The problem with good versus bad

Dan Gregory @DanGregoryCo

The truth is, none of us is exclusively good or bad, despite how we would like to characterise ourselves. Psychopaths aside, in our own eyes, we are all on the side of rightness.

This tends to lead us to increasingly polarising points of view where rightness becomes self-righteousness. (And if you’re thinking, “That sounds a lot like you Dan,” you’re really just proving my point!)

At a practical level, however, “good” people do do bad things and “bad” people do good things. Moreover, what constitutes good and bad differs from one individual’s values heirarchy to another and from one epoch to the next.

Trying to divide the world up into good and bad creates numerous problems, not the least of which is that we all regularly exercise compromised judgment and make poor decisions due to our inherent bias that “we’re on the side of the good.”

In other words, by seeing ourselves as exclusively, or even mostly good, we actually increase our chances of doing bad and making poor decisions - simply because we’ve cut ourselves off from insights available from “the other side.”

This also matters because it denies and inhibits our capacity to learn, to grow and to redeem ourselves from past mistakes. How many of our hyper-connected youth will struggle as a result of poorly thought through decisions that may “brand them,” perhaps for a very long time, in one camp or the other?

In a social media world all to ready to cast the first stone, it might be worth first plucking the plank from our own eyes. (How that for mixing biblical metaphors?!?)

Find out how Dan can help your team stand out as thought leaders in your industry through in-house workshops on Performance Design. Contact or visit

Dan Gregory is an author, speaker, trainer and social commentator. He helps leaders, teams and other smart people to be “people smart” through developing Forever Skills including: 

#Purpose - Culture & Leadership

#Persuasion - Sales & Marketing

#Positioning - Thought Leadership & Personal Brand

#Performance - Performance & Experience Design