There are four main ways to categorize a decision. Below are some examples, followed by further explanation of these categories.
Right thing, right reason: A single parent works as many jobs as necessary to feed and house their children.
Right thing, wrong reason: A celebrity to charity as part of a publicity stunt.
Wrong thing, right reason: A helicopter parent overprotects their child, hoping that will secure them a happy and fulfilling life.
Wrong thing, wrong reason: A scorned lover kills to exact revenge.
Right thing, right reason
It’s fairly difficult to find highly publicized stories about the right things done for the right reasons, as it should be. Plenty of anonymous donors give large sums of money to charity every year—and you’d never know it. These donors make completely selfless donations to causes they believe in enough to financially support, and they don’t expect anything in return.
Similarly, there are plenty of mothers who work one or multiple jobs to support their families, with no motive other than to put food on the table. They are doing what they need to do (work hard to support their families) for the right reasons (because they care for their children). It’s simple, it’s honest, it’s righteous.
Right thing, wrong reason
Going back to the charity example, it’s much easier to find examples of charitable giving that are nothing more than PR stunts. Yes, some might say these PR stunts do result in a net positive for the rest of the world despite their intentions, and that would be correct. Their charitable giving may very well help a cause that desperately needs help; however, we as dropouts are not looking for press. If you are simply looking to impress the world around you, or prove a point to others that you are better, more charitable, and more capable, or of you are in any way trying to boost your pride solely for yourself, then this whole “truly fulfilling success” thing probably isn’t for you.
Wrong thing, right reason
Most parents try to raise their kids to be the best, most capable adult human beings that they can possibly be. Very few parents truly intend to hurt, as difficult as some teenagers may find that to believe. However, a great example of doing the wrong thing—even with the best of intentions—is overprotecting a child. You may think you’re doing your kid a favor by walking them to school up to age 12, but all you’ve done is create a child that can’t live without you. Now, they get shipped off to college (where mom can’t be around every day), and they have no idea how to act, behave, or get around on their own.
Wrong thing, wrong reason
Insanity, whether temporary or permanent, will drive man to do the wrong things for the wrong reasons. Revenge, envy, lust, hate, are all to be avoided. Often, we will try to delude ourselves into thinking that we are doing something for the benefit of somebody else, when in reality it will only result in more bad than good. Murder is a drastic measure for anyone to take, but you’ve probably done wrong things for similarly wrong reasons. Retaliation in general, whether it comes in the form of verbal backlash or physical violence, is the wrong thing to do, and “getting even” is not any better a justification.