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4 Kick-Ass Reasons to Do the Right Thing

Image by tbondolfi (license).

“Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.  There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.”
J.C. Watts

“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.”
George Bernard Shaw

“Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”
Henry David Thoreau

One of the most powerful things you can do for yourself and your world is doing what you feel deep down is the right thing.

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

Here are a few suggestions though:

  • Being kind instead of being judgmental/ trying to put someone down to feel better about yourself.
  • Eating a healthy meal and then going to the gym instead of lying on the couch eating chips and watching TV.
  • Doing the dishes and other chores instead of slacking off.
  • Putting a stop to feeling like a victim with everything against you and instead looking at the opportunities and taking action.

It isn’t always easy. So I use these win/win-reasons to motivate myself to do the right thing. If you know why you are doing something and how it benefits you and the people around you then it becomes easier to do. And over time you can become more and more consistent with it.

1. You raise your self esteem.

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.

But the more you do the right thing on a consistent basis the more you tend to like yourself. Your esteem of yourself goes up.

This is also a cure to the often common habit of being a validation/approval junkie. That’s when you do things to get people to like you, compliment you etc. You want to feel good about yourself so you try to get other people to give you those feelings.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with getting positive feelings from other people as an extra bonus. But if you have no inner spring of positive feelings about yourself at all then life becomes a rollercoaster of positive and negative emotions. Everyone around you control how you feel and may also wield a big influence over how you think.

By doing the right thing you create that inner spring of validation and positive emotions. You become steadier, calmer and more centred.

2. It feels really good.

One of the simplest ways to create positive feelings within and maintaining them in a steady way is to do the right thing throughout your day. This of course starts a positive upward spiral of positivity not only within you but around you as positive feelings are highly contagious.

3. You get great results.

By doing what you feel is the right thing you focus on creating a better outside and inside while at the same time you cut out less relevant stuff from your inner and outer life.

So you become more focused on doing that is most important to you.

And as with anything you tend to get what you give. When you give value to people, when you help them then 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.

But most people wait for the other person to do something positive first. Don’t get stuck in that wait that just causes frustration. Be proactive, create a habit of taking the first step, 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.

4. Deservedness.

I believe this may be one benefit of doing the right thing that people often forget about. Because is it just enough to get motivated and take action to get what you want?

Maybe. But if you deep down don’t really think you deserve what you go after then you will tend to sabotage for yourself. Perhaps in subtle ways. You may get a gut feeling that this success is wrong and so you start doing stuff that screws things up.

So how do you make yourself feel like you deserve something? Well, you may do affirmations or some other exercise to make yourself feel better about yourself. But I think that what is most potent for your mind is actual proof. When you do the right thing over and over you tell your mind that you are indeed a good person.

And slowly it starts to accept that this is indeed the new truth about you.

The feelings of deservedness are also essential to maintaining a new self image.

When you try to make a big change in your life and make it stick then in some way your self image needs to be changed. You need to start seeing yourself as a healthy and fit person for example instead of couch potato or you will easily slip back into your old habits once again.

Doing the right thing not only in the health area of your life but also for example your work and relationships provides your mind with a ton of proof that you are someone who deserves what s/he want.

Just from my own experience I have found that if I have a day when I do nothing right then it is very easy slip back into old thought patterns. But by doing the right thing in many areas I tend to rarely slip back into old and more negative behavior and thoughts. I become steadier in my new, more positive self image.

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  • Small Footprints November 13, 2009, 6:53 pm

    Wonderful article. Doing something because it’s the right thing to do seems to be a foreign concept these days. Thank you for pointing out that doing the right thing has so many personal benefits.

  • Positively Present November 13, 2009, 8:15 pm

    Love this post. All of these points are so true!

  • Tristan Lee November 13, 2009, 8:48 pm

    Thanks for these tips Henrik. I like tip number two. It’s very simple but very meaningful as well. I don’t know, like you say, it just feels good when you do something that you know deep down is right whether it’s for yourself or for other people.

  • Josten November 14, 2009, 4:09 am

    all of the points in this post are true. When we slack off and do useless things we tend to become lazy. Not having a sense of direction or the self esteem to get up and do it.

    Great post

  • Srinivas Rao November 14, 2009, 4:41 am

    I think points #1 and 2 are really my favorites of these two. Once you get those two in check it seems like everything else will flow. If you are a tree, then those are really the roots and solid roots equally an oak-solid tree.

    @Tristan: I think that there’s definitely the feel good factor involved here. When you feel good, you really convey that energy to the world and people can sense it. It’s almost magnetic because people want to know how to feel good.

  • Javed Iqbal Shaikh November 14, 2009, 7:52 am

    nice and true please keep it up

  • Tess The Bold Life November 14, 2009, 4:35 pm

    If we all did the right thing there would be world peace and unity. Ya think?

  • Sibyl - alternaview November 14, 2009, 6:06 pm

    Great post. It is so easy to overlook the importance of doing the right thing, but that really is what it is all about. The more we can do right throughout the day, the more things will just fall into place. Once we realize this truism and start focusing on attempting to live life impeccably, things start flowing. Thanks for the interesting post and topic.

  • Amanda@choosing-life-my-way.com November 15, 2009, 4:31 am

    Great post. It is sometimes an effort to make the right choice.. easier to just stumble along, but the rewards of doing it right speak for themselves! Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

  • Sun-shine November 15, 2009, 6:26 pm

    Wonderful, after I read all these posts I feel like I have like-minded friends all over the world
    ‘deservedness’ is the point I need to work on.
    After this I will believe I deserve to feel good for all the good I do!
    Thank You–three cheers to you .

  • Rocky | R O C K O N O V A .COM November 16, 2009, 8:46 am

    “Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”
    Henry David Thoreau

    great quote!

    and yes I definitely agree with whenever I do the right thing, my confidence is myself definitely changes for the better.

  • Ralph November 16, 2009, 12:52 pm

    Great reminder! My favorite reason for doing the right thing is because it is the right thing to do.

  • Steven Handel November 16, 2009, 5:36 pm

    Excellent article. One last thing I would like to add to number 4 is that if you look back at the hardships of your own past, then you can get a sense of deservedness from that.

    None of us have easy lives. We all put in the effort to try and make our lives work, but sometimes we just make poor or unfocused decision. Often our biggest problem is that we are too hard on ourselves. But everyone deserves inner peace, love, and prosperity.

  • Nea | Self Improvement Saga November 17, 2009, 6:23 am

    You’re so right. I believe that when we do something that feels wrong–even if it is not technically or legally wrong–we have a way of attracting pay back into our lives. Even if a person, leader, or government says that something is right–each individual person must decide if it is right for self. Doing what you believe is truly right isn’t always easy, but it is for the greater good.

  • Henrik Edberg November 17, 2009, 12:20 pm

    Thanks for all the comments and added insights, guys! :)

  • Noel Posus November 20, 2009, 12:04 am

    WOW, what a brilliant article and thank you so much for sharing this with us. It’s amazing how “difficult” people can make the decision to do the “right thing” at times, and all the stories that can be conjured up to validate the choice of not doing the right thing.

    I will forward your blog article on to my various lists, clients and colleagues. Thank you for sharing.


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