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If People Would Behave Decently, The World Would Be Decent!

Charles Dickens is quoted as saying: “If men would behave decently, the world would be decent.” This is so true! If we want to see a change in the world, it starts with each one of us behaving decently. When we are kind, compassionate, and respectful to others, we set the tone for how we […]

Phil McKinney
Phil McKinney
5 min read
acting decently
acting decently to make a world decent

Charles Dickens is quoted as saying: “If men would behave decently, the world would be decent.” This is so true! If we want to see a change in the world, it starts with each one of us behaving decently. When we are kind, compassionate, and respectful to others, we set the tone for how we want to be treated in return.

We all want to live in a world that is safe, peaceful, and harmonious. But too often, we see people behaving badly—being violent, disrespectful, and abusive. This needs to change!

Rather than ranting about how others act indecently if we want the world to change, then we need to start by being decent ourselves. We can do this by treating others with kindness, compassion, and respect. Through our behavior, we can set an example for the world of how men should act.

‘If Men Would Behave Decently, The World Would Be Decent!'

Charles Dickens

We need to stand up and demand that men behave decently. Only then will the world be a decent place for all of us, our families, our kids, our grandkids, and future generations to live in.

What Do We Mean By ‘Decent'

When we say ‘decent', we mean respectful, honorable, and good. Acting with decency means treating others with respect, being mindful of their feelings and needs, and contributing positively to the world. It is not always easy to act with decency, but it is always worth striving for.

This can be challenging in a world where violence, conflict, and injustice are so common. We see examples of man's inhumanity to man all around us, from war and terrorism to discrimination and abuse. However, it is important not to lose hope. Even amid such struggles, there are many people who continue to work towards decency, striving to make the world a better place.

Is Acting Decently Nature or Nurture?

There is no simple answer to this question. It is likely that both nature and nurture play a role in determining how we behave. Our genes may predispose us to certain behaviors, while our environment may influence how we act. However, it is also possible to change our behavior through training and experience.

We can learn to act with decency by observing and imitating those around us who behave in a good and honorable way. We can also choose to act with decency even if it is difficult or popular to do so.

5 Characteristics of Acting Decently

Decency is about treating other people with respect, honesty, thoughtfulness, and consideration. It’s about behaving in a way that shows that you care about other people and their feelings. It also creates a positive environment where people feel comfortable and can trust you.


It shows that you care about other people and their feelings. When you treat someone with respect, you listen to them and value their opinions. You also show consideration for their beliefs, feelings, and needs.


Being honest is a key part of acting decently because it builds trust and respect. It also means that you’re not hiding anything, which can lead to dishonesty and deception.

Thoughtful & Considerate

You are aware and sensitive to people’s feelings and needs. You take the time to think about the consequences of your actions before you act, which can help avoid potential conflict.

The two words have very similar meanings, but there is a slight difference. Thinking about other people and their feelings before you act is being thoughtful. Acting in a way that shows you are aware of and sympathetic to other people’s feelings is being considerate.


Being humble allows us to be open to other people's perspectives and grow from our interactions with them. It also shows that we respect others and are not arrogant or self-centered.

Changing The World

It will take more than just good intentions to change the world. We need to act with decency, respect, and compassion if we want to make a real difference. This begins with each of us and extends to our families, our communities, and beyond.

In order to change the world, we need to start by changing ourselves. This means cultivating a sense of empathy, compassion, and understanding. It also requires us to be mindful of our actions, recognizing the impact they have on others.

Of course, changing ourselves is not enough. In order to truly make a difference, we must also work together with others in our communities and beyond. This might mean standing up for what is right, even when it is difficult. It might also mean reaching out to those who differ from us and listening to their stories and perspectives.

Example of Decency

For example, if we are acting humbly, we don't enter a conversation with those who are different from us with the assumption that we are right and we need to convince them of this. Instead, we are open to their perspectives and willing to learn from them. We take the time to listen patiently and with an open mind, and we strive to understand where they are coming from.

At its core, decency is about treating people with respect and compassion. It requires us to be humble and open-minded in our interactions with others, even when we differ from them. And by acting with humility, honesty, thoughtfulness, and consideration, we have the power to change the world for the better.

By treating those around us with kindness and compassion, our actions have the power to create positive change. So let us choose to act with decency not only in our own lives but also in our communities and beyond.

We can make a real difference in the world, one person at a time.​

Starting With What We Post and Share

A first step in acting with decency is being mindful of what we post and share online. This means taking the time to think about how our words or actions might impact those around us, and considering how we can use our influence in a positive way.

Is this something I should share? Before hitting “share,” ask yourself whether the content is considerate and thoughtful of your friends or followers? If it fails this test, it's probably not worth posting. Instead, simply move on without sharing.

What is the motive behind my post? It's important to question our motives. Why are we sharing this content? Are we trying to get a reaction out of others, or are we trying to start a conversation that can lead to positive change? If our goal is simply to provoke others, it's probably not worth posting.

Will this post contribute to positive or negative discourse? It's important to be aware of the discourse our post might contribute to. If we're sharing something that could lead to negative or hurtful conversations, it's probably not worth posting. By being thoughtful about the content we share, we can help contribute to more positive and productive online conversations.

Acting Decently

When I was growing up, my mom always reminded me that the high road was if you cannot say something nice, then say nothing at all.

‘If you cannot say something nice, then say nothing at all.'


This is something that has always stuck with me, and I try to follow this principle online as well. By thinking before we post or share, and considering the impact our words might have on others, we can act with decency online. And by choosing positive actions rather than negative ones, we can help contribute to a more positive and productive online community.

I hope that by taking these first steps to act with decency, we can help make the world a nicer place for us all to live in. Let's take the high road together- one thoughtful post at a time!


Phil McKinney Twitter

Phil McKinney is an innovator, podcaster, author, and speaker. He is the retired CTO of HP. Phil's book, Beyond The Obvious, shares his expertise and lessons learned on innovation and creativity.


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