By Doug Sandler, “Nice Guys Finish First”
I was raking leaves in my front yard this past Sunday, getting lost in the Zen-like action of pulling the rake through the brown, yellow and red leaves, uncovering the still green color of the grass below. I have not experienced this task for many years, having lived in a condo for several years and prior to that, living in a house with only one token tree in the front yard. Just like Charlie Brown loved his Christmas tree, we loved our tree since it belonged to us. It just wasn’t the same experience as having a mighty oak or two or several maple trees shedding their leaves in autumn. As is often the case, when left on my own, without supervision, my mind started to wander. And since it was Sunday, thoughts of the upcoming week were pulling strong at me. As I mentally started a check-list of to-do items, I quickly stopped myself and redirected my firing synapses.
What if, I thought, instead of a list of tasks, I completed a list of intentions, a focus on big picture actions instead of daily minutia. I’m a big list maker. I know if it somehow manages to get on my list, my goal is to accomplish the task and get it off my list. This week, however, I wanted to try something different. What if, instead of just doing the little things, I wrote down a list of the really big picture things that I wanted to do. I know I can’t make the world a better place by making one big decision or by taking one action step in the right direction. I could however, make the world a better place if EVERY decision I make and every action I take is guided by my moral compass. Without a doubt, we all have a moral compass. The question is, do we follow it as we make our way through life?
I can’t answer any of these moral compass questions for you, but I challenge you to write them at the top of your task lists you write this week. I also challenge you to let the answers to these questions help guide you as you make decisions, take action and follow through with others you come in contact with this week.
- Did I bring good to the world and did I make the world better through my actions today?
- Did I treat others with respect and did I treat them fairly?
- Am I staying true to my beliefs and to myself?
- Am I being compassionate, empathetic and caring?
- Did I do the right thing, even when the right thing was hard to do?
I am confident there are many other questions you can ask yourself to help guide you, direct you and carry you along your journey. If my questions don’t put wind in your sails, come up with a list of your own questions. Your moral compass may not point to the same place as mine (and that’s ok), but, keeping your set of questions in mind, I am pretty sure wherever it takes you, you will feel a huge level of satisfaction when you turn around and recount the journey you just traveled.