Being an adult and having the choices before you of doing what you’d rather do and doing the right thing are around us all the time. We’re entrenched in this debate every day from the small and seemingly inconsequential (“I can take two cookies from the free cookie dispenser,” “No one will see me run this red light”) to the huge, epic, and life changing (“Doctor, pull the plug”). While hopefully your involvement in the latter is minimal, my intention should be clear enough. Somewhere between the taking of an extra free cookie and the taking of another person’s life is where our doing what’s right gene kicks in for most of us. And while “doing the right thing” and “doing what’s right” may not always be the same thing, they’re often along the same track. However when we’re considering “doing what’s right” and “doing the right thing,” there are some times when the right thing and the right thing for you are not always one in the same.
Bailing on Leases: While I’d never suggest it for the lay-person the fact is that there are often times when you need to just call it “time out” on your living situation and move on to something else. If you are going to break a lease but you happen to be a doctor and you’re traveling to a third world country on an indefinite rescue mission, that’s different than being a spoiled little brat and wanting something “nicer.” I’m sure we all fit somewhere in between these two extremes and if that’s the case you’ve got to be honest with your landlord and honest with yourself. Is this an opportunity which smacks in the face of my legal attribution to the apartment? Will there be other opportunities like this in the future? Am I willing to pay the consequences to do this? If the answer to these still takes you away then you should communicate this to your landlord. By doing the right thing and being honest with them you may even get a break on the breaking the lease.
Quitting A Job: The same thing applies here. If you feel that you have to act on a certain opportunity which would otherwise escape you, then you’ve got to just let your job know.
Ending a Relationship: If the sparks just not there anymore, don’t drag it out indefinitely. Ending your relationship sooner rather than later will lead you to ending up finding what makes you more happy in life.
Doing the right thing and doing what’s easy are very easily interchanged. You need to take a good, hard look in the mirror and realize that the easiest thing to do and the right thing to do aren’t often the same thing. However if you do what’s right, what you are supposed to do, then this makes the harder thing a little bit more tolerable as you work your way back to good.