What if I told you that buying a certain ebook would guarantee to positively impact someone else’s life? Or, if there was a prescription pill that you could take that would instantly make you a better person? Well, there’s a phrase that just might help with that. Before I get to that, here’s some context:
Last week, something crazy happened at the gym. I’ve been going there since October of 2015, and I can honestly say that this was the first time this has happened. I was actually blown away, which is quite a statement considering I’ve seen a guy put up 405 for 5 (on incline), not to mention there have got to be at least ten dudes with 20 inch arms. But, what happened that day was quite different – I was walking up the stairs as I normally do to get to the gymnastics rings on the top floor, and on my journey two guys were walking down the stairs. I stepped aside to let them pass, and much to my surprise they said “hey, how’s it going” as they descended. I was shocked. Did these people just say hello to me? Immediately I realized how meaningful this encounter was, and it made me think: this kind of simple but friendly interaction should be happening so much more than it does. Before you accuse me of just being a keyboard activist, I hadn’t done it in my entire tenure at the gym either, so I’m also to blame. However, the interaction forced me think.
It made me think about how such a small gesture can make a big impact on someone. It also made me think about something that Gary Vaynerchuk said that really resonated: “doing the right thing is always the right thing.” This phrase may sound redundant or blatantly obvious, but I’ve said it to myself probably one hundred times since that encounter, and I’d strongly recommend that you do the same. If you are confronted with a tough decision, I guarantee that phrase will make the decision easier. If you’re angry or hurting, it may help you refrain from lashing out despite your pain, because frankly it’s just the right thing to do. If you’re struggling with something, chances are the “right thing” is what is ultimately going to help you. I can’t think of an example where doing the right thing is going to be wrong. Furthermore, you never know when doing the right thing is going to make someone else’s day, as those passerby’s did with their brief acknowledgment.
Along those lines, there was a conversation I had with my wife not long ago, and somehow the topic came up of some tragic event from the news. She said something to the tune of “people are so mean and hateful to one another.” While some media outlets may focus on negativity, I truly believe that we live in a world where good is abundant. Conversely, it is so easy for us to see something negative and to point at society and say THIS OR THAT is the main problem, yet we fail to look internally prior to placing blame. The fact of the matter is that we, as individuals, make up society, and therefore must hold ourselves accountable. Are we doing anything to influence society in a positive light? Are we saying to ourselves each time that doing the right thing is always the right thing? If in simple interactions, I fail to acknowledge those around me at the gym that have similar goals, dreams, and aspirations, then who am I to blame society as a whole for not being kind? That being said, I do believe that people genuinely are good and care for one another, but for some of us (like me) it takes a wake up call to realize that we can be doing much more to display our benevolence, even if it comes in the form of small, friendly gestures.
There are so many minute things that we can do, that are the right thing to do, and they take little to no effort or investment on our part. It doesn’t cost us a single penny to smile at someone, to be polite in conversation, to acknowledge those around us, to like or share something positive on social media, to not cut someone off in traffic, to refrain from saying something, to work a little bit harder to benefit those around us, to not groan as we wait in line for our Venti Starbucks, yet these are things I fail to do each day.
However, perhaps by implementing the mentality that “doing the right thing is always the right thing,” I can start getting on a better track. Perhaps if we all say this little phrase to ourselves each time we are contemplating something, we can make someone else’s day just a little bit better. Who wouldn’t want that?