“It is far from easy to be a good man. In fact, as one gets older, it becomes more and more difficult to know what a good man is. Yet it also becomes increasingly important to at least try.”

Rudolph Wegener
(Man in the High Castle: “A Way Out”, Season 1, Episode 10.)

Have you ever considered the colossal difference between believing in something and actually doing it? It’s like owning a map of a lush and expansive forest without ever taking a single step into its mesmerizing wilderness. You know it’s there. You can trace your fingers along its snaking paths, its deep valleys, its towering peaks. But that is not the same as feeling the earth under your feet, smelling the rich aroma of the woods, or hearing the orchestra of wildlife echoing around you.

For many of us, the concept of goodness is our true north. It’s that metaphorical map of the forest we cherish, protect, and gaze at from the comfort of our homes. It’s an ideal we hold dear, a compass guiding our beliefs. It directs us through life’s twisting, turning journey—across the treacherous terrain of moral and ethical dilemmas, under the shadows of our failings, and over the glorious mountains of our triumphs. It offers us a path, a direction, a belief in something more profound, more noble, more… good.

However, believing in goodness is not the same as actually walking the path, feeling the brambles scratch at your ankles, or the sun warm your skin. The real beauty of this journey is not merely in believing in the idea of doing good, or doing what’s right—but in actually taking action. It’s about rolling up our sleeves, stepping into the wild unknown, and embracing the uncertainty of the journey itself.

Why? Because the worth of our journey is not in the certainty of our beliefs or our conviction that we are doing right. That’s the easy part. That’s like tracing the path on the map with your finger. The real value is in the sweat, the grime, the tears—it’s in the sincerity of the attempt, the true act of doing good, doing what’s right, regardless of the difficulty, the risk, or the potential for failure.

Consider this: Imagine you are a sculptor with a block of marble in front of you. You believe in the masterpiece that lies within that stone. You can see it, feel it, almost touch it. But unless you pick up your chisel and hammer, unless you chip away at that raw, unrefined stone, the masterpiece remains but a figment of your imagination. Similarly, it’s the act of doing good, the very act of chipping away at the stone of injustice, of apathy, of selfishness, that reveals the masterpiece of our humanity.

Goodness as a belief is a wonderful thing. It’s an ideal, a guiding star, a compass to navigate the sprawling wilderness of life. But it’s in the doing, the relentless pursuit, the rolling up of sleeves, and diving into the thick of things, where the real treasure lies.

So, while it’s easy to look at our map and believe in goodness—remember—it’s only by stepping forward and embracing the journey that we can ever hope to reach it.

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.