Do the right thing. Do it whether or not anyone is watching or keeping track or keeping score. Do the right thing when you don’t want to, when you want to do the wrong thing, and when you don’t want to do anything at all. Do the right thing when there is no possible way you’ll gain from doing it. Do it every time you know what the right thing is, every time you have a choice, and every time you feel like you don’t have a choice. You do. You might feel like there are way too many right things to do and you don’t know where to start. Start with the right thing that is right in front of you and then keep going.
Not doing the right thing is wrong. Not doing the right thing, for all sorts of good reasons, is wrong. There will always be reasons to not to the right thing: I was tired, I was busy, I didn’t know how, I didn’t know it was my job, I didn’t think anyone would mind, I didn’t have time, money, or the tools. If you know what is right, then figure out how to do it and do it. Period.
Never apologize for doing the right thing.
Doing the right thing won’t always make you happy. Sometimes it will make you downright miserable, but failing to do the right thing will feel worse and last longer. Doing the right thing won’t always feel good, and it won’t make other people happy either. But once you’ve determined what the right thing is, you can’t shirk the responsibility that comes with that knowledge. With knowledge comes responsibility and it is a burden at times. The burden of guilt or lack of self respect that comes from failing to do the right thing is worse.
I do my best to live by this simple rule. I don’t always succeed. I’m not a nice person, not a kind person. But I strive to be a good person.