Saturday 11 July 2015

Do The Right Thing vs Doing Things Right

I am rehashing an old post which I think can be a good idea to revisit in light of recent events.

Do read the below post and especially the comments section: 

Efficiency versus Effectiveness

Don't worry, I'll wait for you. Take your time.


Most of the time, especially at our pay scales, we are only familiar with setting Corporate goals for Doing Things Right - we focus on quicker, better, cheaper. Efficiency rules!

This becomes an unconscious habit when we set goals for our private lives.

We often overlook the Elephant in the room - why are we doing it in the first place?

For if we do not get the direction "right", all we do, despite our fancy goal settings and planning, may be about going in the "wrong" direction more efficiently!?

How many of us in our 40s and above have the epiphany where we have hit our goals and arrived exactly where we have planned only to realise our ladder has been leaning against the "wrong" wall?


  1. SMOL,

    If you know yourself well, and have knowledge to make urself confident enough, eventually u will choose to do what is right and ignored the noise!

    The problems with doing things right is so typical Sg education and a typical Sg corporate culture when their boss is Ang moh. When the Ang moh boss say all the wrong things, they also agree and do the things the boss want! In school teacher will say the most obedient student is the one that will succeed in the society! Rarely it happens and always those who r slight rebellious in school who sometimes do their own way can be the ones high flying when in society.

    I prefer to do the right things and justify why I am doing it right! I like to do it my way... and yet listen to other people's way..Hahhaa

    1. Rolf,

      It's quite interesting to see professionals like lawyers, doctors, switch lines completely to become playwrights, traders, politicians, entrepreneurs, etc.

      Some even become stay at home moms and dads!

      Of course they will be "noises" that lament on the time and resources "wasted"...

      When we were younger and no clue what we want to do in life, it's perfectly alright to add in a "space filler" like X amounts by Y years.

      But there's only so much we can do to kick the can down the road...

      What's the purpose of public transportation? (To provide dividends to shareholders?)

      Why are you a parent? (Happened by accident or you planned it?)

      What's the purpose of living? (For X amounts by Y years? Then you cannot kick big daddy for overly focusing on GDP growth. You both sama sama.)

      What's with personal finance? (You idolise and prostrate before it? Or treat it as a tool no different like a screwdriver?

    2. What's the purpose of public transportation?
      To provide jobs? To allow reporters have News to report?

      Why are you a parent? bcos all my friends just have babies? bcos I m already old? bcos our PM says so?

      What's the purpose of living? Ask my mother! For my kids? Working? Earning? I don't know?

      What's with personal finance?
      Because it's cool to save n invest! Bcos I can announce to the world I am FF or I m frugal or I m good in investing? To have more time eventually? More time to do what?

      Fundamentals we tend to forget!

    3. Rolf,

      Just as long as our compass is pointing to "our True North", all is well :)

  2. Hi SMOL

    We really think alike at times. I am about to write a post on similar topic. I will link my post with yours, in less than 30 minutes time. A short and simple one. :)

    1. I have posted :


    2. Frugal Daddy,

      Good post!

      When asked what colour is the dress, some will just say what they see and moved on.

      Some will argue till they are blue why they are "right" and others "wrong".

      Some will be interested WHY different people see different colours and investigate further. Not to prove who is "right:, but how different lighting conditions can fool how our brains process the data our eyes see.

      Some will ignore what they perceive and just see and agree with what the "majority" see. It's a blue and black dress! Confirm! How? Others say so mah!

  3. Hi SMOL,

    Good reminder. Doing the right things can be very different from doing things right. Haha, I'm one of those wasted resource, studying in an extremely hard engineering course and ended up being a mere tutor LOL

    We should strive to do the right things right ;) But is doing the wrong things wrongly considered as righting the wrong? I can imagine a disgruntled employee, pissed off with the new direction that the boss had prescribed, and start sabotaging the efforts in his own little way! HAHA

    1. LP,

      Just imagine the time and resources "lost" if you had lived your life according to the best intentions of others (even your love ones)... And only realise it in your mid-40s when you can't lie to yourself no longer ;)

      Cut-loss is a great technique when it comes to relationships and activities that do not make us happy too!

