Motivational Monday: How To Be a “Good” Person


Jaden Cottorone , Online and Social Media Editor

Disclaimer: this piece contains spoilers for NBC’s “The Good Place”


This weekend, I binged “The Good Place”, a show that explores the afterlife in a non-traditional and non-denominational fashion. Rather than referring to the different realms of the afterlife as heaven, hell, or reincarnation, the show calls them ‘the bad place,’ and ‘the good place.’

At the end of season 3, the characters realize that not a soul has gotten into the good place in over 500 years. They conclude that this is because being an objectively ‘good’ person in our modern world is nearly impossible. See, in this system, humans must gain a certain amount of ‘good’ points during their life on earth. These points are not only based upon each decision and action one makes, but also the consequences that come as a result. For example, you could gain points for volunteering, but lose points if your only motivation to do so was to get something out of it in return. Or maybe, you could earn points for telling someone the truth, but lose them if that truth hurts them. 

Let’s face it. Life on earth is complicated. Every innovation, every exchange of ideas, and every connection we make blurs the lines between our actions and the consequences we have. 

To reference the show, buying roses for someone may be considered virtuous. But, what we don’t consider when we make that simple purchase is the under-payed workers who picked them, the number of harmful resources it took to ship them, and the corrupt corporate billionaire who pocketed the money. 

So, what can we do? All grow our own roses and pick them ourselves? I mean, sure, but what do we do when it comes to larger problems? There are things in this world that are simply out of our control. 

We all strive to be better, and that’s good. That’s what we should do, regardless of our beliefs in the afterlife. However, we cannot plague ourselves with the task of being the perfect human, as it is unattainable. Our actions have consequences, but a lot of those are out of our control, so we don’t have to sacrifice our well-being for the sake of being flawless. 

Here’s my goal: be kind, try my best, and care within my capacity. Instead of focusing on things I cannot control, I’ll focus on making the world a better place within my circles of belonging. My suggestion: find something that makes you feel like a ‘good’ person, and believe that you are. Do what you can, and find pride in that. That’s all we can do.