good trail behind them. As if it’s okay for situations to fit around them, yet irrelevant how much they contribute to others.

Goethe, the notable German thinker who wrote with such subtlety once remarked, “God gives us the nuts. Now we must crack them.” It’s a blunt and rather funny message. But he had a point. What we do matters, and when we do good to others we leave what I call a virtuous trail.

I know, it’s easy to make excuses, blaming circumstances and others for all the mess we leave behind us. But deliberately seeking to leave a wake of good changes that pattern completely. Suddenly, it’s not acceptable to brown people off and walk away. Likewise, getting away with questionable behavior is nowhere near as tempting because of the wake of deception and guilt it creates.

Much of this comes back to something incredibly traditional called respectability. Although modern thinking considers it another term for prudishness, respectability was and still is largely concerned with dignity, honor, and good character.

Whether the world cares about respectability or not, I prefer to leave a good trail behind me. Approval and recognition are secondary. It’s just the best way to live. Plus, it makes sense. When you leave good behind you in whatever you do, the lives of others are enriched, and you make your own life count in enduring ways.

The power of treating others well, doing your best, and being as good as your word aren’t likely to change the world. But they will influence those who know you. To do good and live with principles in business and your social life builds integrity. People gradually come to know you through what you do and learn to trust you. So, far from being naïve and idealistic, leaving a good trail behind you makes practical sense.

Still, if the past behind you looks rather messy, don’t worry. Start fresh today. From here on in, concentrate on doing what impresses you. Show your self the good you do and, over time, you will be feeding you self-respect, and making a positive contribution right where you live. You can do it.

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