Doing The Right Thing

You would think with three qualifications behind my name, I would know what I’m doing. But alas, I suffer from what I like to call: qualified confusement.


After all the book-knowledge I have consumed and street-smarts I have gained, I am still just another human being trying to find my way in life, while wondering whether I’m doing the right thing. And I’m not necessarily talking about a moral or ethical thing. I’m referring to something more personal than that. In other words, we all want to make a decision, choose the right action and course which will give us the best possible outcome. This can refer to relationships, parenthood, or in my case: my career as a writer.

pretoria girl writes _ ilka steyn

The thing about doing the right thing is: how do you know you’re doing the right thing? This always seems to be the difficult question, which is the cause of my indecisiveness – the moment in my life when I feel stuck. But the reality is, we think we get stuck on that question more often than we actually do.


We convince ourselves we are unsure about what we are supposed to do, but we are actually unsure about what the results or consequences are going to be. This uncertainty is what makes the journey, of making decisions, risky and scary. We try our best to predict the outcome of our decisions, but the truth is: it’s always going to be a game of probability; a gambling game.


There are many days when I ask myself whether I have made the right choice by quitting my job as a teacher to become a full-time writer. And I know this feeling is normal because I gave up stability for unpredictability and uncertainty. But do I know what I want to achieve? Yes. Do I know how it will end up? NO. This is something I will never know; something we will never know.


Making decisions is not about probabilities and predicting the future, but letting go of the future for a moment. When you choose what is best for you, you will get to where you want to go eventually.


So, how do I know I’m doing the right thing? Uhm, I don’t really know. But what I do know for sure, is that I have reached a point in my life where I’m okay with the things that have hurt me in the past. I am able to see it as opportunities of learning and I’m grateful for that.


Even though I might not be considered as successful, according to other people’s standards, I KNOW that I’m doing what I want to be doing. I believe, when you get this feeling that you’re doing what you want to do, you’re doing the right thing for YOU.


If you think you have made mistakes, you’re probably on the right track. It means you’re doing new things, which is the only way to learn and grow. If you think you may have failed, you’re probably on the right track because it means you’re brave and taking chances. You’re putting yourself out there, instead of waiting for the perfect time – which doesn’t actually exist.


Doing the right thing is scary and messy, but we will have countless opportunities to try again if we are willing to take them. And even if you don’t have a grasp on it yet (like me), but you know what path you would like to take, I think it’s safe to say that you’re on the right track.


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