Courage to Do the Right Thing


We are told from a young age to do the right thing. Yet doing the right thing is the hardest thing to do. Doing the right thing can have negative consequences. You can be punished, penalized, and destroyed because the status quo is sometimes affected when you do the right thing. People like status quo. It makes them feel safe. It makes them feel invincible. It makes them feel powerful.

Yet, the greatest movements in the world and the most dramatic change in socieity have always been brought about by those who believed that what they stand for is much bigger than what they may lose by doing the right thing.

I think a lot about Mahatma Gandhi these days. I saw the movie a couple of years ago and was moved to tears by his courage, strength, and determination. In his simple mind and in his own simplistic way, he saw something that was terribly wrong and decided to do what was right. Many thought he was an idiot to think he could change the world – yet he did.

I could not imagine what it must have been like to take on an entrenched and sophisticated British system. Yet he did: in his own, quiet, persistent, courageous way. He just wanted to right a wrong. He simply wanted the world to know that the number of people who have been wronged or the length of time for which the wrong has been perpetuated does not make it right. Yeah, this has gone on for a long time – is not a reason to continue to perpetuate a wrong.

Life throws so many unexpected curves at us. Thank God for these curves. The curves and the slippery slopes are platforms for doing the right thing.

About Dr. Gupta

Dr. Uma G. Gupta is the Founder and President of STEM.SMART, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the pipeline of U.S students interested in STEM careers. In addition, she is the CEO of PlanetGPA, an international student recruitment services that serves as an extension to the recruitment offices of U.S. universities.

One response »

  1. In today’s society (but perhaps this is true for every prior era also) encouraging people to do the right thing is a bigger deal than it would initially seem. We are so often driven by finances and individual ambitions. Politicians aren’t the only ones with special interest groups. Many of us are associated with causes, religious organizations, etc., and in our fervor to see ourselves and our special interests “succeed”, we fail… to do the right thing. In modern society, the rare individual who will consistently take the high road regardless of personal consequence… those individuals are the closest thing to heroes that we have.

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