Find an unobtrusive spot where you can watch people without being noticed. I sat at a restaurant where I could see people coming out of a large box store. Okay it was at a Costco. My friend was taking a phone call, and I was bored. I made a conscious decision to look into the faces of the people as they checked out and to look for the good in people.
I wasn’t hidden but I was among a large crowd, and none of the customers noticed I was looking at them. I stared intently at their faces as they left for the exit. Now there may be something about Costco, or the relief of getting past the checkout, or the delight at getting a good deal. But I don’t think that’s what it was.
I could see the good in people
I could see evidence of kindness in their faces. I could see a capacity for compassion and a willingness to cooperate and be part of civilization. I was staring right at their faces. I was reading these people the way one reads a book.
I saw different levels of goodness, and I saw a lot of it. Every one of these people I didn’t know had some goodness in them. They had no reason to pretend to be good –they had no idea I was watching them. They were just being themselves.
It’s not just people at Costco. I’ve done this experiment with similar results at intersections when people are coming off the freeway. People are clearly more stressed but they are trying to do the right thing and get along.
I had the opposite experience one time when I was on jury duty
I saw a young man sitting in the corridor, whose face was filled with hatred, and what I can only say was evil. Later, during the briefing about the case, we learned that the accused had purportedly hit a man in the face with a bottle and that the photos were graphic. I have no direct evidence that the young man I had seen was the accused, but his face was consistent with that hypothesis.
On this planet there is evil and there is good. And I’m no proponent of the idea that either are always obvious on people’s faces. But I can tell you that sometimes it is obvious. You can see the good in people if you just take the time to take a look.
A special case
As I performed my experiment in Costco I saw what I perceived to be an intensely good person. There was something about this lady that was like a glow. I stared in fascination at her face, amazed that she had so much goodness in her. And then this lady caught me looking at her. She smiled at me and when she did, the glow I had seen before seemed to brighten to a dazzling intensity. It was as though she knew what I was up to.
I’m not making this up
I am not particularly religious or mystical, and consider myself to be an extremely practical individual. I undertook my experiments in the spirit of scientific inquiry, as much about my capacity to see the good in people as whether it was there. I found goodness in all races and all ages, although young children aren’t particularly good yet. They aren’t bad either, they just aren’t formed. The good is there in people. I saw it and you can, too.
My experiences in looking for the good in people have been quite joyous and uplifting, which is why I am recommending it to others. I hope you will try it.
If you like this sort of experiment try The Positivity Blog
This article was written (mostly) using Naturally Speaking by Dragon.