  4. SMOL,

    I have a rather different take.

    What is "right"?

    It is not easy to answer as compare to what is wrong.

    Some people says "happy can already", I dun hurt people, I happy, so I am right.

    Some people guide by goals and KPI as "right" and rightfully so, I also have a problem with this type of righteousness.

    Some right are guide by "value" and the targeted audience. But when value come into play, it is still right when the effort is not "worth it". Right in the sense, depends on destination.

    Personally, right and wrong is rather blur.

    The wrong direction is wrong.

    Who decide the right direction? The destination? The shortest path? The most enjoyable path?

    Discovery vs Discovered?

    Once, discovered? The joy of discovery is gone ...??

    1. Sillyinvestor,


      My post is all about thinking for yourself and doing what's right by you ;)

      Diversity of opinions are good!

      But you have not shared with us what's your take yet...

      Asking rhetorical questions does not count. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

      I know you can do it!

    2. My take is happy can liao.

      Problem is not so sure about "I"

      Dun hurt people, include emotional too.

    3. Sillyinvestor,

      How you feel is in harmony with what you say in your previous comment. I hear you.

      You yourself have to figure out "who" you are.

      What I've expressed is not the majority mainstream view. You say you have another take but you couldn't bring yourself to side with the majority... That's why I was "pushing" you to make a stand.

      "Do the right thing".

      On the prosaic level, it can mean wearing the same underwear for five days if you think that's "right".

      Or it can be as philosophical and to the core of our cultural mores as:

      1) Once upon a time, it was the "right thing" to have a fellow human being as slave.

      2) Societies once thought its the "right thing" not to provide education to women as you wouldn't want women to have a mind of their own! Women were part of the "assets" of men like sheep that can be "rented out" or "sold and bartered" when the man is in debt...

      3) The US Supreme Court has recently made a ruling joining US to a growing list of countries that recognise we should do no emotional and penal harm to two individuals who just want to be happy together. Never mind they are "different" from the mainstream majority.

      If you are familiar with Oriental spirituality like Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, etc; the concept of "I" is very interesting.

      I am discovering more of myself every day. To aid my cultivation, I put myself between hammer and anvil ;)

      Does it hurt?

      I won't tell you :)

  5. When it is you and you only; there is no such thing called "doing thing right" or "doing the right" e.g. you are a single living alone in your own home; you can continue to wear your underwear for five days also no right or wrong. LOL!

    1. CW,

      Isn't that what most people do?

      The moment they step out of their room (don't talk about house yet), they put on a mask and become another person...

      I've seen how some of my Singaporean acquaintances behave when they step out of Singapore. Suddenly under the guise of anonymity, they become totally another person!?

      I've also seen Singaporean friends that I respect. In Singapore they don't litter, overseas they don't. Singapore don't womanise, outside don't give other women a single look.

      There's a word we use to describe people who behave one way when they think they are alone; and behave in another way when they think others are watching ;)

    2. Hi SMOL,

      Keyboard warriors are also like that... Some sales people are like true family man in Singapore then go overseas forget even their own names... kind of wondering which is their true nature and when the truth reveals itself.

      Anyway, coming back to the topic, our education system and politics taught us to be obedient so it's not natural for the majority to question things! Can be bad, but can be good too...

    3. Hello Jes,

      I guess we have seen too much during our business travels!

      Well, it has worked well for the first 50 years - big daddy decides which way to go and little boys and girls follow.

      Now the little boys and girls have become teenagers seeking their own voice and space.

      Trying times for both teenagers and big daddy undergoing this transition pain.

      Let's hope teenagers will grow up to become responsible adults ;)

  6. How many of us can still do the right thing under a different circumstances?
    Who wants to be a thief if he has a choice or attention?
    Who wouldn't want to do the right or rightous thing if possible?
    If everyone can do the right thing, everything is right!

    1. WolfT,

      Hence the Carpenter of Nazareth tells us its easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven.

      All good things need effort.

      If anyone and everyone can do it, what's the point again?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...