I work in an industry that I have the unfortunate task of having to tell people no. There are clients of mine that will create and stick to an aggressive budget for two years or more while making sacrifices that I haven’t had to endure since I was a poor college student in Portland eating Top Raman and Saltines for all three meals. They save steadfastly for months to accomplish one goal. When the numbers simply don’t add up and I’m not able to help them with their dream, I have to tell them no. Because we live in a digital world, I often have the option to hide behind an email address or computer screen as we electronically transfer mass amounts of personal information through the interwebs. It would be acceptable, or outright normal for me to successfully finish my job without ever meeting face to face the person I’m helping. For all the advantages of being able to conduct business electronically for those I can help, it remains true for those I can’t. A simple email or online application denial would suffice. I call that the easy way. For me, it’s never an option.
I learn humility regularly as part of my standard job function. You learn a lot about yourself when you have the responsibility of telling someone no when they are seeking an approval on a professional level. It takes a substantial amount of character to consistently do what is right when what is easy is acceptable. I feel what is considered acceptable has bled into other parts of daily life as well. I’d go as far as to equate what is now considered acceptable in society to what is easy, or Acceptable = Easy. We have a tendency to take the easy way out on most, if not all decisions we make. I urge you not to. Limit taking the easy way, practice what is right instead.
Think back over decisions you’ve made to successfully navigate your routine for just today. In what ways could you have gone past what was easy, and entered into what was right? How could having done the right thing vs the easy thing improved the situation? How could it have saved a friendship, work relationship or maybe even your marriage? These decisions matter, and we consistently make them with careless abandon. Today and for every day here after I challenge you to do what is right, not what is easy. That is your mission, should you choose to accept it.