Do The (Next) Right Thing
“There's a concept in Hinduism called "dharma," which means "duty." Your dharma is to always do *the next right thing*, without attachment to the consequences (karma). When you follow your dharma, good karma naturally flows from it. When you don't, it doesn't.“
I’m not a religious person, nor would I call myself overly spiritual, but I do believe in the old saying, “what comes around, goes around”. Which is probably why the above tweet from Asha Rangappa resonated so strongly with me the other day.
While almost all of us always want to do the right thing, many times I think we get caught up in the mental calculations of what the immediate follow on impact will be, who will (or won’t) see it or, perhaps, what others might think. We overthink it, or rather, actually, we tend to think it, versus just do it.
And that’s because we don’t intrinsically believe it’s our “duty” to do the next right thing. We treat it as a choice, an option, something we can choose, or not.
Our rationalization is that this specific event or occurrence or action doesn’t really matter, it isn’t of material consequence, but we’ll make it up on the “important stuff”, where we always do the right thing.
The thing is, though, that there’s no optionality in the concept of dharma - at least in my understanding. So we don’t actually have a choice, certainly not if we truly believe in the concept of always doing the next right thing. (I also think karma - or goodwill or cosmic law and order or whatever you want to call it - builds on itself. It feeds the cosmic engine, so to speak, so that order is maintained in our broader context.)
That’s an idea that I think is very relevant in whatever we do - professional as well as personal.
There’s no call for complex machinations, no need for overthinking a situation. There is always the next right thing. And, almost always, that next right thing is as clear as day. That’s not to suggest it’s always easy, or that it won’t impact different people in different ways. “To be right” isn’t always “to please”.
But it is right. And, without any attachment to the consequences, we just need to do it.