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May 8, 2012 / paulio10

Reward the Good

There needs to be a commonly accepted reward system for the Good Work that people in our society do on a regular basis.  Doing good needs to be encouraged today – to help people to do the right things around them, to really help people when they need help, despite all the reasons to not help.  Helping other people shouldn’t be a secret – it needs to be loudly recognized and encouraged!  If only there was some kind of reward system – that would encourage the largest majority of people to start doing good, and really feel good about the service they do for the people around them.

There’s a difference between the average person and Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa did her work because she was self-driven, something inside her drove her to do her work.  She did not get paid for it.  Because of that work, so many people – the poorest of the poor – had better health and a better life, and they go to see that there is somebody in the world who loves them after all.  And we, in the richer countries and cities, could see Mother Teresa helping the poor, and were inspired by it; at least, it makes me feel good to think about it.  The affect and benefit of this one woman to humanity and society was tremendous.  But then we go back to our regular lives, our regular jobs, and we don’t get 1 foot closer to helping Humanity the way she did.  At all.

So I ask you, how can we encourage this kind of behavior?  How can we do more to help other people ourselves, in a way that’s compatible with modern life today – without disrupting our whole life?  There is no huge benefit to an individual to help other people today.  Many people feel it in their hearts; but very few act on it.  Those who act on it know it’s not “cool”, today, so they don’t talk about it much.  So it’s not encouraged to others like it should be.

There’s no reward system in our modern society to encourage this kind of thing.  It’s a kind of catch-22, really, in our society today – if it’s not cool, people hide it, so nobody knows about it, so it stays hidden, and stays not-cool, not the thing-to-do, not the way-to-live, today.

Well I have a solution:

Build a Points based Rewards system

You are rewarded points for good deeds you do, the amount of points depending on the benefit that good deed had on other people, or nature.  Picked up a piece of trash and threw it in a trash can?  That’s 1 point.  Spent 30 minutes helping someone whose car is stuck on the side of the road get it going again?  You just scored at least 30 points.  If there was a passenger, you helped 2 people not 1, so that’s double points.  Is a whole room full of children going to receive their lesson today, because their teacher is back on the road because of you?  Add 60 points then; maybe more.  It all depends on how much good was accomplished by the work you just performed.

Someone can write an app for smart-phones that lets you track your points easily.  It could record the GPS location where you were, it can take pictures of your work, and let you write words about what you did.  Maybe there will be categories, so the points calculation is easy to do (done for you).  You could then see how much Good you did this week, compared to last week or last month; sort of like how the various exercise apps work today.

The app should have a social element – your friends can see the good work you just did, and you can see what they’re up to as well!  How encouraging will it feel to go out and do something awesome for someone, and your friends compliment you for it?  It will drive them to do something awesome for someone else, wherever they are, and whatever skills they have available to them.

Did you just pick up 3 bag-fulls of trash alongside the road, or around your neighborhood?  It took 25 minutes of your time, but the place looks beautiful now.  Take a picture (before and after), enter your Good Deed into your phone, post the pics, and grab the points!

The next generation of the app could allow groups with names – you and your friends can work together, pool your points and compete against other groups.  Who raised the most service-points this month?  Maybe you get more points for being part of a group, for performing a service activity in a group.  Maybe interface with FourSquare to “check in” to a service event with your friends.  Auto-tweet about how many points you gained each week/month.

There needs to be a web-based app as well, so if you don’t have a smart phone you can still enter your points.  Or, maybe you want to type a lot of text for the description, or enter a whole bunch of entries you wrote down on paper over the last week – helps to have a PC/Mac with a full keyboard to do that.  What features should the web site have that’s not on the cell phone app?  Bigger screen makes it easier to review your service history / friends list / groups list.

Recycling – extra points if you recycle the plastic / glass / aluminum,  or not?  You can get cash for the aluminum if you want it.  Maybe a registry to help you find people near you who collect aluminum, you can drop it off at their house?  If you’re not going to get the money for it, might as well be someone who uses the same Social Good app that you do.

Bottom Line

If you never do good service for others, you are missing out on a certain type of joy.  It’s a special feeling when you do good work without expecting anything in return.  How can you know that if you’ve never tried it? And if you start posting your service items and points, your friends are gonna want to try it too. You just made it cool.

You don’t have to put your whole life on hold and move to Zimbabwe, just to do good in this world.  You can do a whole lot wherever you are today, with the schedule you have today, with a little creative thinking you’ll find it. I know this about myself – I can’t fix cars; I won’t be that guy.  But some people are like that.  I’m the guy picking up trash for no reason by the side of the road as you zoom by wondering what the hell THAT guy is up to?

With a point system like this, with a huge number of people lifting their heads and looking around for something good to do wherever they find themselves, only then will we improve our society in ways that are not possible today – in the greatest ways you can’t even imagine.

Why not?

Q & A

Question: if I got extra points for the kids that teacher taught later that day, because I fixed the car, shouldn’t I get some points also for the extra IQ for each student? For the higher scores they got on their exams this year? Shouldn’t I get a couple points for that 1 kid who was going to fail school, but because of the teacher being there 1 extra day, the kid got just enough points to pass, graduate, and get a job they couldn’t have otherwise gotten, as their first job?  And shouldn’t I get a few points because their lives be a little better, over the next 50 years, I mean a little tiny bit (times 30 students), because of me?  Maybe one of them was able to get married because of that difference (rather than living alone the rest of their life); and their children grew up to be amazing and powerful and helpful? Maybe even the leader of the country? Shouldn’t I technically get points for that somehow? Even as fractional points, that would add up to something big, wouldn’t it? Maybe a LOT of points?  Maybe close to infinity?

Answer:  Now you’re beginning to understand.

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