Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Chapter 11

EXAMINE YOUR MOTIVES

There are at least two reasons why I do something: the reason I tell other people and the real reason. I don’t think it’s bad to be multiply determined. In fact, the more reasons there are for doing something, the more confident I feel that it is the right thing. Except that (as I finally figured out), the real reason and the public reason must both be good reasons, and they can’t be in conflict with each other.

In the past, I was barely aware of the real reason I said or did things. The real reason was more like an emotion than a thought. Whenever someone suggested doing something or I thought of something to do, I immediately responded with either “I want to do this” or “I don’t want to do this”. Now I know that whether I want to do something or not probably depends on whether it is going to get me something I like –laughter, fun, companionship, love, recognition, power, and money are some of my favorite things – or something I want to avoid.

There was a time when I was completely alone. I felt that I had none of the things I wanted. It was then that I discovered (and I never really forget) that self-respect is the ultimate necessity for me. With it, I can live with myself in any circumstances. Without it, my own company is unbearable and I feel hopeless. Therefore, I have sometimes also done things because I had to, because honor demanded it, and not because I wanted to do them.

The real reason I do something is almost always because it satisfies one of these wants or needs. It is not always necessary for me to tell people the real reason I am doing something. Sometimes, as they would probably say, that is too much information. Other times, people need to know the real reason, because I am “overreacting” to the public one. Then, if I don’t tell them the real reason, they will make one up for me and, more likely than not, they will think of something pretty unflattering, since they can see I am trying to hide something. Whether I tell other people or not, it is very important for me to be aware of the real reason at all times.

If I am not facing my real reason for doing something, I will look like I am hiding something, because I am. People won’t know or care that I am hiding something from myself. They will know and care that I am hiding something from them.
To do the right thing and achieve your goals, you have to know what is motivating you.

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