People have a hard time being good because they think what’s good is bad.
It’s bad to be alone
To go against the in-crowd
Not to be safe, or worse...
If nice guys finish last, good is bad.
But if nice guys finish first, good isn’t bad.
In Shakespeare’s comedies, all the loose ends work out for good. In the tragedies, all the loose ends work out for bad. We like comedy - satisfying hubris - far more than tragedy, because deep down we’re wired for nice guys to finish first. We believe people who act badly deserve bad.
So most people think it’s good to say bad things about people who act badly.
The problem is that when someone acts badly, we often forget that good isn’t bad. Imagine there are people in your office who act badly:
A secretary who is always taking personal calls.
That poor manager who acts like he’s made of steel and inside is paper thin.
The CEO who berates, and then hides behind her position, never making it right.
Your colleague may truly deserve bad.
Don’t worry. In every comedy justice arrives to create a happy ending. Why make it a tragedy?
If you decide that bad isn’t good, and good isn’t bad, try to stand against the status quo that says bad is good after bad. Double-standards may saturate your office culture and convince you that nice guys finish last, that taking a stand (even a secret one) seems bad because you will be alone.
But if good isn’t bad...nice folks like you finish first.