Always Do The Right Thing

Never do the wrong things. If you always do the right things you will be right 100% of the time.

Right Things
22. April 2024 by Click insider / Mindset

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Do The Right Thing

  • Always do the right thing.
  • Never do the wrong thing.

Thou Shall Not Overthink. Keep it simple. Do the right thing. Even if you don't know how. Just do it right.

Endless Right/Wrong Discussions

– But... can't I do just one more wrong thing?

– Why would you? Isn't doing the right thing better than doing the wrong thing?

– Right is right, and wrong is wrong, I guess. But what if it's a gray thing?

– There's shades of gray to everything. Dichotomous thinking as in seeing the world in absolutes, black or white, splitting into false disunions. But black is always black, white is always white. Right is always right, and wrong is always wrong. Wrong is never right.

– The problem is knowing what is right and wrong.

– Right. The rational approach isn't always found in pure reason or logic.

Sometimes you just know you know. You are absolute certain the thing is exactly right, or completely wrong, and that's all you need.

You may have to leverage your wisdom to attain insight into what is right and wrong. Wisdom beats knowledge every time.

The discussion of right and wrong has been going on for thousands of years. The ideas hasn't really advanced since the ancients.

It's Never Too Late To Do The Right Thing

But if you have done something wrong in the past, it's still wrong to this day. It cannot be changed. You did wrong. It's done. Cannot be changed.

If you're doing the wrong things: Stop doing the wrong things now. Begin to do the right things, now. In the future, when you contemplate your past, you will have done more right things, less wrong things. As compared to just keep on doing the wrong things. Stop doing wrong things. Stop doing things that are not right. Stop doing things that are partially wrong. Begin to do things that are right. That is all you need to do. Ever.

If you're doing the right things: Iterate.

Iterate The Right Things

Doing the right things, over and over again, sounds like a good idea.

Iterate. Always do the right thing. Don't stop doing the right things. Do the right things and nothing but the right things. At least, don't do the wrong things. And don't do anything that is not right.

Enjoy the process. Appreciate the results.

Dynamic Adjustments

Turn right, take a step, repeat four times, and you're at the initial position.

The right thing now might not be the right thing tomorrow. The right thing is not context independent. It varies with time, location, individual, and more.

Rebuttal: Gaining From Doing Wrong Things. Great gains can be made from making mistakes. Blunders can yield wisdom and you may learn from your missteps.

Rebuttal rebuttal: If you're truly gaining, your not doing the wrong thing. But is it really a mistake if the results are ultimately great? Is it still wrong? Or is it the right thing?

Rebuttal rebuttal rebuttal: Whatever.

Do the right thing. If you don't know if the thing is right, you don't know, so don't do it if you want to be sure you are doing the right thing. If predicting the consequences is impossible, then it's impossible to know if you're doing the right thing.

Gut Feelings

Trust your intuition. Follow your instinct. If you have a hunch, it must be right? Wrong.

Doing the right things in life isn't always easy.

But if you feel in your gut you're doing the wrong thing, perhaps you should go with the gut feeling.

Don't do the things you feel are the wrong things. You may be wrong about the thing being a wrong thing. What to do?

The problem with gut feeling, instinct and intuition in general:

What feels wrong sometimes ends up being right.

Shakespeare advised us to Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none. This is a Catch-22 of human existence. The infinity loop of trusting/distrusting feelings.

Just don't be a fool. Only a fool will do the wrong thing, even if they feel it's wrong and they think it's wrong and they know it's wrong. True story: Once tried to talk sense to a fool. Fool's response: You're foolish.

Who Cares If It's Right Or Wrong?

Non-psychopaths do.

A psychopath is, by some definitions, someone who know (or rather, think they know) what is wrong, but does not care.

A non-psychopaths is someone with a conscience connected to the act of doing the wrong things.

If someone is doing something you believe is wrong per se, and not just instinctively wrong for them, then it's also wrong for you. But there may be a huge difference between what is actually wrong, and what we think is wrong. Right?

Wrong Is Wrong. Right Is Right.

All by definition.

  • Wrong is wrong. Even if everyone is doing it.
  • Right is right. Even if you are the only one doing it.

The wrong place, the wrong time. The right place, the right time.

What Is Wrong With You? What does this question even mean? Can some things about any person be wrong? People having a disease are not intrinsically wrong. People are what they are, and they do what they do.

What is wrong with anything?

