Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Just, do the right thing.” Lately, I hear myself saying this more and more often: really, how hard can it be?
In truth, it can be very hard and that’s the problem. Sometimes the right thing seems so hard that we opt, instead, for the path of least resistance. The trouble is when we take the easy route it often leads right back to where we started. That’s the way life works. When we haven’t learned the lesson, it’s re-presented until we get it. If we want to grow from life’s lessons, we have to do the hard work.
Sometimes we make a decision that best allows us to avoid our feelings, save our energy or get some sleep. Then, in our busyness, we move to the next item on our list without ever looking back to see where the dust fell. No afterthoughts on how the decision panned out, who it affected, or how it may have changed a course of events.
Think about how you make your decisions.
Do you sit and ponder day after day, rehashing the facts before finally throwing a dart to make a choice?
Do you quickly decide whether you should or should not just to check an item off your “to do” list?
Do you make your decisions based on how you think the outcome will make you look in the eyes of others?
Or, do you ask yourself, what is the right thing to do in this situation?
When asked questions like –
Why are you planning this event?
Why are you not volunteering your time?
Why are you letting your child…?
Why are you not reaching out to…?
Or, in my case, I’m often asked –
Why do you travel with your husband to his contract sites?
There should only be one good answer to “why?” It is the right thing to do.
But, how do you know when your decision is right?
I rely on intuition. I feel it in my heart. The thought of following through on my decision fills me with calmness. People say, “I had a gut feeling about…” That’s it.
I’m not saying I’m always right. I’m not saying I always do the right thing. What I am saying is I do better when my decisions are based on what is right in my heart. It may take longer to decide. I might have to sleep on it. I might have to say a little prayer. But, if I’m honest about my intentions, I will act in good conscience and make the best decision for me.
Do the right thing even when it’s hard.
It is not always easy to go with your ‘right’ decision. You’ll have to expect more of yourself. Sometimes it means you’ll lose sleep. Sometimes it means you have to expend a lot more energy or that you disappoint someone. But, most importantly, you will not disappoint yourself.
I’m sharing this because it works for me.
I imagine a better world if everyone just did the right thing.
It’s that simple, and that hard.
Today, I want to challenge you.
Make all your decisions today based on doing the ‘right’ thing.
When faced with a decision, stop and ask, “What is the right thing to do?
Practise sitting in the discomfort of not having an answer or of knowing that follow through will be hard.
Try it for a day. A week. A month. Let me know how it works out for you. I’d love to hear your stories.