Soft Skill Tip of the Week - Do the Right Thing, Not the Easy One

The time is always right to do the right thing

I missed a lot of fouls during my 12 years as a college basketball referee. Some of the fouls were ones I didn't call when I should have and some I called that weren't there. I break them down into three categories:

  1. Fouls that happened that I didn't see and didn't call (MISSED)
  2. Fouls that didn't happen but I still called (KICKED)
  3. Fouls that happened that I did see and didn't call (SCARED)

The fouls in category 3 are the ones that I really want back. When a coach, supervisor, or fellow referee asked why I didn't call a foul from category 3, no answer I gave sufficed. Instead of doing the right thing on the court, I got scared and did the easy thing. I ignored the situation and hoped it worked itself out.

These kinds of situations happen to us all the time. If the trash is overflowing in the kitchen at work, do you take the easy route and just add more garbage to it. Or, do you do the right thing and take the garbage to the dumpster? You know your body needs to exercise. The easy thing is to just sit around and watch more TV. The choice is so simple, but that doesn't mean it's easy.

The Miracle Morning and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire both give great life lessons on this topic:

"Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right"

  • Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

> "Every time you choose to do the easy thing, instead of the right thing, you are shaping your identity, becoming the type of person who does what’s easy, rather than what’s right. On the other hand, when you do choose to do the right thing and follow through with your commitments—especially when you don’t feel like it—you are developing the extraordinary discipline (which most people never develop) necessary for creating extraordinary results in your life." > - Hal Elrod in *The Miracle Morning*

What You Can Do

Make a Commitment to Yourself

Make the commitment to do the right thing and not the easy one. A good way to do that is through the use of goals.

Start Simple

Is there a mess in your office that nobody is cleaning up? Take care of it. Even if it's not your job. And those messes could be literal garbage or they could be a mess in the software code.

Don't Try to be Perfect

You're going to make mistakes. When you do, don't fret over it. Take notice and strive to be better the next time.

Be the Example

When other people see you're doing what's right even though it's not easy, they'll want to do the same. Soon, you won't be the only one cleaning up the mess.

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