In Order to Do Well–You Need to Do Good

“The only remaining superpower is international public opinion,” Simon Anholt, Oxford graduate and independent policy advisor has helped more than 50 countries engage more productively with the rest of the world.

Being involved in training and shaping the thoughts of thousands of people worldwide, I was intrigued; so I watched Simon Anholt's TED talk and discovered that you and me--we do make a difference. The question is--do we want to be good?

Anholt developed the Good Country Index which measures what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away. "Using a wide range of data from the U.N. and other international organisations, we’ve given each country a balance-sheet to show at a glance whether it’s a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between.

Today as never before, we desperately need a world made of good countries....I've spent the last 15 years finding out what could be that self-interest that would encourage us, to start thinking a little more outwardly, to think in a bigger picture, and not always to look inwards. And this is where I discovered something quite important. In order to do well, you need to do good.

If you want to sell more products, if you want to get more investment, if you want to become more competitive, then you need to start behaving in a good way, because that's why people will respect you and do business with you, and therefore, the more you collaborate, the more competitive you become.

According to data, no country on Earth, per head of population, per dollar of GDP, contributes more to the world that we live in than Ireland. A good country has the attitude, culture and a people that care about the rest of the world and have the imagination and the courage to think outwards instead of only thinking selfishly.

So I want to ask you all a favor. I'm not asking a lot. It's something that you might find easy to do and you might even find enjoyable and even helpful to do, and that's simply to start using the word "good" in this context. When you think about your own country, when you think about other people's countries, when you think about companies, when you talk about the world that we live in today, start using that word good...not good, the opposite of bad, because that's an argument that never finishes. Good, the opposite of selfish, good being a country that thinks about all of us. 

Ultimately, that, I think, is what will make the change. That word, "good," and the discovery that's behind it has changed my life. I don't want to live in a rich country. I don't want to live in a fast-growing or competitive country. I want to live in a good country,and I so, so hope that you do too."

Sometimes we put the responsibility of being 'good' on other people; our co-workers, our bosses, and of course our government. But imagine if we all took the responsibility of being 'good' on our own shoulders. If we collaborated for the 'good' of the customer, if we looked at the bigger picture and how our teams actions will affect other departments. What if we woke up each morning and said, "today I will do 'good'. Today I will make a positive difference at work. Even if I can't muster up a smile, I will at least nod and acknowledge my co-workers in a pleasant way. Today I know I make a difference to everyone I meet, and I will be sure to make it a 'good' difference.

Val Gee Smiling at Base Camp Mount Everest

Val Gee Smiling at Base Camp Mount Everest