“You ought to expect better of people. It encourages you to be a better person yourself.”
Despite all the horrific atrocities that we hear about on the news, I’d like to think that most people are good most of the time. I’d like to think that the people performing these heinous acts are the exception, rather than the rule. I’d like to think that this is true regardless of whether you’re Catholic, Anglican, Jewish, Muslim or atheist. As such, I’d like to think that we can expect better of most people and I want them to expect better of me.
The guy who only ever takes a penny without every leaving a penny. The person who frantically presses on the “close door” button on the elevator, instead of holding it open to allow another person rush in. The parent who publicly berates her child for being dumb and worthless.
That’s unacceptable behavior and we should not accept it. Instead, it’s about being kind, courteous and decent.
The quote at the top comes from American cartoonist Jeffrey Paul Jacques. Better known simply as Jeph Jacques, he is the man behind the webcomic Questionable Content, as well as Alice Grove and DORD. In that quote, Jeph Jacques reminds us not to accept mediocrity and indecency from others, just as we should not resign ourselves to mediocrity and indecency in ourselves.
Be the better person. Be nice. Be kind. Dare to be ambitious and to accomplish more. When you raise the standards for the people around you, you help to create a better society for all of us. You help to develop a culture of kindness and encouragement. And this elevation of expectation must start with you.
It may be true that Jeph Jacques isn’t quite as iconic as The Far Side‘s Gary Larson or For Better or For Worse‘s Lynn Johnston, but he’s also from a different age, one that embraces the online culture of collaboration, communication, and connection. And Jacques has been able to do quite well for himself too… because he expected more of himself.