I'm continuing to write a set of Sunday posts that revisit in turn the ideas Tony Schwartz offered in "Turning 60: The twelve most important lessons I've learned so far". This week, I'm considering the tenth of Schwartz's observations:
"Do the right thing because it's the right thing to do, and don't expect anything in return. Your values are one of the only possessions you have that no one can take away from you. Doing the right thing may not always get you what you think you want in the moment, but it will almost always leave you feeling better about yourself in the long run. When in doubt, default to calm and kind."
Schwartz's thoughts here echo Nicholas Zakas, who wrote "The thank you that changed my life", the starting point for a post I wrote last Tuesday. Both men write about doing the things you think are right without expecting return. In Zakas's case, he also sees a long-term link between his positive behavior and how his career has evolved.
I like that Schwartz extends his advice to include a call to "default to calm and kind." I can get frustrated when something I've done or worked hard on is kind of absorbed into the mix without credit or recognition. That's always short-sighted and debilitating. Good ideas help start conversations, but few conversations can take place when at least one of the parties is agitated.
An additional note: In the United States, today is Veteran's Day, an occasion of remembrance initially tied to the date that the Great War (later renamed World War I) formally ended. While we can and do question wars, the sacrifices of individual women and men reflect a commitment to do something they think is right or necessary. I'm fortunate to count a father, an uncle, a cousin and two nephews among those who have served, selflessly, for this country.