In the enchanted Isles Of Dipsomania, where I have spent hundreds upon hundreds of delightful, anonymous hours, they remind us that one does not do right for gain, one does right because it is right – and to do right publicly is a way of doing right for gain – the best policy is to do right out of the spotlight. Not that there is anything wrong with approval per se, indeed, part of recovery is learning how to gracefully accept appreciation and admiration. The reason is simple, if one is focusing on the potential gain one may take one’s eye off the ball and fail.
It is said that the act of walking is so complex, requiring the carefully timed coordination of multiple muscles, that it can only occur automatically because if we consciously tried to control all the elements we would fall down. The same applies to doing right. When we are deliberate about our philanthropy, ego gets in the way and where there is ego, catastrophe cannot lag far behind. But, if we do right incidentally, simply as a byproduct of “sticking with the program” – we vastly increase our chances of positive outcomes. Indeed, the chances of success are best when we do not know when and/or if we have succeeded.
Oddly enough I discovered this concept as it applies to the artistic process before I strolled down the Anonymous Aisles of Sobriety. Whenever I found myself thinking thoughts like – “Oh boy, the reader will certainly think this is funny, clever, elegantly phrased” – or – “seems dumb but the great unwashed will adore it” – or - “now there’s a bit that crushes the competition” – I knew I was pointlessly slicing bologna instead of making my efforts matter. By contrast, when I was able to focus only exclusively on what I was there to do – and doing it to the very best of my ability – I knew I was in good shape.
Packaging exclusively in accordance with what one imagines the audience wants is a good way to become a prostitute, politician, or reality TV personality - but a hideous way to live. Do right, make sure you don’t get caught. Let them decide what to think.
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