Goodness consists not in the outward things
we do, but in the inward thing we are.
To be good is the great thing.

Edwin Hubbell Chapin


Because the divine goodness could not be adequately represented by one creature alone, God produced many and diverse creatures, that what was wanting in one in the representation of the divine goodness might be supplied by another.  For goodness, which in God is simple and uniform, in creatures is manifold and divided.  Thus the whole universe together participates in the divine goodness more perfectly and represents it better than any single creature.

St. Thomas Aquinas


In goodness there are all kinds of wisdom.



Good will is a power that can be used every day of the year and every hour of the day.  It is instantly available.  By continuously practicing good will we cultivate a deep subconscious habit of good will.  It becomes a pattern of our response in all situations.  Good will works as silently as the sun and with as much power.  It thaws the ice and snow of resistance and indifference.  It warms and wins human hearts.  It draws forth the best in others as flowers are drawn from the soil.  It stimulates growth.

Wilferd A. Peterson

There is indeed a certain sense of gratification when we do a good deed that gives us inward satisfaction, and a generous pride that accompanies a good conscience.  A resolutely wicked soul may perhaps arm itself with some assurance, but it cannot provide itself with this contentment and satisfaction. . . . These testimonies of a good conscience are pleasant; and such a natural pleasure is very beneficial to us; it is the only payment that can never fail.

Michel de Montaigne

I live for those who love me, for those who know me true;
For the heaven that smiles above me, and awaits my spirit too.
For the cause that lacks assistance, for the wrong that needs resistance,
For the future in the distance, and the good that I can do.

G.L. Banks


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Goodness is the only investment that never fails.

Henry David Thoreau


Doing nothing for others is the undoing of one's
self.  We must be purposely kind and generous, or we
miss the best part of existence.  The heart that
goes out of itself gets large and full of joy.
This is the great secret of the inner life.  We do
ourselves the most good doing something for others.

Horace Mann


Give in to goodness now and then.  I don't mean masochistic self-sacrifice.
I mean the deliberate performance of an act that has ethical value:  helping
someone in need, righting a wrong, forgiving an enemy.  For best results,
the act should be one that can't possibly benefit you. . . . if we give in to
goodness once in a while, we gain strength.  If we consistently refuse, we're
at cross-purposes with everything, including our deepest nature.  People not
only have the capacity for ethical behavior, they have a built-in need for it.
If you give in to goodness reasonably often, you won't have
to seek self-renewal.  It will come to you.

anonymous, quoted by Arthur Gordon

Nothing is rarer than real goodness.

La Rochefoucauld

Nature does not bestow virtue; to be good is an art.



You'll always have to deal with bastards, being lied to,
deceived, slandered and ridiculed, but that's to be expected
and you must thank heaven when you meet the exception.

Gustave Flaubert



What can one say about goodness? It's tempting to say that it's a dying character trait, that the world is suffering from a dearth of goodness these days, but I don't believe that for a second. We're so overwhelmed with the horrible things that the people involved in the news media consider to be news that we tend to forget just how much goodness is out there. Charles Kuralt said that the kindness found on the back roads more than makes up for the terrible things found in the headlines. My personal theory is that fewer than one percent of the population (politicians, criminals, entertainers, athletes) make up over 95% of the news we read. Perhaps the percentage is even higher, but I haven't had time to do the necessary research.

The world is full of wonderful people--not just good--and if we're to keep our minds focused on the beauty and the good, we have to choose to do so. We have to choose what we're going to read, which movies we're going to see, which TV shows to watch, which people we're going to talk to. Focus on good things for a week, and see the effect of doing so on your own perspective--you'll be amazed at just how much good you see when you're looking for it! Perhaps you'll see enough to make you want to continue looking for it even after the week is over.

And while you're looking for goodness, you might want to spend some time spreading it, too.  It's free, and it's pretty easy.  A compliment here, a bit of encouragement there, a good deed for this person, a little favor for that one, and you'll be amazed at the effect you have on others.  The world would be a great place if everyone were focused on spreading goodness, and the spreading has to start somewhere--let's start it with us!

tom walsh


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The smallest good deed is better than the grandest good intention.



Until they extend the circle of their compassion to all living things,
people will not themselves find peace.

Albert Schweitzer


The work of an unknown good person is like a vein of water
flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground greener.

Thomas Carlyle


The answer to helplessness is not so very complicated.  A person can
do something for peace without having to jump into politics.  Each
person has inside a basic decency and goodness.  If we listen to it and
act on it, we are giving a great deal of what the world needs most.  It
is not complicated but it takes courage.  It takes courage for a person
to listen to his or her own goodness and act on it.  Do we dare to
be ourselves?  This is the question that counts.

Pau Casals


Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances
to do good; try to use ordinary situations.

Jean Paul Richter


Like a lovely flower, full of color but lacking in fragrance, are the words
of those who do not practice what they preach.  Like a lovely flower full
of color and fragrance are the words of those who practice what they
preach.  The scent of flowers or sandalwood cannot travel against the wind;
but the fragrance of good spreads everywhere.  Neither sandalwood nor the
tagara flower, neither lotus nor jasmine, can come near the fragrance of the good.

from the Dhammapada



Dedication to goodness--dedication in response to an inner moral
mandate rather than external restraint--was both the antidote
to the pain and the source of great happiness.

