I was taught one should never yell, “Fire!” in a crowded theater or loudly greet a friend named Jack with a hearty “Hi!” at an airport as those actions cause unnecessary panic which will almost certainly result in a multitude of serious injuries as the frenzied masses try to run screaming from the building.

I have also embraced the notions of “If you see something, say something,” and “all evil needs to prosper is that good folks do nothing,” such that when I see things that alarm me, I more often than not, choose to report it to someone, even if it means I might be embarrassed to find out it was nothing and that I wasted someone’s time and frightened people unnecessarily.

It can be so difficult to determine when you should say something when something doesn’t look or feel right. We can wage internal war between the parts that want to run screaming from the building and the parts that want to sit obediently quiet and wait for the authorities to work things out. That war can paralyze us, demoralize us, and leave us exhausted, hostile, and depressed.

When you find yourself caught between two courses of action, each of which seem problematic, please do yourself the giant favor of taking 5 minutes to yourself, sitting comfortably, breathing in and out deeply and slowly, and connect with your inner wisdom. It always knows the next right thing to do.

You may experience this as the wise voice of your long-deceased grandmother, your soul or spirit, your rational self, God, an angel, the culmination of years of experience, or even a calm and serene voice you don’t recognize at all. In any case, it knows. It knows if it’s time to yell, “Fire!” sit quietly and wait, or get 3-4 other calm helpers and usher everyone safely out of the building under the pretext of performing a fire drill.

Take five minutes today and listen to your inner voice, and then take the next reasonable action.

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