# 62 on my, 99 Life Tips—A List is: Know this as well: Everyone’s ways are right in their own eyes, including yours.
Most of the inspiration for this tip comes from the Old Testament, with maybe a little from the Grateful Dead.
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.”~Proverbs 21:2
This proverb reinforces the fact we all do what we prefer. Preferences yield choices, which produce behaviors. These habitual acts become our way of life. But our preferences come from a deeper well–the sense that what we prefer is right.
Let’s say this rings true and you believe me. Now what? Are you supposed to excavate every action–performing psychological archaeology–to uncover the latent impulses that inform your every preference? Damn, that’s exhausting just to type. Imagine how much you’d have to live in your head to do that for every decision?
Yet, this describes so much of what makes up the advice found in self-help books. And even at the professional, clinical level, there’s a lot of retrograde motion attempting to uncover the why’s of behavior. That’s the rub of typical therapy or psychoanalysis once you strip away the jargon.
What if we could agree on some basic assumptions?
1- Our nature as humans is to pursue self interest until we meet an obstacle.
2- Our actions conform to this nature.
3- We do what we do and live how we live because it seems to be the right way to fulfill self interest.
4- We continue on this course until or unless something larger than self interest replaces it as our primary motive. (which is tricky because this becomes our new self interest, though perhaps not for selfish reasons)
See? Simple. Where should I send my bill?
The ancient proverb cited above tells the why’s. But if you don’t like that font of wisdom, might I interest you in some Grateful Dead?
“Sometimes we live no particular way but our own
And sometimes we visit your country and live in your home
Sometimes we ride on your horses, sometimes we walk alone
Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own.”~Grateful Dead: Eyes Of The World
(Songwriters: Jerome J. Garcia / Robert C. Hunter)
We live the way we do for reasons that seem right. I’ve never woken up and thought, I’m going to live all wrong today. Have you? Even when we do something we know is wrong, we rationalize it to make it right. (Interesting word, rationalize, the practice of torturing reason to turn something wrong into something right so you can avoid feeling bad about it.)
But enough digression. When you see me, it is safe to assume I’m doing what is right in my own eyes. I’m going to assume that about you. The trick is to assume it about yourself.