Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

Bad things happen when good people do nothing


Me and my wife enjoy watching the feel-good Hallmark series called “When Calls the Heart”. The main character, primary school teacher, very often explains to their children, that bad things happen when good people do nothing. I’m being reminded by this today even more strongly when we are witnessing a war in Ukraine caused by Russia.

Bad things happen when good people do nothing

Who enabled Putin?

When you think about it, good people of Russia as well as good politicians of the rest of the world enabled Putin and his aggression on Ukraine:

Russians profited from Putin

Russians accepted Putin as their leader, they didn’t really question his rule. They saw the opposition leaders being marginalized or outright taken care of and did nothing. The silent majority of Russians just accepted the situation as is and didn’t want to leave their comfort zone to rebel against him.

Yes, there was (and still is) some opposition, but not enough to affect change. Not yet at least.

Western countries of the EU profited from Putin

The EU saw what Putin was doing to his nation. But we decided that playing it safe and just maintaining business relationships with him was OK. We accepted the dirty money from Russian oligarchs enabled by Putin.

It got even worse. Germany decided to negotiate directly with Putin to create first the Nord Stream and then Nord Stream 2 despite fierce opposition by Central and Eastern European countries as well as by the United States. And the USA was flirting with Russia when their president was Donald Trump.

Ultimately we all decided it was OK to do business with Russia. Only now to realize we needed to cut them off when it’s kinda too late.

We keep doing that with China. We’re like:

We know your human rights record is bad, but let’s change subjects and talk business, right? Wrong!

We must stop looking the other way.

Who enables bad actions by bad people?

We all do. When I think about my own country of Poland, I can see that if I and others like me do nothing then current awful government of PIS and Jaroslaw Kaczynski will continue to do damage to my country’s judicial system.

It’s comfortable to stay silent and just to keep doing your own thing.

It’s uncomfortable to speak up. To take bold actions. To go out and march on the streets.

Good people are too comfortable!

Today’s world is all about comfort. We are spoiled. With the Amazon-style instant delivery and almost instant loans from the banks, we can get anything we want. Now.

This comfort makes us the silent majority.

This comfort makes us passive.

This comfort makes us stop caring about things that directly don’t concern us in the short term.

Good people need to step up!

I’m so impressed with people of Ukraine defending their country.

Make no mistake, they’re not only fighting for their homeland. They’re fighting for the entire Europe, because everybody knows that once Putin takes over Ukraine, he will not stop just there.

I’m also impressed with people of Russia who go out on the street and march against the war. I wish there were more of them. I’m also hoping for good people inside of the Russian government and military to step up and stop this war from within.

Good people need to know that we are the majority!

Over the four decades of my life I’ve come to realize that there is much more kindness and goodness in the world than we give it credit for. Even people who appear bad don’t want to do bad things. Not really.

There are much more good people in the world than bad people.

We (the good people!) are the majority.

That’s why it’s our prerogative to speak up, to act, to do good and to inspire everyone else to be kind to each other.

In Poland we say:

“Nec Hercules contra plures” which means “Even Heracles is nothing against many”1

That’s why good people should stand as many and stop bad people from doing bad things. We are the majority so we should get used to being uncomfortable speaking up.

Otherwise the bad minority will slowly but surely start making our lives worse. Bit by bit.

And this can lead to really tragic consequences. After all, I know Russians, I speak Russian, I have friends there, I had customers there. I’m sure that deep in their hearts most of them don’t want any war. Only few bad people are running the show and leading the war.

And the silent majority of good people can still stop it, because:

Bad things happen when good people do nothing.

P.S. NATO should close the skies of Ukraine 🇺🇦

The more I think about it and see the tragic situation of Ukraine being slowly destroyed by Russian missiles, I strongly believe NATO forces should close down the Ukrainian aerospace. This way they would be no Russian missiles coming in. Ukraine will not be destroyed. Putin will see he’s losing and will be forced to negotiate and back off. We cannot let him destroy the beautiful country of Ukraine completely.

Bad things will keep happening to Ukraine when good people (NATO) will continue doing nothing.

As you can see on the photo2 this is what happens when Russian military sends missiles on a commercial center in Kiev. What’s ironic is that a Leroy Merlin shop was bombed3 - the same company that refuses to leave Russian market.

  1. Actually, in Polish the translation is more vulgar, but brilliant: I Hercules dupa kiedy ludzi kupa (Heracles is in deep shit when there’s a shitload of people). 

  2. Photo taken from this video clip

  3. “LEROY MERLIN became the first company in the world to finance the bombing of its own stores and killing its own employees. Inhumane, harrowing greed. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022 /nothing/