  • Nothing is right.
  • Nothing is wrong.
  • But thinking makes it so.

Doing And Thinking

Nothing is right or wrong, but thinking makes it so. Nothing is right or wrong, not even our thinking. Thinking may be fast, slow. Thinking may not be right, wrong. Our thinking may not even be rational, or straight. You have to learn to think for yourself, but any novice can think. The advanced act. Sages think and act in unison.

You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Very Right Or Very Wrong

The things you do can be very right, somewhat right, somewhat wrong, or just plain wrong.

It's not whether you're right or wrong, but how much money you make when you're right and how much you lose when you're wrong.
George Soros

If you are wrong, and you certainly will be, even if you try your best at doing the right thing, then make sure you're not that wrong. Don't do something completely wrong.

And if you're right, being very right can make a world of difference. Instead of making "just a few millions" you could be making billions. That's the difference between being somewhat right and completely right.

Aim for winning jackpots without gambling. How do you make this happen? Simply make sure you have enough money to keep playing even if you lose. Never accept total failure.

Being very right is appealing, and it may involve substantial risk. Just don't risk everything. If there's a high probability of winning big, but even the slightest possibility of being very wrong, then just don't do it. Don't jeopardize everything for anything.

Being Right Can Be Dangerous

There are risks associated with being right. Cherry-picked quotes supporting the idea:

It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong, said Voltaire, echoing Plato: The “right” is nothing more than what benefits the powerful.

You can be right, and get shamed, punished, imprisoned or killed for saying or doing the right things. Alternatively, you can be right in silence, and avoid shame, punishment, imprisonment or death. Furthermore, your belief that you're right, may be wrong, and as such, is it worth the risk of punishment?

Being right can be dangerous. Through wisdom we may differentiate between right and wrong, but doing the right thing takes courage. Bravery without wisdom and knowledge will be futile.

In The Name Of Righteousness

Even more dangerous than being right are acts of righteousness. Much of the evil and suffering in this world springs from good intentions, eternal rectitude and compliance with moral values.

The pursuit of doing right can eventually lead to cataclysmic consequences. However.

The quest for righteousness can cause hell on earth.

Righteousness may ultimately be an existential threat to the human race. Yet moral nihilism is no substitute.

Doing what is right may be easy. But knowing what is right is what, impossible?

Obviously Not

The Obvious is Dubious. Supposedly self-evident and well-meaning advice such as "to always do the right thing" is not even wrong. It's misguided, absurd, a pointless proposal, hollow talk.

Yet, it is not.

But it is.

No, isn't.

Yes, ist.

Things Undone

A wrongdoer is often a man who has left something undone, not always one who has done something. – Marcus Aurelius

Do The Thing Right

Now that we've written about doing the right things, it's time to discuss how you do the things right.

There's a difference between doing the right thing, and doing the thing right.

Doing the Right Thing (DRT) is related to doing something which aligns with your values, in contrast to doing something that conflicts with your principles. It's often at the meta level of actions; You're questioning the desirability of the outputs.

Doing the Thing Right (DTR) is simply to perform an action correctly and optimizing outputs.

Doing things right 100% of the time is not possible. Some people, when they encounter these words, "not possible", will do everything they can to disprove it. That is probably not a productive mode of operation. Better to prove things to yourself, than to let others dictate what you should do. But let's not digress. It's enough to be very right a few times, and then you can get it wrong many times. Make small mistakes when you're wrong, and hopefully this will teach you all you need to be very right sooner or later.

“You only have to do a few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.”
– Warren Buffett

Effectiveness versus Efficiency

Effectiveness is related to doing the right things. To be effective is to achieve the desired thing.

Efficiency is simply related to doing things right. To be efficient is to achieve something fast, cheaply or with minimal waste.

Consider two thieves:

  • Mr. Capable Criminal. One day this thief manages to steal an old lady's purse with $100 dollars in it, without getting busted. He's an effective criminal.
  • Mr. Profitable Pirate. Meanwhile, this thief steals $1000 dollars out of rich women's purses, taking just the money inside their purses, without anyone ever noticing the felony. He's an efficient pirate.

The first thief was effective (he did the job), the second was both effective (he got the job done) and efficient (he did the job well). But neither of these thieves did the right thing, most would say. Everything is debatable. Stealing is wrong, period. But is it, always? Suppose the thief was stealing money to afford lifesaving surgery for his child? Suppose this occurred in a society where the rich victims were pure evil, baby-eating monsters, would it still be wrong to steal money?

