Let’s look at a matter of the heart today: your motivations. What drives you? What are the real motives behind what you do or what you aspire to?
No matter how altruistic your goals might appear to be, it is important to have a reality check every now and then to ensure your heart is still in the right place. A lot of us start on the journey towards fulfilling purpose with the right motives but somewhere along the way; a less noble intent takes over. Before you realise it you’re doing what you do for all the wrong reasons and then you are tempted to cut corners or just take advantage of others without batting an eyelid. On the other end of the spectrum are those who pursue their goals with all the wrong motives from the get-go.
So what, you might ask? If I’m making a positive difference in people’s lives and improving the lot of humanity; who cares what my motivations are? After all no-one else is prepared to do the things I do; I work harder or make bigger sacrifices than the majority. The fact is that no-one will ever find out if I don’t tell them.
I’ll use the example of a sector whose goals are supposed to be more altruistic than most: the charity sector. When we look at that sector especially those who work in very deprived communities, we have to laud a lot of their efforts as they work tirelessly to combat poverty and all its attendant ills. On closer inspection however, if wrong motives are at play, it’s only a matter of time before vulnerable people are hurt or treated with complete disregard. Still wondering what I’m on about? For example if pride and self-promotion is the motive behind helping the poor; it’s only a matter of time before their dignity is compromised or even crushed. Another consequence of pride is that these people are not given any say over interventions that directly affect their lives to the end that they might not be fit for purpose.
So your goals are not charitable ones; you just want to provide a more comfortable life for your family. That doesn’t make it any less worthy of giving the best of yourself. If greed becomes a driving force behind why you go into a particular business, before you realise it, you will cut corners to make a profit. The people who will get hurt initially will be your clients. You carry on long enough and the whole structure you have built will crumble completely. The cases of Madoff and Allen’s Ponzi schemes might seem too far-fetched but the common motivator between the two is greed.
Enough said. In the pursuit of our goals and dreams, regular re-assessment of our motives is essential. That way something that appears to be small to start with does not end up destroying all that has taken years to build.