Doing the Right Thing
Why do we have so much trouble doing the right thing? Is it because we are in a habit and can’t change? What if we acquired the habit of always searching for the best way of doing everything?
Doing the right thing
Even a better way of wiping our ass, could over a lifetime, save thousands of rolls of paper, money, and days of our time that could better spent on other activities. Pardon the crude example but now you can see that something we all do every day gets very little intention to do it the best way. If you have ever used a hi-end Japanese toilet, you know what I mean.
Challenge your routines
What if we challenged all our repetitive routines to find the most successful way of doing them, instead of continuing the way that we have always done them? Would we not become more efficient and have fewer problems? If I could learn to always put my pen and glasses away properly, I wouldn’t have to spend so much time looking for them, and that would clearly be a good thing.
People are capable of learning complex tasks, like operating a computer but seem to have great difficulty changing simple behavior. Are we too invested in the Status Quo? Do we have too much reverence for the source of our learning? Were Mom, Dad, and our teachers and peers, always right?
I have been a self-taught photographer for over seventy years (back in the days when cameras were not automatic). I developed the early habit of testing every theory for myself. I read every book and magazine that I could get my hands on and exhausted the public library, but when I encountered a new idea I would go out and try it for myself. Skepticism may not be a popular habit but I soon found out that even the “experts” were not always completely correct
How do we get that basic instinct?
In my lifetime I have known very few people who seemed to have a basic instinct to always do the right thing, even when no one was watching, and it would be uncomfortable for them to do “The Right Thing.” These extraordinary people clearly make the world a better place to live, and we need a lot more of them. Where are they going to come from?
Government studies have spent millions on the sex life of the Tsetse fly. Why not study people who consistently do the right thing and find out how the rest of us could become wired that way? Universities are famous for their studies. A psychology department could use grad students to identify the characteristic of the “Right Thing” person and how to train those traits into ordinary people.
Do less “wrong things”
Sometimes doing the “right thing” means doing the less wrong thing. We go to our local dog park nearly every day, and the parking space in front of the entrance gate is large enough for one large truck with red curbs on either side of the space. While it is wrong to park with your car hanging over a bit into the red, it seems right to leave enough room for another small car.
I am now 82, and I look at life much differently than I used to. I finally realize that relationships are more valuable than wealth or power, and I also realize what a terrible job I used to do of nurturing those few relationships that I did have. What if I had put more intention around the best way to greet people so that they will feel welcome and appreciated? What if I learned to be a better listener, instead of planning what I was going to say next? How different and better might my life might have been? Is too late to do the whole job, but I can, and will do better!
I know that I have asked a lot of questions, but they are the source of all change and progress. One good question a day can change your life for the better, if you pursue the answer.