Are People Really So Bad?
Note: Recorded this video long back on a solo trip.
An Event At Public Speaking Academy
We used to do a small activity at Public Speaking Academy and the name of the activity was Utopian World. Utopian World means a dream world where everything is according to you. So we gave children maps, and on that map, they have to create their world, their dream world, and they are free to do anything.
Make schools without teachers, make rivers with chocolate flowing in it, make mountains which are upside down. Anything! They were free to do anything. And the children really enjoyed the activity.
And then we convert that map into a short story. It’s a part of a storytelling exercise we do at Public Speaking Academy, but you know what? There were many kids, a significant number of kids who made a world without people, or they made a world with people only their parents and a few loved ones. I’ve also heard stories like; I wish for a world with only books because they do not cheat like people.
Kids Perception of The World
I heard stories like my world will be far better than the world, which I’m really living right now. Few kids, I don’t know for what reason have become little anti-people. Now this problem is not only with kids. I know that many of us are also against people.
And what do you mean by against people? It means that many of us believe that people are not good. They might cheat. They might hurt. They’re not trustworthy.
And when we make this belief, what I’ve observed is that you find reasons in your life, incidences in your life to support your belief, whether that incidence reason is not there or there; you will find it. You will find it forcefully to support your belief because that’s your belief. That’s your decision. And you need reasons to support your beliefs.
An Incident At Alibagh Beach
But every time you are not right. I remember a student in the morning; I was coming from Naga beach to Alibaba beach. And it’s a 25 to 30 minutes ride by that big ten-seater shared rickshaw. You know a shared vehicle. Whenever there is a passenger on the road, they stop and they get the passenger. And whenever a passenger wants to get down wherever they and the passenger get down.
Now, my belief is sometimes people are not health conscious and they’re so lazy with their health that they do not even walk for five, 10 minutes. That’s my belief. I don’t like waiting for Rickshaw. If the distance is walking five to 10 minutes, maybe 15, 20 minutes.
I was in this rickshaw, I was sitting ahead along with the driver and the rickshaw stopped.
My Old Belief Broken To Pieces
And then after just two minutes, hardly two minutes, one lady said from the back, stop here. For a moment, I thought what nonsense she would have easily got down just two minutes before and would have walked for five minutes and reached here. But she decided to ask that rickshaw to stop again after two minutes, what nonsense? And then I just slightly turned back and I saw that lady helping a 9 to 10 years old child to get down from the rickshaw. And then she said you have to just go straight from here and don’t take any turns. The reason why she asked the rickshaw driver to stop is because she didn’t want to drop that child just maybe 250 or 200 meters before. And I can understand why.
But because I have that belief that people do not walk. They’re not health conscious. They are lazy with their health. I got a reason to believe that yes, it’s true.
Imagine for a moment that I didn’t notice that lady dropping that child; I would have further strengthened that belief that yes, people are just like that.
Our Perception About Trust
Same with trust. If you feel that people are not trustworthy, you will find X number of reasons in your life to believe that people are not trustworthy. Yesterday night I was quite surprised that no one was giving any room to me because I was a solo traveler and here people do not give rooms to solo travelers because of some suicidal incidents that have happened in the recent past. Now, when I got a cottage here, it was an old couple,big bungalow, big cottage, no one was there.
I was alone staying. And when I was going up, the lady came and she said, take this water bottle.
If you are a person who does not trust people, you will never drink that water. What if they put something in the water? And they rob me the night, they take my stuff. You get a reason not to trust people. That’s a belief. But I believe that I trust people. So the next moment I just opened the bottle and I drank.
Incident At Hyderabad Toastmasters
I was in Hyderabad a few months back. And it was a Toastmaster conference with around 600 people in the conference room. I gave my speech and then I came back. I was called by someone. He said, “hi Praveen” and I said, “hi” and he was not Indian. He was from the US but settled in India. And then he said you are a good storyteller. He sat beside me and gave me some good feedback. Suddenly from the stage, someone asked that, tell us, what is yours according to you, the most important value in your life? It was a normal conversation between the speaker who was on the stage and the audience.
And then this person, sitting beside me raised his hand. And he said loyalty towards a partner. It’s my belief that many men are not loyal towards their partner, many men. This is my belief, but see how I found a reason here to strengthen that belief.
Now, when he said loyalty towards a partner, I appreciate that. I said, well. And then after some moment, after some time I saw a small, I would not say a small around 20-years old girl, she came inside the conference hall. And from the moment she entered the conference hall until that girl found a seat in the room, which is just before us, this guy who just said that loyalty should be the most important value. This guy was continuously gazing, continuously looking at her, right from the door to the seat. I was uncomfortable. And in the break he just got up and he went to that girl and he said something. For a moment I thought what nonsense? Just a few minutes back. The same guy was saying loyalty and see, how he’s behaving. And then when he came back, I asked what that girl said. And he said, she said mom is sitting on that side. I said what? And then he said she’s my daughter.
My Misunderstanding Busted
Imagine for a moment that I didn’t ask him what that girl said or imagine for a moment that I just left that seat without meeting him again. I would have strengthened my belief that people are not loyal but that’s not true.
The point I’m making that we have some kind of notion that people are not good. People cheat. People are not trustworthy, but the majority of people are good in this world. But very few people who are like this, we’re bad people. The majority of people are normal people. They laugh when you laugh, they cry when you cry. But the majority tells it like this, and maybe throughout your life, you will not encounter or you will not get an opportunity to meet these bad people.
Why We Carry The Burden of Other People’s Past?
Most of the bad things we have heard of happened with someone else, not with you. The majority of the bad things happened to someone else. You might not get the chance to meet these bad people, but you will get a chance and you have to live with this majority of people.
But if your beliefs are like this, that people cheat, people are not trustworthy, or people are bad, you will suffer because you will see these people; good people who deserve your love and your care, your likeness will suffer because of those beliefs. The world is good, make sure that you give love, trust, and care to everyone you meet just because of some bad people.
Let’s not declare that people are not good.