Do The Next Right Thing

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When you are having a hard time, feeling stuck is difficult, but there is an answer. Just take one next step and do the next right thing.

A bunch of brown stone steps in the forest surrounded by trees with no leaves and a light coming through the top of the stairs

Just Do The Next Right Thing

Sometimes life is overwhelming. It is a long, winding path and we can’t always see what’s beyond the next hurdle. We try to push through, but we’re at a dead end – and there is no telling how long we might be stuck there. 

Life is not easy. It can be joyous and incredible, tragic and complicated, but it is not easy. No one said that it would be and if they did, they weren’t telling you the truth.

Let’s be honest though – if we got to the end of our lives and pondered about what we’d been through, would we really want it to have been easy? A life with only sunshine and chocolate and no bumps and lurches doesn’t seem like one you’d learn from. Would it really have been worth living? So while life isn’t easy, I do believe it is worth it. 

It has been a very long 2020 and 2021 so far. Regardless of your political, religious, or personal stances concerning the world and the pandemic over the last year and a half, there is one thing that we all have in common. We have all been through – and continue to go through – a collective trauma.

At some point, this will end completely and we will begin the work of healing ourselves, but we’re not there yet – even though there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

While I’m not sure if we will ever go through a trauma of this magnitude again (and I hope we don’t), our lives are full of difficult moments. There is lots of uncertainty and there are lots of eggshells to walk. 

And when you get to that point, where many of us have now been for a good while and will be again in the future, there is only one thing that you can do. You can take one single step and do the next right thing. 

If you are a fan of Disney movies and have seen Frozen 2 (or Frozen II?), you are familiar with the song that Anna sings in a dark cave called Do The Next Right Thing. She is having a very hard time and is completely unsure of how to solve her problem. So she focuses on her next choice – and only that next choice.  

Now, we all know that Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) is the quirky good girl that can get herself in trouble, but without any spoilers, she knows that any decision that she makes will likely hurt someone. So she is in a pickle that lots of us find ourselves in – where there may not be a clear next right decision. None of us wants to hurt anyone, but by choosing to remain stuck, we hurt everyone. 

When you truly don’t know what tomorrow might hold, doing the next right thing is about all you can do. And it is the answer to being stuck. It may be about living from one breath to the next breath, but you have to continue to live. You have to go on and you have to be responsible for your own life. 

We all have big decisions to make in life – even if those decisions might look small to someone else. They are yours and a lot of people may not understand. What they think of you is none of your business, so let that lie just where it is. Release it. 

Those people do not live your everyday life. They do not see the whole thing, so be careful not to allow them to add their voices to the running monologue in your head.

We all have that voice, whether it sends us in the right direction or tells us to do the wrong thing. Those tiny voice whispers of inner speech that sometimes you wish would just go away. And making that happen is up to you. 

We are all struggling with decision fatigue. We are exhausted now and will be for the foreseeable future. But just because we are sluggish doesn’t give us the right to make excuses. There are good times to be had and better decisions to be made. Don’t be the person in your life who has given up on growth. Take that unmade decision off the shelf and do the next thing. 

One of the things that we’ve discovered a million little ways in the last year is that we are not in control of very much. And that can be a terrifying realization in the midst of uncertainty, but why not flip the script. Why not see this through a fresh perspective and take it as a life lesson. 

The world is a better place with you in it. Not being in control of every little situation means that you have the right to be present and live in the present. What you thought you controlled, you didn’t. I don’t want to burst any bubbles, but none of us did, and none of us will. Control is an illusion that makes us more comfortable, but may not be in our best interests all of the time. 

This too shall pass, as they say. And while I truly hope we don’t go through a collective trauma like the pandemic again, there will be more traumas in our lives, large and small. So when you get to another threshold of what seems like a dead end, remember that all you have to do is the next right thing. 

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