Posts Tagged With: Dr. John’s “Right Place Wrong Time”

Day 774: What’s the right thing to do?

“What’s the right thing to do?” is a question I can ask myself, quite frequently.

Lately, I’ve been asking myself that question about:

  1. Preparing for a trip to California, starting tomorrow.
  2. Preparing for tax day, April 15.
  3. Preparing for my high school’s 45th reunion, some time in 2015.
  4. Preparing for the rest of my life.
  5. Interacting authentically with people, balancing my needs with their needs.
  6. Deciding, with the help of a cadre of cardiologists,  how to keep my very unusual heart beating, for as long as possible.
  7. Writing today’s blog post.

While asking

What’s the right thing to do?

can be important and helpful,  focusing TOO MUCH and TOO OFTEN on

“What’s the right thing to do?”

can be paralyzing and overwhelming, especially when right or wrong is not obvious.

When I am leading therapy groups at the Boston hospital where I work, I often say

There is no right or wrong way to do this.

I like saying that. And, people in the groups seem to like hearing that, too. Maybe that’s because we can all get caught up in the “cognitive distortion” of all-or-nothing thinking:

All-or-Nothing thinking (also known as “Black-and-White thinking”).
Things are either all good or all bad, people are either perfect or failures, something new will either fix everything or be worthless. There is no middle ground; we place people and situations in “either/or” categories, with no shades of gray, or allowing for complexities. Watch out for absolute words like “always”, “never,” “totally,” etc. as indications of this kind of distortion.

Today, Friday the 13th, February 2015, I hereby resolve to let go of right-or-wrong, all-or-nothing, and black-and-white thoughts that get in the way of my moving forward.

Instead, I’m going to allow room for shades of grays and the full spectrum of colors, like in these photos:


IMG_5428 IMG_5429 IMG_5430 IMG_5432 IMG_5431 IMG_5436

Yesterday, I couldn’t figure out

What’s the right thing to do?

… to load all those photos from my iPhone to my laptop.  Sometimes, just waiting patiently resolves a problem.

That last photo shows a new snow shovel that my wonderful downstairs neighbor, Karen, recently bought for us, to help us deal with all the !!@&!!!! snow in Boston  (see here, here, here, here, and here, for more details and images about that).

I don’t have to worry about

What’s the right thing to do?

with that shovel, until I get back from California.

I’m going to ask myself, just one more time:

What’s the right thing to do?

… before I publish this post.  What’s the right music to include here?

Do you have any ideas? Because I’m a little distracted today.

Maybe I should take my own advice:

 Sometimes, just waiting patiently resolves a problem.

Got it!

Dr. John performing “Right Place, Wrong Time” is in the right place here on YouTube.

Thanks to doctors everywhere, to anybody who has ever asked “What’s the right thing to do?” and to you — of course! — for being the right place at whatever time, today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 47 Comments

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