What (Good) Are You Doing?

Benjamin Franklin famously ended each of his days with one question,


“What good did I do today?”

It’s a great question to ponder for ourselves – a thoughtful, long-term, legacy question about the impact our lives are having on others.

But now, in 2021, when our days swirl together in a bland mix of Zoom calls, childcare issues, and let’s-just-order-out-again’s, we might have started to view the world in pure survival mode. We feel like we can’t possibly do one more thing today… so maybe we’ll try tomorrow. Or NEXT week. Or next month. Eh, maybe next year…


, What (Good) Are You Doing?

But did you know that helping others –  giving ourselves a sense of purpose and generosity through our actions – actually has a significant positive impact on our well-being?

Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at Wharton and author of “Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success” says there is a lot of evidence that one of the best anti-anxiety medications available is generosity.


“The great thing about showing up for other people is that it doesn’t have to cost a whole lot or anything at all, and it ends up being beneficial to the giver.”

There is even something known as a “helper’s high,” which is the idea that volunteering, donating money, or even just
thinking about these selfless acts releases feel-good brain chemicals and activates the part of the brain stimulated by pleasure.


, What (Good) Are You Doing?

And since we may be helping from afar during the pandemic, you’ll be glad to know that both in-person AND virtual helping have the same effect.


, What (Good) Are You Doing?

So here’s an idea. If your well being could use a boost, then give some time to a cause you care about. Call a friend or family member who is on your mind. Send a “just because” care package to someone who needs it.   

And then ask yourself a la Ben Franklin:


What good did I do today?”

These words belong in our evening reflections, because when we’re doing good, we’re focused on others. And that’s how we shape our legacy. 

Of course, we’re also doing some good for ourselves, since these acts will ultimately impact our own happiness and satisfaction, and influence how we spend our tomorrows. 

Doing more is overrated. Let’s focus instead on doing more good.






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