Yesterday I asked you to think in, "A Brain Teaser With a Right Answer" -
What’s the difference between a person who is genuinely very useful and a person who just does useful things for people all the time because he wants to appear to be very useful?
I got a bunch of good comments and perspectives. A couple people nailed the answer I'd give dead-on, or wrote similar -
"There isn't one."
It's always interesting for me to see how people weight intentions and results.
Me? I'm like 99% results/1% intentions. If someone consistently acts in an excellent, upstanding, thorough, efficient, consistent, helpful in order to... boost their reputation or get paid or get promoted or whatever, that's totally cool with me.
This is contrary to how most people in society think. They'd prefer someone with altruistic motives who is a bit of a screw-up than someone with self-interested motives who behaves well.
One counter-point would be, "Well, you can count on the natural altruist more" - and y'know what? It's a good point, but I think oftentimes it's not a concern.
By doing an action repeatedly, eventually you become the kind of person who does that action. If you repeatedly ask, "What can I do to come across as helpful?" and execute on that, then you become a helpful person.
Intentions are worth looking at, especially when someone screws up. If they screw up with good intentions, it's less of a damning thing than if they screw up with bad intentions. But in the end, it's still a screw up either way.
If someone performs well, treats people well, does well - then their intentions don't matter all that much, as long as they can be expected to continue to consistently act that way.
The natural implication of this? If you're not already useful and helpful, you can just do actions in order to appear useful and helpful anyways. You'll wind up becoming useful and helpful as a result.