I had two references to Babylon 5 tonight. There was a reference to “doing the right thing for the right/wrong reasons” on Joan of Arcadia, then Jerry Doyle (who played Garibaldi) had a small part on JAG.
I’ve been thinking about talking on this very issue for a while, and this kind of cemented it for me.
Conservatives control both Congress and the White House because they started doing the right things for the right reasons. So far, this has paid off handsomely. But there are several crises that face the government and it is becoming easy to do the right thing for the wrong reasons. They have done very well in this post 9/11 world, but I (and all of us) have a personal stake in making sure they continue on the correct path.
This is all about doing the right thing for the right reasons. Babylon 5 is a great show for two reasons. The direction of the show was determined before the show was shot and it addresses such philosophical subjects. Every episode is great, and every episode ties into the bigger story. Usually in a series, the first 2-3 seasons suck as the writers, cast and crew try to find their identity and positions in how things work. Not so here. The producer wrote the show as one big epic story and used the individual episodes to fill in everything. At the end of the series, everything was sewn up nice and tidy. There was one exception, a hook to get you interested in the spin-off that didn’t go very far. It lacked the vision of the original series.
Here’s the bare bones setup: There are three sides, the Shadows (old race bad guys, want chaos and war in the sector), the Vorlons (old race neutrals, but lending help to the good guys) and the “young” races, Earth included. There needs to be one leader for the young races war effort, and Delenn volunteers. Before the Vorlons approve her, she must face their Inquisitor. It turns out his job is to find out why she wants the job. So the Inquisitor tries his best to break her, to determine her motivations. It is imperative to the Vorlons that she do the right thing for the right reasons. To do the right thing, but for corrupt reasons would corrupt and destroy any hope of the good guys defeating the bad guys, because the bad guys could use the corrupt reasons against them.
It turns out Delenn is doing the right thing for the right reasons. She believes she is in a position to do the most good, she is qualified and (most importantly) she is not in it for personal glory. If she falls, someone will take her place and continue on the fight.
Before you volunteer or start a project, examine yourself and determine your motivations. Make sure you are doing this for the right reasons. Once you know that, you can either continue with the project or beg off. I promise you will feel a lot better making decisions after introspection rather than before.
I can’t tell you how important it is to do the right thing for the right reasons. Let’s say you volunteer for Habitats for Humanity. A good and noble cause. But are you doing it to help, or are you in it to assuage your own guilt over something? Are you doing it for face time for the cameras, or so you can add this to your resume? Both of my examples are right thing/wrong reasons. In both of these instances, something will come back and bite you over it. It might take years, you might forget all about it, but you will get a chunk taken out of your behind over it, I promise you.
Every time you get bit by something for no apparent reason, that’s what you get for doing something for the wrong reasons.
Take this advice to heart and you will go far.