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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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • 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.