Rule #1: Do The Right Thing

The most important rule of being a man is simple:

Always do the right thing.

On the surface that sounds so simple it’s almost a platitude.

I’ve made many mistakes in my life: mistakes in business, mistakes in my marriage, mistakes in parenting, and mistakes in friendships. When I analyze them, the ones I regret, the ones where I really screwed up were the ones where I didn’t do the right thing.

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s not possible to live a perfect life. For most mistakes, you take it as an opportunity to learn as much as you can from the mistake and then you move on. If you learn from your mistakes, you’re a better person for each one.

Mistakes are when you don’t know any better. If you try your best and later find out you didn’t get it right, that’s a mistake.

That’s not what I’m talking about here.

What I’m talking about here is doing the right thing. Doing the right thing means doing what you know is right. Let me say that again:

“Doing the right thing means doing what you know is right.”

No taking shortcuts or skirting the issue because that would be easier. It means facing things head on and doing what you know is right.

It means being authentically you and acting true to yourself.

If you get this behavior right, it makes all the other rules of being a man a lot easier. In fact, if you get this one right, it’s almost automatic that you’ll get the other rules right too.

That might make it sound easy. It’s not.

For one thing, doing the right thing in every case isn’t always easy.

Sometimes doing the right thing means admitting you were wrong. Sometimes doing the right thing means putting others before yourself. Sometimes it means facing fears. Sometimes it means having patience and sacrificing today for something better in the long run.

For one reason or another, it’s often not easy to do the right thing.

But the biggest challenge is that doing the right thing requires knowing what the right thing is and this is what gets really hard. How do you really know what the right thing is?

To know what the right thing is requires effort to really know yourself and you have to put that effort in ahead of time. It’s too late to try to figure this all out when you have a decision to make. You have to know ahead of time what your values are, what your priorities are, what your guiding principles are, what your goals are, and what your boundaries are. I’ll have much more to say about this in future posts.

But in many cases, knowing what the right thing is requires you to understand someone else. Does that employee need a push or do they need support right now? Does my child need accountability or empathy right now? What are the words my wife most needs to hear right now?

So to do the right thing means you must care about others and seek to understand them.

To know what the right thing is requires you to be really clear on what you think right and wrong are.

And then you have to do it. You have to do the right thing. You have to do it even if you don’t want to. You have to do it even if it means giving up something else you would rather do. You have to do it even if it’s uncomfortable and even if it scares you.

To be a real man means you have to do the right thing. You have to be true to yourself. You have to be authentic. You have to think clearly. And then you have to act! You have to DO THE RIGHT THING.

– Weston Henry

Questions:

What does it mean to you to do the right thing?

What has happened in your life as a result of doing or not doing something you knew was right?

My story – Why I started ManConduct.com

Why did I start this site? What’s my story?

In the span of 1 year, I went through major upheaval in my life. My wife and I filed for divorce, I was hit with the very painful realization that I had not been the father I wanted to be to my children, and my long-time business partner tried to have me fired from a business we had started together.

It was October 2014 when my wife and I decided to get a divorce. The news hit our four children hard. At the time, I knew it was the right thing to do and even though it would be hard on them, it would be better for everyone in the end. The divorce was not going to be easy. I tried to suggest we work it out without turning it into a fight but my wife wanted full custody of our children and that wasn’t something I would allow so it turned bitter anyway.

Once the divorce started, my already frazzled nerves went downhill even more. I was emotionally spent and lost all focus at work.

Fast forward five months to March 2016. After doing a lot of soul searching to figure out how my marriage had gone so wrong, I realized that what I had wanted most was just to be accepted for who I was. All the negative things that had built up and caused resentment didn’t really matter. It was this one simple truth that really mattered most.

In a strange coincidence, I came home from work one morning about to break down and my wife hadn’t left for work yet (we were still living in the same house). Somehow we started talking and ended up spending many hours over the next few days and nights taking even more.

Eventually we decided to reconcile, try to work things out, and call off the divorce.

We started marriage counseling and I started going to counseling personally as well for anxiety and self-esteem problems.

Working on my marriage, going through counseling, working on myself, facing many personal demons, and facing guilt over not being the parent that I wanted to be took a toll on my emotions and energy. I wasn’t happy doing what I was doing at work and it showed.

A couple months after stepping down from being the CEO of my company and turning the role over to my business partner, he tried to have me fired. We each had built up animosity towards the other over a long time and it finally boiled over.

Luckily, our board of directors had cooler and clearer heads and kept the lid on the pot long enough for things to settle down and get back on track.
But the thread that weaves through all of that story and indeed, most of the problems and mistakes I’ve made in my life is this:

Those problems happened because I wasn’t being the person I wanted to be at those times. I had patterns of thinking and behaved in ways that I’m not proud of. Those things aren’t who I want to be.

And the sad thing is… They’re not who I used to be. I realized that I once had higher ideals. I once had clarity, purpose, drive, and integrity that were important to who I was. Yet, at one time or another, some of those things had slipped away or gotten cloudy.

So I set out to redefine who I am, to discover again the pillars of my character and commit myself to living as authentically as I can.

It’s not an easy goal. I see the difference between where I am and where I want to be every day. But each time I read these words and apply them. It’s gets a little easier. A little clearer.

I know that life is a journey and so is this quest for me.

I hope you’ll find ideas and understanding here that will help you too.

– Weston Henry

What’s happened in your life as a result of not being true to who you are?

What would be better for you if you lived more authentically?

Welcome to Man Conduct!

Welcome to Man Conduct.

Here you’ll find very helpful rules, advice, examples, and discussion about how to truly be a man.

Improve your relationships, love life, career, friendships, and self-esteem by following and applying the advice you’ll find here.

And please post your comments, thoughts, and experience. Let’s make this a collaborative effort and participate so we’ll all be better men.

I’m looking forward to the journey with you.

– Weston Henry