Motivation as a Means of Doing Good

It has often been said to treat others the way we want to be treated, but what does that really mean? To me, this means to do something for others in order to receive something in return, which is not doing a selfless act, but doing something good for validation and benefit, becoming manipulation.

Helping others is an opportunity that we all have, but few take advantage of. And from these few, even fewer help others solely to do good, but instead they do something good to gain something from it. Alan Loy McGinnis discusses in his book, Bringing Out the Best in People: How to Enjoy Helping Others Excel, the difference between manipulation and selfish acts and doing good and motivating others.

The difference is this. You are a manipulator when you try to persuade people to do something that is not in their best interests but is in yours. You are a motivator when you find goals that will be good for both sides, then weld together a high-achieving, high- morale partnership to achieve them. (McGinnis, 21)

This section of McGinnis’s text stuck with me and reminded me of when I started my football career. I started playing football my freshman year of high school, a significant amount later than most of my teammates and other football players across the U.S. As my college search began, I knew I had to continue football in college because, not only did I love the sport, I also needed the scholarship to attend a university and further my education.

My high school coach stood by me as I made this decision and helped push me further. He helped and encouraged me to give that extra ten percent the other kids didn’t have to give so that I could eventually catch up and surpass my competition for college football.. My junior year I received my official offer letter from Arizona State University, that stated I had a full ride scholarship to come play football for them and, just like I always wanted, to receive my degree.

Graphic retrieved from:

Looking back on my journey and now that I am looking towards my future in serving others as a mentor in athletics, I see how my high school coach took these ideals that McGinnis outlines within his text about motivating others as a means of doing good.

If it was not for the motivation I received from my coach in high school, I would not be able to be playing at ASU and would most likely not be in a university at all. The kindness he showed me was because he wanted me to be successful. He wasn’t going to get anything personally out of me going to college, but now he’s changed my whole life; this to me is what the golden rule is all about. It is not about getting something in return for being kind, but helping others achieve their goals and knowing that at the end of the day, the smallest act could be what shapes someone’s whole life.

Please feel free to contact me about this topic and further discuss your opinions.


McGinnis, A. L. (1991). Bringing out the best in people: How to enjoy helping others excel. Quezon City: Kadena Press.