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Life in the 'good-good' quadrant

As some of you will know, I have a small bone to pick with most of the personal development industry... to do with the 'personal' part.

While it is true that change has to happen from the inside out, I think all too often we forget that life does not actually revolve around us. Yet, very few people stop to do an 'environmental check' of their (or their clients') goals.

But that's not the real problem. The REAL problem is that setting goals without considering their effect on others simply DOESN'T WORK. So I thought I'd kick off with '13 reasons why' life in the 'good-good' quadrant is the ONLY way to obtain long term happiness and fulfillment.

But first: What is the 'good-good' quadrant?

When you think about your life, there are things that are good for you - and things that are not so good. Usually we want to obtain or work towards more of the good things and eliminate more of the bad ones. Obviously.

Globally though - with regard to society as a whole, to other people and the planet itself - there are also things that are good and things that are not so good. Excessive carbon emissions or social injustice are not so good - and access to clean water and healthy, functioning rain forests are a good thing.

When it comes to goal setting - you clearly want to stay away from things that aren't great for you - and most people do. Few people set a goal to start smoking, or drink more alcohol. It would be silly. Those things sit in the bottom left quadrant - and only some very confused people would be striving for them. This approach serves no-one at all and others will find it difficult to take people who live like this seriously.

So we go for the things that are good for us (over on the right hand side of our spectrum above). What effs us up, however, are those good-for-us things that sit in the bottom right of our quadrants - the things that are good for us, but not good for everyone else. This quadrant is rocky territory - a lot of entitlement lives here. So do fast, petrol hungry cars and sprinkler-fueled lawns in the desert - but also (gasp!) some of our precious personal freedoms (a topic for another day). But with regard to most luxury items and goals that come at the cost of others, let's just be blunt and say this is the 'selfish' quadrant. People who choose this approach to goal setting fail to recognize how their actions and behaviors may affect other people.

The people in the 'selfish' quadrant often have their most outspoken critics in the top left quadrant - people who pursue good for everyone else and the planet, but forget about themselves in the process. Let's call this the 'martyr' quadrant. The problems here are not the great values and genuinely positive intentions - the problem here is that a) struggle is really unattractive for most of the people on the right side of the grid, which makes it very hard to recruit anyone into this quadrant, b) that - no matter how much the 'martyrs' might reassure you that they're perfectly happy - there's often underlying anger and resentment going on that leads to blame and polarity (again, not a great basis for influence) c) that it is actually NOT sustainable, despite claiming to be exactly that. Why? Because long term, you can't pour from an empty cup. And, last not least, d) it often lacks greater impact - because greater impact requires money and influence (see above).

Which leaves us with the 'good-good' quadrant. This is where things reside that are good for you AND good for everybody else. And what's not to like?? - Indeed, not much, if we can keep the 'greenwash' out and focus on the truly 'good-good' things.

The 'good-good' quadrant is where the future of humanity must be headed - for all the good reasons I'm about to get to.

But before we go there: why - you ask - why why WHY are we not ALWAYS striving for the 'good-good' quadrant? Isn't that the obvious choice?

You might thinks so - but it's not. The problem is that a lot of people can't SEE the 'good-good' quadrant, because the bells and whistles from the 'selfish' quadrant are obstructing their view. Like a kid in the candy store they get so excited about all the sparkly sweet things in the jars that they forget to check the ingredients lists. Of course advertising and social media influencers have their bit to answer for here - but also a collective societal blind spot around the broader implications of our metaphorical sugar craving - a classic collective Freudian defense mechanism: denial.

But there's a second problem - and if you have been sitting here nodding your head heavily until now - unless you already reside in the 'good-good' quadrant - you won't like to hear this at all: the 'martyrs' over in the top left obstruct the view just as much. The 'green movement' - for too long - has looked like 'loss-less-never' to those selfish guys in the bottom right. Loss of comfort/convenience, less 'stuff' and fancy holidays and 'never' fly - or have fun - again... Now - why, exactly, would you??? Especially if all you hear is blame and a lecture about 'doing the right thing'. - Raise your hand if you like to be told what to do...

The good - no, actually: FANTASTIC!!! news is that the 'good-good' column does, in fact, exist and that life is ACTUALLY great over here. You still get to live a life of comfort and happiness - AND you get to 'do the right thing'.

We have SO many solutions now, supported by SO much evidence of ways in which we can conduct our lives in ways that respect and ensure the wellbeing of everyone - AND do great ourselves. The case studies are endless. The 'good-good' quadrant DOES exist and it has space to accommodate all of us.

