Do Things Right or Do the Right Things?
“Doing things right” means doing things in the manner they are expected, needed, or required to be done. It, then, relates to the ‘how’ aspect of an action. However, “Doing the right thing” means making the right choice, choosing the right path, and displaying high ethics and moral rectitude1. It, therefore, relates to the ‘what’ aspect of action. All in all, there is a word saying
“Efficiency2 is doing things right; effectiveness3 is doing the right things.”
Under the most situations we want to and can-do things both in an efficient and effective way. But if we must decide between the two aspects, I would choose to do the right things rather than do the things right. As a student, I have an experience as an example. In senior 1 I used to compete with someone to do the math homework faster. We both have done about 30 pages more than other classmates, and we spent a lot more time on math every day, which took up much time for other subjects. So, we have done the homework efficiently, but it may not be so effective as its heavy cost in practice. This example shows us that it’s more important to do the right thing than to do things right.
If we consider the two phrases in a higher platform, we can also discover that doing things right can mean getting things more organized, while doing the right things stands for having a further vision and goal. I’ve read a good metaphor on the internet to describe this:
A manager will teach you how to climb the ladder of success faster, but a true leader will first check whether the ladder of success is leaning against the right wall.
Thank you for your listening.
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