Doing the Next Right Thing August 10, 2015 – Posted in: Confidence – Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Are you someone who worries about the future and spends time fretting about the past? Most of us can relate to this state of mind and we all know it gets us nowhere. For some of us, this way of thinking becomes entrenched and consumes the majority of our thought-life, meaning we can never enjoy the moment. I know because I used to live this way myself.

So, what’s the fix? Practising mindfulness is a great way to start learning to be more ‘present’ and, if you have pressing regrets or issues from the past, then talking and writing about these can really help. One simple trick I was taught years ago was to focus simply on doing the ‘next right thing.’ So, when faced with indecision, fear or a crisis I try to remember to ask myself, “What’s the next right thing in this situation?”

Sometimes the next right thing is to do nothing, sometimes it’s to act. Sometimes it’s to wait and sometimes it’s to walk away. Here’s an example…

A few months ago, during the crazy school-day breakfast hour, I turned around to see my 7-year-old about to angrily wallop her younger sister. My usual response in this situation (it’s a regular occurrence, believe me!) is to issue a rather loud and stern warning to her. However, this time I quickly stopped and asked myself what the next right thing would be. In that moment my heart was filled with compassion for her as she struggled to express her rage at the perceived injustice she was experiencing. I physically lifted her away from her sister, held her in a tight hug and repeatedly whispered how much I loved her. Her initial reaction was to fight against my arms but very quickly her body softened into mine before she stood up and calmly returned to the breakfast table, argument forgotten.

Of course, there are times when that response would not be appropriate and children need to learn that hitting someone isn’t acceptable, but in that particular moment my child needed love not reprimand and the love shown to her caused her to be able calm down, eat and get ready for her day at school.

So today, try asking yourself what the next right thing is. If you struggle to ascertain what this is then ask yourself what your wisest, kindest friend would advise you to do. Focusing on doing the next right thing keeps your thoughts in the present and goes a long way towards building a calmer future.

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