Bill Cottringer

“The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.”
~ Norman Schwarzkopf.

There are two very important questions you should ask yourself. Having the right answers can determine the quality of your life in regards to the amount of success and happiness you get to enjoy. These two questions are:

1. Do I know what the “right” thing to do is?
2. Why don’t I always do it?

It is usually much easier to answer the first question, but then that is where all the work begins finding out the answer to the second one. If you don’t always know the answer to the first question, you may have some serious learning work ahead of you.

Learning the 5% that matters most from the 95% rest, about the way life really works:

Learning about ethics and morality.
Learning how to separate the truth from fiction.
• Learning problem-solving and decision-making skills.
• Learning the connection between your choices and their outcomes.

Now onto answering the second question that eludes most of us for too long. The answer has to do with our human nature that we often hide behind and offer as an excuse for not being where we need to be in our personal growth journey—closing the gap between where we are and where we want to be.

1. We are all born with a conscience, or inner voice, which clearly and directly “knows” right from wrong. But as we grow up, and as Psychologist Thomas Moore first distinguished, this single conscience splits into a “moral half” and a “psychological half.” And the more experienced in life we get, the more we tend to listen to the louder half—our active and noisy psychological conscience. This is where we add personal considerations that blur the line between right and wrong with rationalizations, justifications, excuses, exceptions and even inventing personal definitions. Soon the whispers of our shrinking moral conscience become silent from being drowned out by the louder yells of its growing, noisier counterpart. For the lucky few this doesn’t happen to, they serve as a silent, but very bright light for the rest of us to see and follow.

2. Despite what we think and feel, the ‘truth and rightness’ is always right there under our noses, as Norman Schwarzkopf noted in his quote above. It is always there to be heard and followed and we can’t deny that reality no matter how hard we try to not listen and go our own private way. That is why we experiment so much in life and find so many different ways of stalling in not starting to do what is right and not stopping doing what is wrong. During this stalling period, we constantly challenge the ‘truth and rightness’ to prove itself to us beyond any reasonable doubt. But since it doesn’t have to, it doesn’t.

The real answer to the second question is this: We know what is ‘true and right’ and we know how to do it even though we try very hard not to. And, in doing anything in our perpetual quest to be happier and more successful in our journey, we wait until the last possible moment to ‘surprise’ ourselves by actually proving it. The trouble with this strategy is that it is like holding your breath under water to see how long you can do it. Unfortunately somewhere in between, you can easily lose consciousness, drown and die. Those are the sad life failures we all see as the passive people who have given up hope and courage and no longer try to grow and improve—from the street addicts, homeless and petty thieves to the greedy white-collar financiers, war lords and oppressive despots.

Don’t wait until it is too late to decide which twin within will rule your house, because that choice is what determines all the others you make and all the results you get. This is simply the way life works and the quicker you see this, the less unhappiness you will have from the inevitable misfortunes that happen. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes and you really don't want to risk losing consciousness, drowning and dying before you get to the real finish line in your personal life journey. Seek the right answer to this second question with all your might. It is worth it. And if by chance you are one of the lucky few whose light is shining bright for the rest of us, keep shining it.

“The silent truth not spoken can’t be spoiled by our private distortions.” ~The author.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is Executive Vice-President for Employee Relations for Puget Sound Security, Inc. in Bellevue, WA, along with his hobbies in being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the peaceful but invigorating mountains and rivers of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, “You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too” (Executive Excellence), “The Bow-Wow Secrets” (Wisdom Tree), “Do What Matters Most” and “P” Point Management” (Atlantic Book Publishers), “Reality Repair” (Global Vision Press), Reality Repair Rx (Authorsden), and “If Pictures Could Talk,” coming soon. Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or