If you can never go wrong by doing what's right, then what's wrong with doing the right thing?
In the Amish culture that I grew up in, doing the right thing meant being responsible, helping others in need, and never depending on others to do what you’re capable of doing for yourself.
There was no such thing as entitlement or handouts. We didn’t have heroes or make memorials because we chose to see everybody as equal.
The Amish are some of the most generous people and help those who are genuinely in need. If you have a financial setback, they come together to help. They even have their own insurance that meets any financial need that may come about because of a disaster, accident, or health issue.
They all contribute whenever the need is impossible because they realize they might be the next person who needs help.
Being a part of this community taught me all about helping those in need, making my own way, and earning my own living. We were taught to be contributors to society rather than consumers.
All of these things were considered the “right” way to live.
These ways of living were branded so deep in my conscience that it was nearly impossible to take anything that was not mine or even consider that someone owed me anything.
But…on one occasion, at the age of 12, I stole a quarter out of the market money box for candy I wanted. It was closing time at my parent’s farmers market stand in Philadelphia. I had my section to clean, but when I finished, I snuck away and went to the candy store with the quarter I stole.
All these years later, I clearly remember my thoughts as I bought the candy. I loved red licorice, and I WANTED red licorice! After the clerk handed me the candy, I suddenly realized I had to figure out how I would take it home without anyone knowing!
My heart and mind were racing. As a little 12-year old girl, I was learning how to silence my conscience. We all learn this to different degrees.
I never entirely conquered how to silence my conscience completely. Something I’m grateful for every day.
I was, however, able to sneak the candy home and enjoy it all alone when no one was around, but I never stole another quarter.
I never "fessed up" until later in my adult life, and when I did, it was merely a funny story, but I felt better after I told my parents.
I've had to make many wrongs right in my life. My parents instilled a moral compass in me that doesn’t let me feel good about doing wrong.
In business, I’ve never felt good about paying my invoices late. I’ve never felt good about taking advantage of employees. I've never felt good about using people to create my success.
Several years ago, I was asked during a Q&A, "How do you know what doing the right thing is?”
I thought for a minute and responded, "If you don't know what the right thing is, then do the hard thing, and that's most likely the right thing.”
Doing what's right may be the most challenging thing you've ever done, but you'll feel a great sense of satisfaction.
I’m certainly not perfect at this. Just ask Jonas, and he'll confirm that.
I’m still learning and practicing. As you do the right thing more and more, however, you'll find it becomes your natural way of life. You learn that “if your conscience doesn't condemn you when you do wrong, you need to condemn it."
Are there any wrongs you keep thinking about? You can’t go wrong by righting them.
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