Last Updated on August 15, 2023 by Angela Vaz

Has the thought ever crossed your mind, “Why do some people seem to have all the luck in the world, even if they don’t deserve it?”

It certainly crossed my mind as I was growing up.

I’ve noticed that some people who took shortcuts, and engaged in unethical hacks actually succeeded – while others seemed to struggle even if they were honest took the high road.

The reality is good things happen to both bad and good people – but we tend to focus on injustice a little stronger.

However, there is a lot more than meets the eye.

It’s a question that puzzles many people.

And in today’s post, I want to talk about this from different perspectives so that you can draw your own conclusions.

So, buckle up, and let’s dive in.

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Who are bad people exactly?

who are bad people exactly

Before we ask the question, “Why do good things happen to bad people?” we need to understand who exactly is “bad people?”

What is our definition of bad people?

Throughout my early years, I always believed that the world was black and white – that people were either good or bad.

But with time, I began to see that the line is very blurred.

If someone steals something, are they bad?

Let’s say they stole a million dollars, does that make them bad?

Or if a boy stole a loaf of bread to feed his sister, does that make him bad?

Do we judge people based on the deed they’ve committed or do we judge them based on their intentions?

What gives us the power to judge someone and term them as good or bad?

My ex cheated on me for 2 years and initially, I labeled him as a bad person.

With time, I began to understand that he was fighting his own demons and seriously lacked good judgment on his part.

My point is, we need to understand that the concept of “good” and “bad” is purely subjective.

What you term as bad may not be what I term as bad and vice versa!

However, it is possible that there may be some actions that are universally termed as bad like genocide or rape.

Literally, no good can come out of this.

But I am trying to say that every person has both – good and bad traits in them. The percentages might vary.

Environmental factors play a strong role in character development

environmental factors play a huge role in character development

Another very important factor to consider is the environments people have been raised in.

For instance, let’s consider a person who has known nothing but abuse and poverty.

Let’s say this person has no access to education, connections, and job opportunities.

Doesn’t this mean that this person’s lack of opportunities might play a very vital role in their character development?

Their whole view of the world is different from a person who has these opportunities and grows up in wealth.

The reason I say all of this is that we need to come from a place of understanding and kindness before we jump to conclusions.

“Good things happen to bad people.” is not a statement we can use if we don’t try to understand who “bad people” are.

Once we understand the subject (the subject being “bad people”), we can now move forward with this discussion.

Psychology has a lot to do with success

psychology has a lot to do with success

Some people who may engage in activities that are termed as bad may also have wonderful skills or traits that lead to success.

Let’s say they are extremely intelligent and knowledgeable about a certain skill – they could also be charismatic, confident, and driven.

In this case, they may also take risks when others won’t – so they will undoubtedly reach success sooner because they are driven, motivated and actually put in the work.

We only see a frame of the whole movie

At the end of the day, we don’t really know what a person is or what they encompass because we don’t see the whole picture.

Let’s say we term someone as “bad” because they are extremely gossipy and also argumentative.

But they may have other wonderful qualities – this person may constantly contribute to charity or feed dogs while they’re going to the park.

Good things happen to everyone irrespective of where they are from and what they have done.

This discussion is rather complex.

It’s important to understand there is no single reason or explanation for someone’s success or good fortune.

By opening our minds, we can actually understand the world around us better and try to create a kinder and better society.

Why do bad things happen to good people? A tiny example

why do bad things happen to good people

I wouldn’t consider myself a bad or good person, but I was very naive, argumentative, and closed-minded, among many other things when I was in college.

Needless to say, I lived in a bubble.

When I entered a bad relationship, I kept asking why I was going through this.

But this was my choice. I chose my partner and I bore with the repercussions.

When I discovered that my then-husband was cheating on me, I was mortified.

But I don’t regret going through that, because it helped me grow.

I was able to understand what pain does, and it taught me to be more sympathetic, kind, and understanding to other people going through similar or worse ordeals.

I pursued my degree in human relationships and psychology and now help people deal with pain.

I believe that something really good came out of my bad experiences.

Every single experience we go through shapes us – good or bad.

We decide if we want to grow from it or let it affect us negatively.

It is our decision – through and through.

My mom never drank alcohol or consumed a cigarette. She was a devout Catholic who worked for 30 years in a full-time job to make ends meet and provide a good life for my dad and me.

Yet, she got cancer and died an agonizing death toward the end of her life.

She withered away slowly and death did not come quickly.

But during that time, her relationship with my father and me blossomed.

She understood that life was short and she gave us so much love and we did the same to her.

So, I believe sh*t happens to everyone.

It doesn’t matter if you’re good or bad.

It doesn’t matter if you’re kind or cruel.

Good stuff happens. Bad stuff happens.

It’s all relative.

You decide to see it as something good or something bad.

You decide to make something of the situation that is presented to you.

Comparison is detrimental to progress

comparison is detrimental

You have to understand that you only have 1 frame of a whole movie when you look at someone else’s life.

You don’t know what’s happening in their whole life – you see what they decide to show you.

The media is misleading. Comparing our lives to others can give us a very distorted view of reality.

And more often than not, we usually compare our weaknesses to other people’s strengths.

This leads us to believe that we cannot measure up.

But comparison often ignores the fact that everyone has weaknesses and struggles.

You only know your story and I only know mine.

We need to focus on our own strengths and try to play to them.

It’s so important for us to focus on our own journey and appreciate the unique experiences and opportunities we have in our whole lives.

Conclusion – Why do good things happen to bad people?

Everyone has different beliefs.

Some people believe in karma, some don’t.

I believe that our lives are very short.

We don’t know when the end might come.

So instead of worrying about what happens to other people, let’s focus on our own lives.

Our whole definition of bad and good is extremely relative so there is no cut and dry answer for this particular question.

This article on why good things happen to bad people is of course based on my point of view, but I’d love to know your thoughts. Do share them in the comments below – I’m always keen to start a conversation.

Angela is a 31 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.

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