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Don't be Evil

Matt Morgan • Oct 24, 2013 at 3:00 PM

...We believe...we will be better served-as...a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains...

These are famous words Google offered in their 2004 Founder's IPO Letter. The reason for them isn't just because a bunch of nerds who like sci-fi and fantasy see the world as good-and-evil/heroes-vs.-villains, but rather, because many everyday people see those clashes happening in real life. We see those clashes in politics. We see them in rallies against corporations. They are evident in religious zealotry both domestic  and abroad. But, against all of those, Google wanted to make a difference by being different and letting us know that is how it is going to be.


So too can you.


As much as I am a Google fanboy, the introduction was to set the stage and clear a path for the message of the week: Perpetuate the good, not the evil. I have been tremendously fortunate by my career to have been able to be around so many different people from all walks of life. Especially given my relative youth and business experience, that exposure has helped me to quickly learn about who and what is out there both good and bad. While not a father myself, I have many kids (and even grandkids, as it were) already. It isn't in my job description specifically, but I have taken on the role of mentor many times.


With having a Bachelor's in B.A., what do you say to someone who pulls you to the side in confidence and tells you that his/her family member attempted suicide recently? Without being in the same circumstance in life, what do you do when your best customer was caught stealing out of desperation of personal or familial duress? When your friendship with someone is violated by their actions - intentional or not - how can it ever be repaired or turned around so that person finds the help they need?


You have to listen. You have to search for answers. Be observant, and help them find the professionals and services they may need for the long term while trying to give them a bit of stability in the short term - even at some expense.


For many in this world and even locally here in Erie County, they are under the subjugation of evil in some form or another. If you can, mentor them. Teach them. Tell them a story and share your experiences. Provoke thought and ask/answer questions as best you can and where appropriate. The difference you can make in someone's life can be astounding, even if the results aren't immediate. In some cases, too, demand or guide civility where you are. Cease the casual swearing, remind yourself to say "thank you" more often, or find a pressure release to use before you blow up and have a severely negative impact on yourself or others with your words or actions.


When it comes to mentoring youth, I assure you it has an impact. Especially if you are not "obligated" to do such a thing with them as a parent, councilor, or teacher. Not that those aren't vital roles, but rather, it is often when a message is heard by someone who doesn't have to deliver it that it can get through. You may very well be able to help teach your neighbor's kids how to be better people. How to help a downtrodden youth learn to run a business. Or, instill tales of dedication by recounting stories of being in an armed service branch.


No matter who or how, that expectation should be set from the beginning. Even if it is a new one for a new start for yourself. While none of us are perfect, we are not born evil nor filled with hatred.


How are ways you can help improve yourself or the lives of others around you?


*Mindfulness Bell - The Mindfulness Bell rings periodically during the day, to give you the opportunity to hold on for a moment and consider what you are currently doing, and in what state of mind you are while you are doing it. According to the Zen Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, this is an effective means of developing mindfulness.


*Some kind of daily thought that improves your mind or entertains it - Word of the Day, Imperial Thought of the Day, or just some cute cat pictures work.


*Boys & Girls Club of Erie County - The mission of the Boys and Girls Club of Erie County is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.


*Become a foster parent - The mission of Erie County Children Services Unit is to serve as a first responder to reported allegations of child abuse & neglect, to investigate such reports in a timely manner and to provide appropriate protective services to children who are found to be abused and neglected in accordance with legal mandates.


*Junior Achievement - To inspire and prepare young people to embrace free enterprise and succeed in a global economy.  JA will build generations of young people who are financially literate, work ready, entrepreneurial, and believe in the power of their own potential.


*Or, to help put events of your life in better perspective there is always the First World Problems Jar - It's not easy living in a first world country. Every day, we deal with problems that starving children in third world countries couldn't begin to understand. Like when you can't fit leftovers in the fridge because you have too much food. Or when there's nothing to drink at home, except a virtually unlimited supply of clean, fresh drinking water. First World Problem Jar is designed to function as a "swear jar" for first world problems. It enables the user to easily donate $1 to help starving children, and then opens an environment to create and share your own First World Problem meme with friends.

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