Sylvia Boorstein


Goodness has to come from the heart; that's one thing I know
for sure.  I also know for sure that not everything that comes
from my heart is goodness, and that's something I'm working on.
Goodness has to be pure in intention, and I know that my good
acts aren't always intended solely for the good of the recipients.
I'm working on that, too.  When I truly do good, there's a very
good chance that no one ever will notice it, and I'll never be
recognized as someone who has done something good.  When I
can live with that and be at peace with it, I know that I'll have
reached a very high level of living.

tom walsh


In his collection of Bengali poems, Gitanjali, Rabindranath Tagore writes that
the song he wanted to sing has never happened because he spent his days
"stringing and unstringing" his instrument.  Whenever I read these lines
a certain sadness enters my soul. . . . I get so preoccupied with the details
and pressure of my schedule, with the hurry and worry of life, that I miss
the song of goodness which is waiting to be sung through me.

Joyce Rupp


When you have done a good deed that another has had
the benefit of, why do you need a third reward--as
fools do--praise for having done well or
looking for a favor in return.

Marcus Aurelius


In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.

Anne Frank



Salvation is seeing that the universe is good, and becoming a part of that goodness.

Arthur G. Clutton-Brock


Things that are good are good, and if one is responding to that goodness
one is in contact with a truth from which one is getting something. . . . The
truth of the sunshine, the truth of the rain, the truth of the fresh air, the truth
of the wind in the trees. . . and if we allow ourselves to be benefited by the
forms of truth that are readily accessible to us instead of rejecting them as
"merely natural," we will be in a better position to profit by higher forms
of truth when they come our way.

Thomas Merton


Not to call a thing good a day longer or a day earlier than it seems
good to us is the only way to remain really happy.

Friedrich Nietzsche


I find good people good
And I find bad people good
If I am good enough.



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Water indeed will flow indifferently to the east or west, but will it flow
indifferently up or down?  The tendency of our nature to good is like the
tendency of water to flow downwards.  There are none but have this
tendency to good, just as all water flows downward.



The best people are like water.  Water is good; it benefits all things and
does not compete with them.  It dwells in lowly places that all disdain.
That is why it is so near to Tao.




Imagine how differently American business would function were our faith
in the power of goodness to replace our faith in the power of money.  Huge
industries would no longer make billions of dollars on activities that diminish
the well-being and safety of our children, our health, and our environment,
on the pretext that it's "just business."  To put money before goodness is
idolatry, and the laws of the universe ensure that in the end all idols will fall.

Marianne Williamson


Goodness cannot adopt the form of blind passion, even in the act
of defense and offense, and even when it refuses to tolerate evil.

Bernadetto Croce

The argument has long been made that we humans are by nature compassionate and empathic despite the occasional streak of meanness, but torrents of bad news throughout history have contradicted that claim, and little sound science has backed it. But try this thought experiment. Imagine the number of opportunities people around the world today might have to commit an antisocial act, from rape or murder to simple rudeness and dishonesty. Make that number the bottom of a fraction. Now for the top value you put the number of such antisocial acts that will actually occur today.

That ratio of potential to enacted meanness holds at close to zero any day of the year. And if for the top value you put the number of benevolent acts performed in a given day, the ratio of kindness to cruelty will always be positive. (The news, however, comes to us as though that ratio was reversed.)

Harvard's Jerome Kagan proposes this mental exercise to make a simple point about human nature: the sum total of goodness vastly outweighs that of meanness. 'Although humans inherit a biological bias that permits them to feel anger, jealousy, selfishness and envy, and to be rude, aggressive or violent,' Kagan notes, 'they inherit an even stronger biological bias for kindness, compassion, cooperation, love and nurture especially toward those in need.' This inbuilt ethical sense, he adds, 'is a biological feature of our species.

Daniel Goleman
Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships


I did and still do find a serious error in the emphasis of spiritual masters
and hagiographers of all faiths on self-denial and austerity as an end
in itself, instead of a means.  L'art pour l'art.  We must do the good
because it is good, not because it is difficult.

Ada Bathune

This is a moral universe, which means that despite all the evidence
that seems to be to the contrary, there is no way that evil and
injustice and oppression and lies can have the last word. . . that
is what has upheld the morale of our people,
to know that in the end good will prevail.

Desmond Tutu


It is a grand mistake to think of being great without goodness;
and I pronounce it as certain that there was never yet a truly
great person who was not at the same time truly virtuous.

Benjamin Franklin
"The Busy-Body Papers"

Every good that you do, every good that you say, every good thought you
think, vibrates on and on and never ceases.  The evil remains only until
it is overcome by good, but the good remains forever.

Peace Pilgrim

If you see good in people, you radiate a harmonious loving energy which
uplifts those who are around you.  If you can maintain this habit,
this energy will turn into a steady flow of love.

Annamalai Swami


Let no person think lightly of good, saying in his or her heart, "it will not
benefit me."  As by the falling of raindrops a jar of water is filled, so the
wise person becomes full of good, even though he or she collects it little by little.

Gautama Buddha

Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out
of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed. . . .  Discover
in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption.  Ignore
the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart.

William Saroyan


Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.