There’s a scene in the movie “Elf,” where Buddy (Will Ferrell) first gets to New York City, and goes into a dingy diner that has a sign outside that reads, “World Best Cup of Coffee,” and exclaims, “Congratulations! You did it! The world’s best cup of coffee!!”
I always think of that scene when I walk by a Salvation Army volunteer during December, as he’s ringing his bell, because somewhere on his coat or on the bell stand it will say, “Salvation Army: Doing the Most Good.” I want to say, “Congratulations! You did it! The most good!”
Being the competitive, insecure person that I am, I always interpreted that sign, “Doing the most good,” to mean: “Our nonprofit is far superior to your nonprofit, in that our accountant just reviewed the data that confirms we are, in fact, helping more people than all the other lame attempts of charities out there.”
But now I think I get it.
Doing the MOST good sometimes requires doing things that feel wrong, mean, and completely unnatural. Doing the MOST good can feel like not doing any good.