Doing Well by Doing Good

I’ve noticed a strange sort of fallacy in the professional world. People are afraid to say or do things that are wonderful, simply because they might gain the slightest personal benefit from it. Or, more accurately, because they might be perceived as gaining a slight personal benefit from it.

We should want to reward people who do good things. Our job is to do good, but part of doing good is incentivizing good. Which world do you think will produce more good overall: the world where every good deed is praised and rewarded, or the world where every good deed is met with derision and scorn for being “self-promoting?”

So yes, sometimes someone else will do a good thing and they’ll – gasp! – actually gain some personal benefit. Believe it or not, it’s possible to do very good things for the world without having purely altruistic motives. In fact, it’s possible to do good for the world without a shred of altruism at all.

This means that we definitely shouldn’t create a world where only “purely altruistic” good is encouraged (as if such a thing could even exist). The closer we get to that end of the spectrum, the less overall good we’ll have.

So if you do a good thing – please, talk about it. And if someone else does a good thing, praise them. Thank them, Encourage them. People who do good should do well. What’s the alternative?

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