The Importance Of Having A Sense Of Rightness

In most contexts, the word good means the act which ought to be favored when presented with an option between alternative courses of action. Good is usually associated with virtue, justice and moral goodness, and is typically of central interest in the study of politics, ethics, religion and ethics. A good person, according to modern usage, is someone who acts in accordance with his values or intentions. The concept of good therefore, has two elements, namely virtue and intention. Both these elements have to be distinguished from each other in order to explain the concepts of good and evil.


A virtue is something that is desirable on its own account, whereas an action is something that one does because it is required by a virtue or by a standard of right behavior. A principle of right behavior, for instance, could be defined as something that is desired on its own account, but is not something that could be demanded of others. If we want to determine whether or not an action is right, then we have to determine either its tendency to yield good results (virtue ethics), or its tendency to yield bad results (virtue optimism). A principle of virtue therefore tells us what we should expect from another person, but not what we should do ourselves.

The concept of virtue thus provides the basis for human rights, freedom, and responsibility. In virtue ethics, we recognize that morality means the end compatible with the values we want to achieve. It also tells us what we should do, concerning what we ought to value and how to go about getting it. We may call this virtue ethical realism. The claim of ethical realism is that what makes things right is not only what people can get away with, but what they can do by their own standards – something that goes beyond the mere physical side of things. Rightness thus involves not only getting what we want, but doing what is right by our standards.

By virtue of what I have called moral goodness, people are obligated to do what is morally right; that is to say, they must do what is right for themselves and no one else. This does not mean however that others are obligated to do the same. A standard of rightness therefore does not prevent people from being dishonest, or from harming others. But it does ensure that they do not act in a way that would be wrong when it comes to the standard of rightness itself.

In virtue of a standard of rightness, people are morally required to respect others, to treat them as they deserve and to have compassion on their part. A standard of right behavior also requires people to respect their own bodies, minds, and other properties (natural laws, among others) as they actually are. A standard of right action therefore does not demand that people treat others in ways that are in accord with their own desires. The right behavior thus involves taking actions that are in accord with the demands of the situations at hand, not with the wants of others.

In light of this it should be clear that, as long as there is life to be lived, there will be conflicts and evil. It is the good actions we take to confront these conflicts and evil that make for a better humanity. A good person, as we have seen, is not motivated by the attainment of material gain but by the pursuit of virtue. This may not always seem obvious to the reader, but when you read Good Behavior by Jim Rohn and commit to it, you will understand that what I have described here is in fact the ideal that human beings want.