Sometimes we might do what’s right—but for the wrong (usually selfish) reason.
I’m reminded of the story of the philosopher Diogenes.
He was once seen sitting on a curb eating lentils and bread, a meager meal by any standard. A fellow philosopher, Aristippus, a man who lived well because he flattered the king, approached him and mocked his circumstance.
“If you would learn to be subservient to the king,” he snarled, “you would not have to live on lentils.”
Diogenes looked up with a smile, tilted his head, and replied, “Learn to live on lentils, and you will not have to cultivate the king.”