Doing the right things and doing the right things is not the same thing. You read that correctly. Doing the right thing could mean to do something the right way; To do something in a way that accomplishes a goal. There are right ways to steal a purse, and there are wrong ways to steal a purse. If the thief gets busted and sent to jail for stealing a purse, he failed at achieving the goal. In the end, the outcome could benefit him, as he might learn from his mistakes in prison, then not do it again, and eventually benefit from prison time and as a result find honest ways of earning money. But from an effectiveness perspective he still failed at his task, he failed at stealing the purse. He didn't do the right thing, because he failed at stealing the purse and he failed at not getting caught. He also didn't do the right thing, because stealing is the wrong thing to do. The thief may have believed that it was wrong to steal the purse, but he was a shortsighted fool, and did it anyways.

The point is: an action can be executed right and not right simultaneously. There are right ways to steal a purse without getting caught (say, by distracting the victim or whitchever methods a thief may use), and there are the ethical considerations regarding the stealing of purses.

  • Actions can be right, in respect to values. For most people, stealing purses is just wrong, so they will not do it. But for a thief, it can be right, they might not care at all about their victims, they only care about the money in the purse.
  • Actions can be right, in respect to outcome. The purse can be effectively stolen, by definition, as the goal of the thief was to steal the purse without getting caught. If the thief manages to do this multiple times, steal a lot of money, fast and with little risk, he will also become an efficient thief.

In your decision-making, consider:

  • Your values, principles, and the moral philosophy of right or wrong in regards to actions.
  • Your ability, skills and knowledge, and performance in regards to actions.

You can be effective and efficient, but those aren't directly related to ethics. Make sure you're both effective and efficient, bon't forget your values and principles in life and business.

The Art of Awesomeness For Average People

Don't just do the right things right. Aim for awesomeness.

Doing okay is not too bad, but it's not awesome.

You will not be awesome in everything you do. But you might as well try.

What's the alternative to aiming for awesomeness? is it to try to be mediocre? Just average is, for the most part, just fine. But if average is all you aim for, that's probably all you've get. Aim for greatness, and perhaps, just perhaps, you'll triumph and hit the jackpot. Study awesome accomplishments by people you admire, and you'll find that they are on average, pretty average. But, once they've made their home run, they did one great thing. Or perhaps a few. But on average, they too are average, and perhaps even below average.

Awesome is not what you are, it's what you do. Aim for awesome, not average, and eventually you might master the art of awesomeness.

Humans didn't just sorta try to go to the moon and then they went. Nope. They did awesome engineering things, performed awesome research, and did other awesome things, and by trying hard at being awesome, they finally made it to awesomeness. But if you'll take a closer look, there is nothing very special about most successful people. They are, for the most part, average people, had it not been for their quest for awesomeness.

Humans have accomplished astonishing feats individually or by working together. Unfortunately, humans can be astonishingly stupid. That said, give credit where credit is due: We've built a highly technological society, we're both stupid cavemen and smart space-apes. The fact that we, as the stupid apes we are, haven't blown everything to pieces, yet, is pretty damn awesome.

Awesomeness is achieved by doing doing awesome things in awesome ways. Find great things to do, and execute with greatness, and you'll do great.

Making Mistakes The Right Way

  • First, make mistakes. If you're not making mistakes, you're not doing it right.
  • Second, fix mistakes. If you're not correcting your mistakes, you're not doing it right.
  • Third, learn from mistakes. If you do not acknowledge your mistakes, you are the mistake.

The above is true for business, marketing, sales, engineering, science, relationships, cooking, and life in general.

Making errors is no big deal, if they are no big deal. Hedge your bets, and make sure that if you're failing or doing something wrong, it won't impact everything in your life. Make small mistakes and learn from them.

Minuscule mistakes may be merciful. Fatal fails are forbidden.

D'oh! – Homer Simpson

Do The Right Things Right

Just do the right things from all perspectives, anyhow you see it. Do it as right as right can be, and this is how you do that: First, make sure you are doing the right things, aligned with your principles and core values. Then, just do these things the right way, and be as effective and efficient as possible without compromising your ethics.

Simply put:

Do the right things and do the things right.

Proceed with integrity, aptitude, courage and determination, and the things we've discussed here, all things, will turn out all right.

The key to greatness in life and awesome outputs for everything boils down to doing the right things right.

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