Leave every place better than you found it, or at least do no harm

Make it a rule that before you can leave a place, you must make it better than it was before you entered.

If you’re on a walk, say good morning to everyone you see. Or pick up even just one trash. If you notice a stone on the biking lane, kick it away so that no one bikes over it and slashes their tire.

Follow this principle if you want to keep your home clean. Before leaving the bedroom in the morning, make the bed. Before leaving the bathroom, clean the sink or replace the toilet paper roll if it’s empty. Before leaving the house, check if you can organize the shoes/jackets a bit better. If you leave every room tidier than you found it, your house stays clean effortlessly.

But if you cannot abide by this first principle, fall back to another: do no harm. Don’t make the place worse - that’s the bare minimum. If there weren’t dirty dishes in the sink when you entered, make sure there are none when you leave. Apply the principle more widely: If you feel too tired to do anything positive (like exercising or meditating), at least don’t do anything negative (like consuming junk food or media). If you can’t make it better, at least don’t make it worse.

Imagine the consequences if everyone lived by these two principles - we’d be surrounded by people who are on a positive trajectory, and we’d have a world that can only become more beautiful over time.

Related content