in: Advice, Character, Sunday Firesides

• Last updated: June 1, 2021

Sunday Firesides: Do the Right Thing, for Right Now

A poster of "Do the right thing for right now".

In times of uncertainty, when a seemingly big decision looms, we often agonize over how to move forward. We have an idea of where we want to be five, ten, twenty years down the road, and we want to make sure our choice will lead to one thing, which will lead to another, which will ultimately lead to our desired future.  

Which would be fine if life were a long, straight corridor in which you could view the end from the beginning, as well as each checkpoint you’d need to hit along the way.

But instead, life is full of twists and turns, and around each corner lie not only setbacks you couldn’t have anticipated, but possibilities you cannot even conceptualize from your current position. As you move forward, you will encounter opportunities you can no more imagine now than a color you’ve never before seen.

For example, a college student stresses over whether to major in biology or history, worried that neither seems quite right . . . with no inkling that in a few years’ time an app he’ll create for fun will divert his ambitions into an entirely unforeseen career in tech.

Fruitless it is then to become paralyzed in trying to plot a course on life’s map . . . when its seemingly static contours will soon be in flux.

Planning can be useful, but we don’t need to see multiple steps in advance in order to make a move. In fact, taking action, even on an option that seems less than ideal, is the only way for additional, better possibilities to emerge.  

You don’t need to make a choice that will work for you indefinitely. You just need to make a choice that will take you around the next corner.  

You just need to choose the right thing, for right now.

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