Most of us instinctively know the differences between right and wrong.
However, knowing the differences and actually acting on them are two very different things.
Are you the sort of person who not only knows right from wrong but also does the right thing day-in-day-out?
It’s sure as hell easier said than done.
Let’s find out…
1) You are honest even when it’s hard
“When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth.”
– Khaled Hosseini, (The Kite Runner)
The truth may be difficult, uncomfortable, or downright ugly.
However, if you are a stand-up person, you don’t shy away from it, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
You know that in the end, it’s better to be honest and have your integrity remain intact.
While the truth sometimes hurts, you know that ultimately people will respect you more for telling it like it is.
When you look at the bigger picture (see point six), you know being honest is almost always the right thing to do.
2) You stand up for what you believe in (even if it goes against the grain)
“Your silence gives consent.”
Doing the right thing is rarely easy.
As a stand-up person, you know it often means standing up for what you believe in, even in the face of opposition.
You are not easily swayed by popular opinion and stand by your principles with courage and conviction.
Through this, you inspire others to do the same, leading to a better world.
It sounds dramatic, but it’s true.
“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
This applies to small everyday situations and more significant social issues.
If you see someone taking advantage of someone weaker or naive, you step in.
If one of your foundational principles is threatened by a governmental decision, you make your voice heard.
3) You do what you say you will do
“We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot.”
This is a big one. As a stand-up person, your word means everything to you.
If you say you will do something, no matter how small or big, it will get done.
You don’t break promises. Your actions match your words.
Of course, because of this, you are careful about what promises you make. Those you do make are kept, however.
By doing this, you have earned the respect of people around you and are known as someone that can be depended on.
4) You don’t lie for personal gain or to hurt others
When researching content for another article recently, I looked up some statistics on how often people lie and the reasons behind their lies.
The results are quite frankly shocking.
2% of lies are told to hurt another person
9% are told for personal benefit
13% to appear more favorable
9% are told to protect oneself
Can you believe this? More than one in three lies are told for strictly selfish reasons.
If you are genuinely a stand-up person, you probably found these figures surprising because lying for personal gain is not something that you do.
Integrity and honesty are part of who you are, and lying for personal gain goes against your core nature.
You understand that lying like this can get you short-term results, but in the long run, it will erode your sense of self, and you will lose the trust of the people around you.
But that’s not why you avoid it. You avoid it because you are a stand-up person who does the right thing.
5) You treat everyone equally
Treating people of different backgrounds, social statuses, political views, and professions with the same amount of respect and dignity is a key trait of stand-up people who do the right thing.
From servers at restaurants to taxi drivers to subordinates at work to celebrities, you treat everyone equally.
You refuse to allow external factors like wealth, nationality, or influence to move the needle of your inner compass.
6) You consider the bigger picture
Some people think that they always know what the right thing to do is. However, often they don’t fully consider the situation.
To really do the right thing, you know it is necessary to take a step and look at the bigger picture.
Before making important decisions and taking action, you make sure to analyze the situation fully and consider the impact your actions will have on different people.
At home, you consider how your financial decisions might influence your children and spouse.
At work, you take into account how your actions will affect your colleagues, different departments, the company, and, if relevant, your industry as a whole.
You are detailed in your analysis, and with knowledge of the broader impacts of your choices, you make rational decisions that are truly right.
7) You are loyal to people
As a stand-up person, great relationships are sacred to you. You would not dream of betraying your friends or family.
You are unwavering in your support for the people you love. You stand by them in good times and in bad, and you never forget the support they have given you.
If there does come a time when you have to let someone go from your life, you do it with honesty, clarity, and integrity. You don’t bad mouth them, lie to them or betray them.
8) You try to see things from others’ points of view
As a person who does the right thing, empathy is essential to you.
Your ability to put yourself in the shoes of others can help you to make the right decision in any given situation.
You strive to understand people’s circumstances and viewpoints that are different from your own. You are open-minded and avoid judgment.
This helps you to determine and, in the end, do the right thing.
9) You don’t gossip
“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
– Dumbledore (Harry Potter, J.K Rowling)
As a stand-up person, you know how destructive gossip can be. You know how rumors and outright lies can spread and have dire consequences for innocent people.
As a stand-up person, you go further than just not gossiping, however. You actively steer conversations away from gossip and discourage people close to you from engaging in gossip.
This often means standing up to people that we are close to, such as our friends and family members.
While some people may feel a little rubbed the wrong way, most respect you for it.
Deep down, we all know that gossiping isn’t good. None of us would like to be the subject of gossip, after all.
10) You remain level-headed even in times of stress
This may seem like a strange one on this list, but it’s absolutely crucial to being a stand-up person who always does the right thing.
We all find ourselves in stressful situations, and often these are the times when we have to make important decisions.
Some allow stress and emotion to cloud their thinking and judgment. As someone who always does the right thing, you do not.
You know that remaining calm and thinking rationally is more important than ever in times of stress.
You know that losing your composure would result in you doing the wrong thing, and you would regret it.
Your ability to stay cool enables you to do what is right.
The bottom line
Knowing the right thing can be difficult in itself at times, and it takes empathy and rational thinking to determine.
Once we know that the right thing, it can be even more difficult to act on it. It often involves telling hard truths and standing up to people we don’t like…and to people we do like.
Being a stand-up person who always does the right thing isn’t easy. It’s something many of us aspire to be, but often, we fall short.
If you can honestly say that you do all of the above things, you are a rare and strong character.
If, like most of us, the signs made you think of some times when you could have been better, I hope this post has given you some food for thought.
Until next time.