Monday’s Meditation: On Why Having The "Right Reasons" Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

December 5, 2016

Why having the "right reasons" for taking action isn't all it's cracked up to be.

We’re told that our decisions should always be made for the “right reasons” in life. There are few things most of us consider as noble and savvy, in fact, that the convergence of the right decision with the right reasons.

Anyone who’s watched a single episode of the Bachelor franchise will have heard the oft-employed chant of “here for the right reasons,” and, “not here for the right reasons.”

We glorify these “right reasons” to such an extent that they often ultimately redeem or excuse decisions that prove detrimental.

I’m not negating that possession of the right reasons, i.e. the ideal motivations, are, well, ideal.

It is miraculous, for example, when a celebrity gets passionately involved in charitable work not for the un-right reason of improving their image, but for the right reason of wanting to help heal the world.

It’s beautiful when children are welcoming to a new student, not for the un-right reason of having been instructed to do so by their parents, but for the right reason that being kind is their inclination.

It’s fantastic when a president puts into motion such a thing as legalizing gay marriage, not for the un-right reason of approval ratings and political strategy, but for the right reason of believing in marriage equality.

But the ideal isn’t the norm. People are vain, self-conscious, deeply afraid of failure, and even more scared of being rejected.

And those people, with their perhaps less-than-ideal motives make good decisions every day.

In fact, sometimes it’s the basest motivator that acts as the catalyst for the right decision.

Not a concern for health, but self-consciousness about one’s appearance is the reason plenty of people end up in their doctor’s offices. Those people still receive the care they might need.

Not a genuine interest in hotel maids, gas station attendants, or delivery men, but a sense of social courtesy is the reason lots of us exchange pleasantries. People in such service positions still receive the acknowledgment they deserve.

I hope we’ll all continue to be more in tune with our truest, kindest selves, and that increasingly, it will be from that place of goodness that all decisions arise.

In the meantime, whatever reason you have for taking positive action can be the right-enough one.




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