July 18, 2017

Doing things right vs. Doing the right thing

As I was meditating this morning, two thoughts crossed over each other.  It is these intersecting thoughts which provide the foundation for this article.

First, I was reflecting on in the engagement of activities and behaviors I know I need to do. Regardless of the nature of some activities, the experiences associated with them provide a sense of confidence in knowing I am on my defined path.

Then, I noted there were some behaviors not derived from a sense of knowing, but from a sense of needing. I became aware there were activities I was engaged in solely derived from a need for results and outcomes. The success of these behaviors defined my sense of frustration or joy to engaging in them.

Am I doing things right or am I doing the right things?

  • Doing things right have to do with motivation and purpose.
  • Doing the right things have to do with outcome and performance.

Yes, they sound somewhat similar, yet there is a distinct difference.

Doing things right comes from my inner being. In my heart, I know what I need to do. Whether it is relating to faith, health, love, relationships, or purpose, the calling comes from within. I know exactly what I need to be doing to accomplish what is in my heart for my life. I call this, doing things right – doing what is right for who I am, what I stand for and where I am going.

Doing the right thing is influenced, if not defined by our external influences. There are times when I get caught up in my expectations of results or my need for affirmation in my activities. Call it fear based thinking. When outcomes or results aren’t going according to plan or timing, I feel as though I am not as successful as I could or should be relative to my expectations or the performance of others. This often causes me to seek the advice or counsel of trusted friends or advisors who lend direction to the tactics I need to engage in to get better results. Unfortunately, these are not from within or defined by me, but are based on someone else’s assumption of what they could or should be.

Here is the conflict. Doing the right thing is a performance driven behavior. When I am performing, I am engaging in an activity specifically designed to make something occur. I become dependent upon making it occur and can only find satisfaction, fulfillment, or affirmation in realizing the outcome. Doing the right thing makes me captive to the results and outcomes; hence, my behaviors are defined by what it would take for those to occur.

Doing things right relies trust and patience. First, it requires I trust in myself and in the activities and behaviors to drive me to where I desire to be. Two, have confident patience that not everything occurs according to my timeline. I get out of sync when I start to do things with the result in mind, rather than remaining confidently engaged in something I know how good it is for me and those around me.  It is a dangerous place to lose the confident connection with my inner self and become less trusting and impatient with the pace things.

When I get out of sync, as I am right now, I need to step back and focus on what my inner voice is telling me. This may mean altering some of my existing behaviors and activities to get back on track. Of course, this will take confident courage as some of my existing disruptive activities have become a habit and my commitment to related outcomes may be hard to let go of.  I know how toxic these behaviors can become to the overall direction for my life’s purpose.  As a result, I need to focus more on what I need to hold on to (doing things right) and what I need to let go of (doing the right things) in order to get back on the path I have been called to be on.

On this Thursday’s “Inside the Blog” podcast, I will talk more about how I apply these perspectives to my experiences as a parent on my addiction journey, how this influences my interactions with others, and how I incorporate this into goal setting and planning activities.  In the meantime, I would ask you to take some time to reflect on your activities, decisions, and behaviors and what drives them. Are you focused on doing things right or are you more committed to doing the right thing?


Want more insights from this blog? Join me on the podcast “100Pedals Talk: Inside the Blog” as I delve deeper into this post and share personal stories or reflections behind the article. (Note: The podcast relating to any particular blog is released on Thursday of the same week this blog is posted.) Subscribe to this podcast on I-Tunes here.

I would love to hear from you. What issues are confronting you today? Where are you currently experiencing fear and shame relating to the struggles in your life? I have some pretty cool tools to guide you and would love to help.  Please let me know: dave@100Pedals.com.

 Dave Cooke is going on the Road! Learn more about this year’s cross county cycling trip from Charleston, SC to San Diego, CA at Cycling for Recovery 2017.



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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.