“Not only must we be good, but we must also be good for something.”

Henry David Thoreau

Consider a tree. The tree is good, in and of itself. It provides shade, it’s a home for birds, a beacon of nature’s beauty. But it’s also good for something. It cleanses the air, it provides oxygen. Its existence is not self-serving. It contributes, it adds, it elevates the world around it.

Now, let’s apply this analogy to us, to humans. Being good, being kind, being compassionate — these are virtues we strive for. We aspire to be good, just like that tree. But being good in itself is just part of the equation.

The real question is: what are we good for? What do we contribute? What positive ripples are we sending out into the world? Because, just like the tree, our purpose is not just to be. Our purpose is to be for something, to serve, to make a difference.

The real measure of our goodness lies not just in our actions, but in their impact. It’s not just about being good, it’s about being good for something.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.