Does the .us in BecomingBetterPeople.us stand for United States or for “us” as in all people, anywhere?
Yes, and yes. (Technically, the “.us” domain designates United States, but I will often use it in the larger sense of all of “us”.)
Is this site about self-improvement?
While we’re all for self-improvement, BecomingBetterPeople is more about collective self-betterment. Sure, everyone can aim to eat healthier, be happier, and have better hair. But it’s debatable whether shinier, better people make for healthier, better functioning populations. And if we are at all sensitive to the changes on the planet, it’s imperative we equate Me with We. Because we can each work on self-improvement till we’re blue in the face, but what does it matter unless we all drastically improve how we care for the planet, and each other? It would be tragic if our epitaph read: "They all had nicely toned bodies as they inched toward spiritual enlightenment — but they still couldn't get their act together."
Is this site about politics?
If the saying is true that “all politics is personal” then in some sense BecomingBetterPeople is political. And if a vision held for the best possible future for all of us requires organized action in the world of politics, one might consider BecomingBetterPeople political. But if you mean “political” in the way politics has been exhibited in recent years — divisive, infighting, untrustworthy, etc. — then no, BecomingBetterPeople is not political.
And to underscore how much that divisive flavor of politics is NOT what we’re about, you won't see the following words in any BecomingBetterPeople posts:
- Democrat, Republican
- Liberal, Conservative (in the political sense)
- Left, Right (in the political sense)
And only under exceptional circumstances will we mention politicians from the past 50 years. No doubt you'll see references to ideas, policies, events and people. But this site avoids those words and names that have become lightning rods which typically send people scampering to their cultural corners.
Why does every post have to have a personal aspect to it? Can’t they just get to the point and say why we are getting better, or how we need to become better?
A few reasons:
- The web has become a giant machine that spews content from every which way, in every form of news, gossip and advertising. The vast majority of it is impersonal and does little to answer, “How are we growing in a better direction?” One way to counter this is by bringing personal stories to the table.
- When we show our humanity, vulnerability and imperfections, real human understanding can take place. This is an antidote to the selfie culture that has proliferated in recent years. I aim to put my authentic voice in every post I write and encourage others to do the same. If we want to shift from a Me culture to a We culture we have to be real— otherwise, what’s the point? And though each post may not achieve this, if we aim for it, we’ll get closer.
- It makes it more fun! I don’t know about you, but sometimes reading about big ideas and topics can be such a yawn when there’s no personal story attached to it.
Why do you donate money in connection with the stories you post?
Because I want to infuse words with more power. The web has an infinite number of words, yet it’s unclear how most of them help people become better. Often, it’s the opposite.
When an appropriate non-profit is promoted for the work they do — and supported, no matter how big or small the donation — there is real energy behind the words. And one of my goals is to build energy toward us becoming better people by fueling the groups that do direct work in that regard. The hope is that others will follow suit, or at the very least become aware of those doing good work.
How do you select the nonprofits you highlight?
Once I write a post I poke around for nonprofits that complement its theme. I always check with Charity Navigator or Charity Watchdog for any organization under consideration, while aiming for those with high ratings. On occasion, a smaller charity known through personal contacts will come to my attention. In the end, I go with my gut to highlight a nonprofit that resonates with the ideals with Becoming Better People.
How often do you add new posts?
It turns out my best rhythm seems to be about once a month for a substantive post, followed by a donation/nonprofit post a week later. I’ve learned that I am not one of those “every Tuesday and Thursday” type bloggers, LOL. But if something inspires me, I won’t hesitate to break my current rhythm.