Key Takeaway: I invite you to contemplate on choosing the better option over the good option in everything you do. Knowing that one can live better should be reason enough to reflect on this. Furthermore, God left no stone unturned in sending His only Son to die for our sins so that we may be saved; in return, we, too, owe it to Him to consider Better Over Good.
“Doing Good is Not Good Enough.”
That was the theme for the 2nd Philippine Conference on Research in CSR, by the Benita & Catalino Yap Foundation’s CSR Research Institute, and the University of Santo Tomas, held in September 2012 at the latter’s Graduate School campus.
The preceding year, the Conference’s first iteration, through its keynote speaker, Dr. Wayne Visser, Ph.D., provided that traditional Corporate Social Responsibility in Europe and America had failed to achieve their objectives due to their natures. As such, a new organizational framework called CSR 2.0 was proposed where CSR should be in its raison d’être. This was mirrored in and expounded on in the next Conference’s theme, hence, doing good not being good enough.
But this theme can – and does (thanks to BCYF), and should – apply to personal living as well. Especially in a fast-paced world that supposedly gives us less time to do things, we like to think of them as black or white – one or the other. I beg to differ. Supposing black represents goodness. I firmly believe that there is a blacker choice, and to figure out how to live out the “blacker” option in one’s own way is the point of this site. There is a “better” option than a “good” option.
Hark back to my post about plastic straws. Using plastic straws is not illegal, as there are no laws condemning its usage. Furthermore, using a straw for acidic drinks helps reduce acid-related damage to your teeth. And, you actually support the business/es engaged in the sourcing, creation, and distribution of said straw. So it is, in itself, good.
But, knowing the bigger picture, you’d be compelled to think differently. The plastic the straw is made of is actually toxic for us. Furthermore, the world seems to have a big problem with plastic waste disposal, plastic straws included. And there are healthier and more sustainable alternatives, such as glass or stainless steel straws. Lastly, a business wishing to incorporate CSR principles into its lifeblood may think twice about having a potentially harmful and environmentally-unfriendly product as its thing, and consider more sustainable and responsible alternatives instead.
So, choosing a glass or stainless steel straw is the “better” option.
Here’s another example. Supposing you’re a parent of a family and you run your own business (or work for one), which is able to give your children stable and comfortable lives. You devote your time to the business more than what’s expected as you want it to be able to feed your children. This is also good, and I pray that I be able to arrive at the same situation myself, family or no family. But you may actually be paying an opportunity cost by compromising the long-term development, namely your children’s interpersonal welfare with their loved ones, most especially you. They’d prefer loving relationships with their parents over rich but lonely lives. They’d rather you spend a little more time with them than earn a little more income.
So there’s obviously a “better” option.
Full Christian living, in the sense that we are invited, encouraged, and commanded to live according to God’s eternal purposes, is the highest example of living Better Over Good. It is good to live according to the law and having good relationships with your family and friends as well as at work, with a healthy balance. But there exists a higher calling to us: to actually consciously devote our lives to God by reordering our priorities in His favor. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren is one wonderful way to illustrate this, by preaching a fivefold mission of glorifying God, loving others, becoming Christlike, serving others, and advocating the Good News.
In the Gospel story of the rich young man (Mk. 10:17-31), who faithfully observed the Commandments, Jesus “loved” him and invited him to go one step further by selling his possessions and following Him. The man did not really live a totally sinful life, as he observed the laws that the Father had laid out for Moses. In itself, this is good. But Christ invited him to live a better life, with the promise of eternal life in heaven.
Living Better Over Good implies we do more than what is expected of us, that we give it our all, or even beyond our all. And why shouldn’t we? We were gifted many skills and abilities. To not use them to their full capabilities would be to put them to waste and be an insult to the One who gave us those gifts.
Consider the Chinese expressions「還可以」(hái kěyǐ) and「不錯」(búcuò). The former literally means “[it] still can [be]”, while the latter literally means “not wrong” (or “not bad”). They are used to say that something is good but could be better. What if we think of the former as “It can still be better“? It connotes that while in itself all right, there is an element of excellence that is still wanting. The latter, on the other hand, uses a double negative. Why not elicit instead a double positive – turn something not bad into one very good?
We often talk about average or ordinary citizens living average or ordinary lives. That’s good in itself, since they’re not criminals in prison. But why settle for that when you can be extraordinary? When you can maximize your potential to leave a positive, lasting impact in society (take note: positive impact, not just impact)?
Even polymaths cannot profess to be excellent in every single field, only several. But this shouldn’t stop us from going beyond what is expected in the little things we do. Translated to eating, why not go the natural and healthy way? Translated to requirements, why not finish ahead of time? Translated to business, why not choose the path less traveled and empower not just your employees, but their families and communities as well?
For us devout Christians, we owe it to our God, who went beyond Himself and sent His own blameless Son to take the guilt for our sins for the sake of our salvation, to live Better Over Good for His greater glory to mirror what He did for us.