You Can Be Right and Still Be Wrong

Ethical dilemmas are the moments that define you

Katrina Paulson
Dec 13, 2020 · 6 min read

Rules are Everywhere

Rules single-handedly shape everything we know about life. We all know following the rules is supposed to be considered right, while not following the rules is wrong. With the exceptions of math and science, rules can be broken, but they don’t disappear unless they’re replaced with new ones. Despite the occasional inconvenience, rules make our lives easier and appease our fears of the unknown by letting us know what to expect.

Think about it this way, every aspect of your life and how you go about your day is defined by deciding which rules to follow — otherwise known as your choices.

In most cases, we follow the rules without realizing we’re making a choice. For example, you’ll show up on time and do your job, if you don’t want to get fired. It seems like a no brainer, yet you get up every day and make the choice to do your work instead of calling out sick or no-showing.

Inner Rules

Similarly, our experiences shape our opinions of what’s right and what’s wrong. I hate being lied to, for example. In my experience, lying tarnishes my relationship with the offender. Lying makes me question things I thought I knew and impairs my ability to trust in the future. So, honesty is a rule people need to follow if they want a relationship with me. In other words, honesty is one of my values.

Outer Rules

When you were young, you were taught to say please and thank you. Doing so is the most basic form of showing respect during an exchange — as opposed to taking whatever you want, whenever you want.

When Rules Conflict

Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations where the outer rules don’t line up with our inner rules for what’s right. Also known as an ethical or moral dilemma.

Deciding What to Do

Like snowflakes, every dilemma is unique. Circumstances vary for every situation which makes it difficult to create a precise formula for success. If there was such a thing, then our problems would be a thing of the past instead of something we face on the regular.

Take Away

The best way to solve a tough problem is by understanding it. Though even after you understand the problem, it doesn’t mean the answer will be easy to accomplish. What it really comes down to is, what you can live with and who you are.

Final Thoughts

Choosing what you feel is right, won’t always align with someone else’s definition of right. Often you’ll be pressured to choose the option other people want. We all know peer pressure is hard to say no to, but the alternative is worse. Going along with something you don’t agree with is how you end up living a life with good intentions but little to show for them.

Curious

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Katrina Paulson

Written by

Life is a curious adventure. I write words & hope they help people not be jerks to each other. Get my newsletter: https://curiousadventure.substack.com/embed

Curious

Curious

A community of people who are curious to find out what others have already figured out // Curious is a new personal growth publication by The Startup (https://medium.com/swlh).

Katrina Paulson

Written by

Life is a curious adventure. I write words & hope they help people not be jerks to each other. Get my newsletter: https://curiousadventure.substack.com/embed

Curious

Curious

A community of people who are curious to find out what others have already figured out // Curious is a new personal growth publication by The Startup (https://medium.com/swlh).

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