Watching One's Motivations

Motivations are the driving force of many actions. They always lie beneath that which we do or choose to do. Even in situations where one may be forced by an external situation or by somebody else, you still find your own motivations to make that choice to do what you do.

Motivations are not written on people’s faces. They may be pure or not pure and may be expressed or hidden from the knowledge of others. Motivations could be deduced from actions or result of actions, but only the person engaged in the act truly knows his or her motivations.  While the Supreme Being, creator of women and men, looks at the heart and hence can see the motivations, people tend to look at the external actions, irrespective of the motivations claimed.

Even in judging cases in a court of law, intent and motive are very vital elements in judging a case and even in pronouncing a sentence for a crime. This makes the difference between, for example, manslaughter and murder. It is supposed that murder is intentional killing of another while manslaughter is killing another without the intention of doing so.

Indeed, wrong motivations do not justify any action. The act may look good, kind, just, charitable, and selfless or rewarding in the eyes of people, but the motivation behind the act puts a dent on it all. In this way, the fruits of these acts would be short-lived, good as they may be. They lie on the periphery and do not go deep. It does not become a legacy, because eventually, time lets people see through the motivations for the actions.

When we speak of having the “Right Motivation”, what is the criteria for judging what is right motivation in each circumstance? I believe that this is determined by the original purpose, objective or goal linked to that event or activity. This is where conscience is expected to come into play. A good conscience should be able to judge for itself and tell itself the truth, whether it is acting in line with set goals and objectives or not.

If , for instance, I get elected to a certain position for the purpose of serving the people and this includes providing social amenities and infrastructure, but with time I begin to cut corners, embezzle public funds and ignore the needs of the people, then my motivation for an elected position becomes questionable. This is a simple example of the challenges we are faced with in our different spheres of leadership positions. Selfishness and greed has clouded our consciences and messed up our motivations. Else, why is our country the way it is? Lots of things would be far better if only you and I kept pure motives for the things we do, especially those things that directly affect others and our environment – Change begins with me!

Just as evil intentions or thoughts carry a certain power, so too does pure and upright intention. This becomes the power behind the actions. It is this power which either makes the fruit of one’s action lasting or short-lived. A good action continuously propelled by a wrong motivation eventually ends in naught.

Nothing, in truth, compares to genuineness, uprightness, single-mindedness, purity of intention, right motive, selfless desire and sincerity of purpose, as opposed to acting out of pretense, deception, deceit, hypocrisy, lies, cover-ups, unnecessary competition and envy, show-off, pride, joining the bandwagon and I-can-do-better-than-you mentality.

Wrong motivations water down the fruits of your labour, as nothing hidden that will not be made known.This is the reason why constant self-reflection, and effort to keep to what is right is a life time endeavour.

Change begins with me!


  • Linda Ellah



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