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Doing the Next Right Thing

There is almost always a risk in being a Good Samaritan. To stop by the side of the road, even when there appears to be no physical danger, always includes choosing for one thing and against another. Doing the right thing often requires neglecting something else that may be urgent. That neglect may irritate someone. That neglect may delay something you feel is important.


My Administrative Assistant arrived late one morning, which bothered me. She explained that her nephew was seriously ill and she had stopped to take him some food and encouragement. My slight irritation was unimportant, because she was doing the right thing, even though she was seemingly neglecting her office job. That is the way it is; you can't really care very extensively without bothering or neglecting something or someone else; at least some of the time. We must make choices.


A popular expression these days is, "do the next right thing." I think what that means is that at this particular moment, you have a choice about something. The next thing you are facing involves a choice. And the choice you make should be the 'right thing.' So the 'next' thing you do should be the 'right' thing.

My Assistant did just that. In the bigger picture, taking care of her nephew was more important than her job. Those words don't sit well with a boss or a manager in the workplace, but they are nevertheless true, as I said, 'in the bigger picture.' So I ask forgiveness for my being bothered at the time — I was obviously in the mindset of the 'workplace'. But I can look back at it now and easily see that she did 'the next right thing.'

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