Here are 5 characteristics of genuinely good humans. You may be surprised at what makes the list.
The first quality of a genuinely good human is objectivity. To be objective is to be external and unattached to your own experience of life, even if only for brief moments. Now that's no small task because we are subjective creatures by nature. We come to the world as sense-making creatures, we filter our experience through our senses, and then we attach a meaning based on our interpretation of events. Everything we experience is subjective. This means life is not happening out there, it's happening in here. We live out of a map of reality which means we don’t actually get to see the territory it represents.
Dr. Robert Keegan, chair of human behavior at Harvard says the subject/object switch is the thing that accelerates human growth more than anything else. Even though subjectivity is our natural state, we also have the capacity to think about our thinking, to get outside of our own map and observe, analyze, and improve it. Keegan says that every moment spent switching our viewpoint to being outside our own experience, looking back in, is time well spent. It always gives us more awareness and choice.
Despite how difficult it is, the idea of being objective is very central to being a good human because while ever you remain completely subjective, you'll be convinced that your version of life is the only version, and that is 100% real.
Practicing objectivity helps you understand that all we have is story. It gives you the self-awareness required to take your own story less seriously and you understand that you're probably wrong about most things you think! It is this characteristic which allows you to be humbler about your own truth and more respectful of what others see as truth.
Objectivity genuinely softens you as a human being and it makes you much more pleasant to be around. It also gives you so much more choice as to what you're going to do with your life and how you’ll improve the quality of your storytelling in a way that is genuinely good for you and those around you.
Personal security is the second quality of a genuinely good human. It is the result of deeply loving and accepting yourself for who you are. It’s to be certain that you are inherently good, worthy of love and confident of your capacity to create the experience of life you truly desire. If you are a secure human being, you show up with nothing to prove and nothing to defend, meaning you are now free to contribute out of the overflow of this internal certainty.
When you encounter a secure human being, you are also experiencing a loving human being. To be secure, requires a deep level of love and acceptance toward yourself. This internal love cannot help but radiate outwards. If a person knows how to love themselves, they cannot help but understand the nuance of how to have a loving relationship with others as well. Good human beings do not operate from an internal deficit. They are able to love and be loved.
Security is a central component to being a good human. To be secure means that you trust your own nature. You can relax in the knowledge that you already have everything you need within you, and that you can trust your natural ability to guide you through the challenges of life.
On the other hand, to be insecure is to have no confidence in your natural state. Worse than that, it is to fear that if you just show up as yourself, it will never be enough. Living from a place of unresolved insecurity means all your best energy is directed at proving and defending yourself, completely undermining your scope to contribute to others. You appear needy, arrogant, selfish, or self-consumed. These are certainly not qualities of genuinely good human beings.
The third quality of a genuinely good human is pragmatism. To be pragmatic is to rank and organize ideas in a hierarchy of what works best. Good humans are always wired this way. They are not governed by tradition, religion, ideology, other’s expectations, or judgments about right and wrong, good and bad. They are governed primarily by improving the quality of their beliefs, thoughts and behaviour so that they continue achieving better results.
This is an extraordinary trait to have, because that means they’re able to hold things tightly and loosely at the same time. If you are ambitious to do good and be secure in who you are and motivated to find out what works best; you are able to accept when someone shows you a better way. The moment this happens, they are able to jettison their former thinking and update to a new and improved approach.
Pragmatic people are always happy to accept wisdom when they find it, no matter what vessel is used to deliver the message. Additionally, they don't have to prove their way is better. Pragmatic people are open, receptive, humble and teachable. They are agile, flexible, and as such, can improve any area of their life with great speed.
Without this trait people show up closed and sure. They rigidly hang onto things that make no logical sense that cause them to be irrational and overly emotional. They tie their identity to their belief structure and become defensive and threatened when these philosophies are challenged.
The fourth quality of a genuinely good human is a strong sense of ambition. Ambitious people have connected with a compelling vision for their life which means they are always trying to do their best and improve themselves. As such, they are constantly motivating themselves towards something valuable, purposeful and meaningful. They have set their sight on something glorious and are willing to suffer in the pursuit of this end.
Genuinely good humans have not shut down the desires of their heart because of how difficult and problematic these desires may seem to those around them. To desire is human and they have remained honest about this fact despite the cost. Ambitious people know what they want. They trust that their most important desires are inherently good and therefore, have given themselves permission to go after the deepest desires of their heart. They have done the work sifting strange and immature impulses from their most honest goals and dreams so they can get to work bringing these dreams into existence and making the world a better place in the process. Ambitious people know exactly what they want and have given themselves full permission to go after these desires until they become reality.
Ambitious people solve important problems, they push through the boundaries of human limitation, they make the impossible possible, they create magic and wonder, and evolve the collective consciousness. Because they are also secure, they are not driven by selfish or egoic motives, only to maximise the gifts they’ve been given and to fully show up at their best where it matters most.
This strong sense of ambition tempered by the other characteristics of security, objectivity and pragmatism, definitely adds to the quality of human life and the ability to contribute meaningfully flows out of that. On the other hand, the ability to be a good human being is undermined if you've given up, settled with the status quo, are just surviving, half-arsing, or not doing your best.
The final quality of genuinely good humans is kindness. Not to be confused with being nice, pleasant or agreeable – kindness is to bring goodness to bear on the world around you.
Unresolved insecurity, a lack of self-awareness, tying your identity to ideological non-negotiables, giving up on your dreams, tolerating what you don’t want and always thinking you are right is never kind to those around you.
Good people have kind eyes, speak kind words and operate from a kind heart. They take care not to cause unnecessary harm to those around them and are motivated by seeing others doing well. More than that, they desire to do good because they can.
Trying to make the world a better place even when it is costly, hard, and motives are often misunderstood, is a genuinely kind gift to bring. Being secure allows them to come into the world with resources for others, being certain that they too can heal the wounds of their past – this is kind.
Wanting to be the best you can be and having the courage to pursue the deepest dreams of your heart is kind. Being unattached to your own map of reality and being able to empathise with other people’s position is genuinely kind. Telling the truth is kind. Being able to get over yourself long enough to listen to others is kind. It is this kind of kindness that increases the collective consciousness of the planet, and therefore, must be included in the qualities of genuinely good humans.
The wonderful thing about humans is that each of us are already inherently good as we are. The problem is that most people have not done the work to bring that goodness to the fore and are instead ruled and restricted by unresolved insecurity, unhealed woundedness and unchecked dysfunction.
Those who seek a truly fulfilling and meaningful existence must take responsibility for becoming a good human first. Being able to access higher realms of consciousness and spiritual life comes as a result of including and transcending your humanity. Spirituality is central to a rich life experience, but you cannot find this by rejecting or bypassing your humanity. It must be included. You have to work out how to be a good human before you can work on being spiritual. And that order is very important.
For the sake of the world and all its citizens we each have a moral responsibility to develop these 5 characteristics of genuinely good humans.