Have you ever seen someone do something just because everyone else does it? Whenever you see someone doing something that is considered negative, bad, or not helpful in any way, we can hear them justify it with, “Everyone else does it.” I even remember, as a kid, saying that to my mom when she questioned why I did something bad? She would quickly respond with, “Well if everyone jumped off of a bridge, would you jump off a bridge too???” I guess she made a good point. “Everyone else does it” should never be the answer.
The Public Men’s Restroom
Ahhh, the public men’s restroom. Not generally known for it’s cleanliness nor it’s great smell, but it can be a good place to share some wisdom. I remember I was in a public men’s restroom one time with my son. After we washed our hands, we walked out and went to throw our paper towels in the trash. Well, my son missed the trash can and kept walking. I say, “Hey pal, you need to put that in the trash.” He quickly responded with, “Why? No one else picked up theirs.” He wasn’t wrong. The floor was littered with paper towels that missed the mark. So, he had a point. I let him know that just because everyone else does something bad, doesn’t mean we should too. I explained to him that we need to be better, and told him he needs to pick it up. Reluctantly, he picked it up, thinking “What’s the big deal?” The big deal is that everything is connected.
Everything Is Connected
Everything we do in our lives is connected. It is difficult to do good in some areas of our life and then do bad in others. Eventually, one will win out. We hope the good wins out, but sometimes the bad does. You see…letting my son leave his paper towel on the floor would have given him my approval that he doesn’t have to pick up after himself…that he can do what he wants just because everyone else does it. This would mean that the next time he misses the trash can, he can leave it. If it is okay to leave your trash on the floor in public, then it can happen with the bathroom trash can at home, his dirty clothes basket, and his bedroom floor. Where does it end?
It’s An Excuse
By saying, “Everyone else does it,” we are just being lazy. It is a lame excuse for not doing the right thing, because it is easier to do the wrong thing. We don’t do the important things in life because they are easier to do. We do the important things in life because they need to be done, whether they are easy or not. When we use this excuse, we are giving ourselves the okay to be less than what we can be. And then the next time we are presented with an opportunity to be bigger than we are, we tend to not step up because it is easier not to and because most people wouldn’t step up either. This is a bad approach if you want to get ahead in life and can build some not so good values.
We need to be striving to our full potential each day. We need to do the little things each day, that when added up, build up our character, values, and morals. We need to pick up our paper towel that missed the trash can. Even better, pick up all the paper towels that missed the trash can. We have to be purposeful about doing the right thing because of the value it creates in ourselves. If you do or don’t do something based on what “everyone else” does, then you will be what everyone else is. We have to be better. We have to stand out. It is our responsibility to be the positive example. The positive example for our kids, our community, our society. Don’t let “Everyone else does it” leave your lips or enter your mind. Be bigger!!! Be better!!!