22 April, 2008

Doing the right thing

Location: a place of certainty
Mood: uncertain

How can you ever really know you're doing the right thing? I guess if you do something, and then days, weeks, or months later, you look at the world and everything that precipitated from that action seems to have brought about results that could be objectively referred to as "for the best" for all parties involved. But how often do we get to see that? I look at so many decisions in my life, and I can say they're for the best, but what avenues not pursued might have been better?

How do we know?

I have heard people say that if you follow your heart, or your gut, or whatever that inner voice is that won't shut up until you do what it tells you to do, then maybe that's the best we can do? But what if you're completely delusional and that inner voice is telling you to break into pet stores and liberate all the animals? Then, is it still for the best? Never so clear cut, is it?

I've made a lot of changes in my life in the last 2+ years, and even in the last 2+ weeks. And some things changed that were outside of my control. I don't know if what I did was for the best, but for some reason, I feel like for the past maybe year, I have been like Luke Skywalker, with my eyes closed, holding the light sabre, or like Inigo Montoya in Princess Bride, closing my eyes and letting my father's sword guide me to the right path. And please ignore the fact that both of those metaphors involve phallic objects.

And sometimes I step off the path.

Doing the right thing is not, I don't think, always staying on the right path. But it is having the ability to recognize the need for path corrections readily, and to make those corrections no matter how difficult they may be.

This is starting to feel like a personal pep talk, which is not really what I was trying to do. But maybe I need it. Because sometimes I am not so sure I am doing the right thing.

Even when I'm sure...


  1. Other people tell us. Or at least I hope to god they tell us. I've screwed up plenty of times, thinking I was doing the right thing. Some friends kept their mouths shut, and others said, "yo - you're screwing up and here's how." Unfortunately, when we get the results we want by messing up, we're less likely to listen to the people who call us out. At that point we're back to figuring it out ourselves, hopefully not harming too many people in the process. We learn what we learn when we learn it.

  2. I think mulling over an important decision and not flying by the seat of your pants is a good thing. I also think spending too much time looking backwards to analyze decisions that have already been made is probably the shortest road to making you more apt to ignore the heart or gut when it does speak up. Listening to your gut when deciding what you want for lunch today is one thing, but I'd not bother listening to any of your internal organs when making all your other every day decisions. While soliciting advice from friends is helpful, more often than not, I've found that unsolicited advice (for your own good or not) is often met with resistance and even hostility and in my case, an almost spiteful urge to do the exact opposite. But, you're probably more evolved than me. =)

  3. I hope your future is more clear....for your gut AND your head's sake.