I got around to watching the movie ‘Collateral’ tonight. I need to begin by saying Michael Mann did a phenomenal job in making the city of Los Angeles another character in the movie. The film was beautifully shot, and it reminded me of how he made my hometown just glisten in all those episodes of Miami Vice.
But the point of this entry is not cinematography. In watching the character played by Jamie Foxx, Max, I was reminded of how rewarding life can be when you allow principles and discipline to guide you. When you stay the course and work hard for what it is you want. When you apply decency and service to what you do.
It also got me to thinking how, in life, there are good people and there’s everyone else. Beuna jente, as we would say in Northern Cuba … um, I mean Miami. I am not implying that everyone else is bad or evil, but rather there is a unique yet common quality to good people. I believe this quality is not always tangible or visible, yet it is definitely distinguishable when set against the contrast of everyday life.
Good people have perspective. They understand they are part of a system or community, with each interaction experienced leading to another event in life. Good people understand there are consequences to actions and inaction. They understand that good behavior, good intentions and good will are eventually reciprocated to you. Good people tend to be humble and fair. Good people show restraint and class. Good people understand the concept of the greater good.
I have been very fortunate to meet and associate with many individuals whom I consider good people. I am also glad that I have known my fair share of non-goodies. I say glad because every interaction with someone who is cruel or egotistical or demeaning is an opportunity to learn what not to do in life. And isn’t that what it’s all about? Learning, growing, and finding betterment in our lives. I had a professor in college tell me once, “If you’re not learning, you’re dying.” I take that to heart, and look for life lessons in everything I do.
It’s also said that if you want to be good, surround yourself with good people. If you want to be great, surround yourself with good people who disagree with you. I don’t claim to be great, not by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, I do know I am surrounded by good people, some of which actually disagree with me (the nerve of them!). And to all of them I say, “Thank You!” I know I am a better person because of the good people in my life. Here’s hoping you take time to identify and recognize the good people in yours. Believe me; it will only lead to good things!