Thinking today about “doing good” it strikes me there is little financial gain on offer to businesses to do inherent good without some kind of quid pro quo; and I’m reflecting on an old tweet from a usability and user experience chap:
Small Goods sounds like a bin at the Recycling Centre
The act of doing good is a human behaviour. Companies (in the UK particularly) are formed in such a way as to be separate legal entities from the people who own them and run them. Asking a company to be good is akin to asking its favourite colour or pop band.
In any company with a reputation for community engagement and involvement they may have a CSR policy in place, but you can guarantee it’s led by people who care about doing good.
Good people, then, are the key. And doing good away from the company’s capability and interests becomes a “side hustle” for those who undertake it.
Side hustle may be a definition that rings true for business, but it’s not a human thing. Our side hustles are what in a golden time we might have called our hobbies, pastimes, interests and personal lives. Only in a world where you can make money from the things you love to do anyway can it be described as a hustle.
I like side hustles, but I also like art for its own sake, activity for the benefit of the person, and good for its own good.
If it’s not a hustle, is it less cool?
Suddenly doing good is the symptom of being good. To be a person others see as good, you have to be caught doing good. Reputation is everything in a world where you make your living from it. In every other sense it’s less dominant. You can do good despite the risks, despite the advice of others, despite the prevailing wisdom… and still be good for doing it.
This isn’t hustling. It’s settling a bill for a coffee because you want to, rather than splitting the bill evenly in half. It’s ordering the drinks because you’re not sure whose round it is but it no longer matters. It’s connecting people who will benefit from each other but can’t pay you back in kind because you are not in their line of work or sphere of influence.
And in conclusion
Do good. Be good. Don’t wait until good can be quid pro quo for others or part-subsidised by faceless funders. A long time ago, the bulbs you planted in the garden were hard and dry and showed no life. Now you see the blooms resulting from your investment. Do good because it breathes beauty into the twilight greys and right now the more colourful our universe the better for all.