What is right and what is practicable are two different things. – James Buchanan
What does that mean?
Let’s start with the definition of practicable, as it is not a commonly used word anymore. At theFreeDictionary.com, practicable is defined (in short form) as “feasible”, which differs subtly from practical, which is defined as “useful.” Therefore something can be practical (or useful), but not practicable (feasible). The example they use is a busy person going to visit France. Learning French would be practical (useful), but their busy schedule makes it not practicable (not feasible).
So, with that definition squared away, what the quote is saying is that not everything that is right is can be feasibly accomplished. You might make the case that it is right for something to be done (or changed), but it won’t always be something that can be done without major social, technological, or societal upheaval.
Why is doing what is right important?
To me, this is a pivot off a famous quote by Dr Martin Luther King Jr., in which he says that it is always the right time to do the right thing. As this quote was by a past President of the United States of America, the quote takes on a slightly different flavor when spoken by a person of power or authority.
In this case, if the topic was slavery, today’s quote says that while abolition was right, it abolishing it wasn’t practical, from many standpoints. This quote points out that sometimes the solution can be more painful than the problem. For the established order in the early US, slavery was clearly wrong to a large number of people.
However, the abolition of it would prompt a social and societal upheaval (provided by the Civil War, a few years later) of a practically unimaginable magnitude. It cost the lives of roughly 6% of fighting age men in the North, and three times that in the South. The social order was radically changed in the South, and later the North, as the migration of freed slaves came to the cities. And, of course, politics was forever changed with each person now counting as a full vote, and getting to vote their own conscience.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Each of us have a life that may or may not have some difficulties that definitely would right to fix, but which might not be practical to do so. I have some minor damage on my daily driver, and it would definitely be proper and right to get it fixed. However, finding parts has been a real pain, and that has made repairs unfeasible.
What is there in your life that should rightly be done, but cannot? It might be that you don’t have enough time, enough money, lack other resources (skills, tools, …) or dislike the process. Grab some paper and write a few of these things down. Note that while the quote was about a moral right, I believe this can be extended to any proper action that may need to be done.
For each of the actions you feel you should rightly undertake, write down what is it that is making the actual completion of that task so difficult. Once you’ve written the reason(s) for each, review each of the reasons, and make sure you’re not hung up on an excuse. By that, if you say you don’t have time, but spend five hours a day on Twitter, perhaps that’s more an excuse than a reason, right?
What we’re doing is examining what is keeping us from doing what we believe should be done. Consider what other ways you can achieve at least some of the result you desire, despite your limits and constraints. Is there someone who can help you work on it? Are there other ways you can get from here to there, or at partway so?
With (hopefully) some progress made on most, if not all, of the items on your list, it’s time to select one to get started on right now. Don’t worry, you can always come back and work on the others later today, later this month, or later in the year. From here, if you’ve read many of my past posts, you know what to do.
For those who don’t, start by breaking up the task. How many steps will it take to get from where you are to where you need to be? Write each down. There doesn’t have to be a lot of detail, but you should be able to tell what you need to do from the title you write down (add a sentence or two, if you feel that it will help).
Take just the first chunk and break it down into sub-steps. What will it take to complete this step? When will you promise yourself to get it done by? What resources do you need to complete these sub-steps, and what obstacles do you need to work around? Now all you need to do is knock out the first one, and build some momentum. Repeat until you get to your destination.
Do what is right, even if it isn’t easy. If it’s not feasible, try to find what parts of it you can make happen, and at least take the first step. Try to work around that which makes it impracticable and move forward as best you can. It’s always the right time to do the right thing. Impracticable things just take a little longer, and a little more effort.
From: Twitter, @saidtheprez
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/jamesbucha134236.html
Photo by Grant.C
Happy Birthday to James Buchanan, born 23 April, 1791.