Spotlight

Why You Should Do the Right Thing, and How to Do It

One of the hardest things to do in life is to do the right thing. What you think is the right thing. Not what you friends, family, teachers, boss and society thinks is the right thing.

What is the right thing? That’s up to you to decide. Often you have a little voice in your head that tells what the right thing is. Or a gut feeling.

It might tell you to get up from the couch, stop eating those snacks, and go to the gym instead. Sometimes you will put on your exercise clothes and go. Sometimes you will not.

It might tell you to stop sulking and feeling like a victim with everything against you, and instead look at the opportunities and take action. Sometimes you will. Sometimes you will not.

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Now, why should you do the right thing? Here are three excellent reasons:

1. You tend to get what you give.

By doing the right thing you tend to get the same things back. Give value to people, help them, and they will often want to help you and give you value in some form. Not everyone will do it, but many will. Not always right away, but somewhere down the line. Things tend to even out. Do the right thing, put in the extra effort, and you tend to get good stuff back. Don’t do it, and you tend to get less good stuff back from the world.

2. To raise your self-esteem.

This is a really important point. When you don’t do the right thing, you are not only sending out signals out into your world. You are also sending signals to yourself. When you don’t do the right thing, you don’t feel good about yourself. You may experience emptiness or get stuck in negative thought loops. It’s like you are letting yourself down. You are telling yourself that you can’t handle doing the right thing. To not do the right thing is a bit like punching yourself in the stomach.

3. To avoid self-sabotage.

A powerful side effect of not doing the right thing is that you give yourself a lack of deservedness. This can really screw up you and your success. If you don’t do the right thing in your life then you won’t feel like you deserve the success that you may be on your way towards or experiencing right now. So you start to self-sabotage, perhaps deliberately or through unconscious thoughts.

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How to do it

Here are a few suggestions that can hopefully help you to do the right thing more often.

Review the reasons why you are doing it.

Whenever you feel unsure about doing the right thing remind yourself of the powerful reasons above (or any other that you can come up with). They might give you that extra push of motivation you need to spring into action.

Go for improvement. Not perfection.

I’m not saying you will do the right thing all the time. I certainly don’t. But I’m saying that we can strive for gradual improvement. If you for instance do the right thing 10 percent of the time right now then try to doing it 20 percent of the time. And then 30 percent. Or you can try to do the right thing at as many opportunities as you find this week. Try some stuff and see works best for you.

My point is just to not get stuck in thinking about perfection or being some kind of saint. This can paralyse you from taking any action at all. Or leave you with negative feelings despite doing the right thing many, many times (since you are still not feeling like you are not quite perfect).

If you seldom do what you feel/think is the right thing now then you will probably not be able to change this completely over the weekend. It might take some time.

Just do it.

The more you think about these things, the more often you tend to come up with reasons to not do it.  Since that often traps you in analysis paralysis. To raise your self-esteem and get a spiral of positive action spinning in your world and with the people around you need to start moving and take action.

Taking the route of doing the right thing takes more effort and can be more painful. It’s often seemingly the harder thing to do.

But when you understand how you are hurting yourself it gets a lot harder to just avoid doing the right thing. The perceived advantages of not doing the right thing – such as it being easier – tend to lose their power and are replaced with a more clearer understanding of what you are doing to yourself and others.

Taking this – perhaps a little less traveled – path is a lot more rewarding than taking the easy way out.

Both for you and for the world around you.

Michael O'Brien
Michael O’Brien
VP & Chief Growth Officer
Dartcor Food Services

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