But if you need any more convincing - here are the '13 reasons why' the 'good-good' quadrant is where you want to pitch your life:

  1. Fulfillment. The 'good-good' quadrant is the only place where you'll ever feel truly fulfilled. You can find happiness in the 'selfish' quadrant, but it will only ever be short-lived and tainted by the niggling knowledge that something else, somewhere else is not doing that great because of you.

  2. Sleep. You will sleep much better at night knowing that your lifestyle is contributing to the wellbeing of others or the planet.

  3. Children. If you have children - or are planning to have some - they probably would like to have a habitable planet to occupy by the time they're turning 40 as well. They also want to live well and be looked after now. The 'good-good' quadrant offers both.

  4. Customers. If you're a business owner or work as part of a larger organization, you will already be feeling the increasing consumer pressure to provide them with 'good-good' solutions - and as the dire news about the world AND the government regulations increase - those demands will only become more pronounced (offering up a wealth of opportunities to add great value - and grow your business!)

  5. Joy. Have you ever noticed how you feel the biggest joy when doing something special for someone else? Like - giving gifts at Christmas or surprising your loved one? The 'good-good' quadrant is where feeling this joy is inherent in everything you do.

  6. Happiness. Peak happiness actually happened in the 1950s - with much less conveniences and stuff. Why? Because life was simpler, more connected - and had less troublesome outlooks. All of that lives in the 'good-good' quadrant

  7. Growth. When we stop growing, we start dying. In order to build our immunity to the 'selfish' temptations, we have to grow as individuals to look past the bells and whistles and re-connect with what our soul already knows. We get a chance to grow as people - the most satisfying experience we can have.

  8. Contribution. True satisfaction comes from doing more for others than we do for ourselves - the 'good-good' quadrant gives us that opportunity.

  9. Connection. We are social creatures - yet, 'social media' has separated us more from one another than any other phenomena in remembered history. WARS foster more real human-to-human connection!! So while we're more connected than ever, we are also lonelier than ever before. The 'good-good' quadrant is full of community based solutions because our power lies in our collective genius and our compassion for one another - giving us a chance to re-connect in a real and meaningful way. Nature's laws are about collaboration, not competition.

  10. Significance. Ironically, our society is currently driven by significance - and so many people measure theirs by the 'stuff' they have or the 'likes' they get. But there's two ways to be significant: be better than everyone else and tear others down in the process - or make a significant contribution to the world. The latter lives in the 'good-good' quadrant.

  11. Wellbeing. Both the 'selfish' and the 'martyr' quadrants are riddled with unhealthy emotions - anger, blame, guilt, self-doubt, stress, burn-out, frustration, cynicism to name but a few. The 'good-good' quadrant fosters compassion, love, connection and joy.

  12. Time. Time for life on this planet is effin running out. And while the 'selfish' quadrant may feel immune to our planetary perils - it's not. Our food systems, our water, our weather systems and our economy are all on the brink of implosion - and when they do, it will affect everybody - throwing ALL of us back onto into the left hand quadrants.

  13. Peace, love, gratitude, wisdom, innovation, creativity... I could go on. They all increase exponentially when we look beyond our own perspectives, work on new solutions, seek to add more value to the world, be of service, work together and learn to trade our expectations for appreciation.

Life in the 'good-good' quadrant - I hope to see you there!

Do good. Natalie xx

PS: If you want to learn more about all the different aspects of life in the 'good-good' column on a daily basis, join on us on a Wednesday evening for some 'next level' conversations - covering different topics of personal growth that will help you shift YOUR life into the 'good-good' quadrant! Check out our list of upcoming topics here

PPS: If you are already SERIOUS and COMMITTED to shift your life 100% into the 'good-good' quadrant - I have a special treat for you: Very soon I will be launching "The Village" - what I consider the best goal setting and personal development program out there, aimed SOLELY at setting you up for life in the 'good-good' quadrant. You will be embarking on a 12 months journey, together with 11 other huΣan3 and you will be improving every aspect of your life while doing more good than you ever have before. It's going to be the wildest - and best - year of your life, connecting with an inspiring community of people. The Village makes good go viral.

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Apr 09, 2021

Thanks Natalie. Loved the way that you framed a good good life. We also dont persuade others to follow when we emphasise the outcome we dont want - ie climate emergency or climate change, instead of discussing what a "Safe climate" might mean. Go well - nga mihi Paul

Natalie Hormann
Natalie Hormann
Apr 19, 2021
Replying to

Couldn't agree more Paul! Here's a useful TED talk on this: Per Espen Stoknes: How to transform apocalypse fatigue into action on global warming Learn more about watching TED Talks on all of your favorite platforms:

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