Is Being Selfish as Bad as “They” Say?

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If you know me you know that I’m all about people. Granted I don’t open up and talk to a lot of people. However, inspiring and motivating people is actually an important goal of mine. It’s always behind all my decisions especially when it comes to doing things in the public eye. Take this blog for instance on one hand the goal behind the blog is to make enough money to not have a normal job. If you’ve ever purchased anything from me or through my affiliate links, I appreciate you helping me reach that goal. On the other hand, my goal is to give you practical advice and encouragement to do the same. That or take lessons I’ve learned and apply them to other aspects of your life.

Being selfless is great thing to strive towards but…

Its nice to think of others and how you can help them. Plus when you do it without expecting anything in return you get a great feeling inside. Because of that feeling I wonder is anything we do TRULY “selfless?” Think about it. We may not seek material goods or gifts in return for doing good in the world but we certainly chase that feeling of making an impact. To an extent we are all selfish when it comes down to our inner most motives. And I’ll tell you how/why that can be a good thing. Believe it or not “selfish” doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I get it growing up people around you told you it’s not okay to be selfish. They’re decent people so it’s understandable. But what if I told you you could be selfish and still be a good person? (Imagine my best Morpheus impression).

That’s right you can be selfish and a good person at the same time. I first found this out at a sales job I had a few years back. I was talking to my boss (at the time) about my goals for my career path. Most of my goals were advancement based as any employee would say. But then he stopped me and asked me what I wanted to take away from the company. I was shocked I had never thought about what I wanted to take from (learn) from my employer before. Usually I just learned things on the job as I went. Never had I actively sought out knowledge through employment. He explained that if he knew what I wanted to take from the job, he could better support my goals. This presented a win-win situation. I would achieve my goals and he would get a satisfied, dedicated, hard worker.

It wasn’t the first time I’d heard the theory…

Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of Vaynermedia, often says that his goal when interviewing new hires is cutting through the bullshit to find out what the candidate really wants. It could be to make money, or gain experience, or even learn his secrets and later start a competing company. To him it doesn’t matter. The reason, he claims, is because if he can get to your heart’s desire he can then figure out how to help you achieve your goals. Or even save you time if you want something that isn’t available through the job. It sounds risky because it involves investing time and money into someone that could ultimately leave for another job. However, it’s not a bad investment. When’s the last time you worked somewhere and got the sense that your superiors actually cared and wanted to see you succeed in life, not just the job? Chance’s are never right? To most jobs especially large organizations you’re expendable, just a cog in the machine. So when you find an organization that actually cares and makes sure you know it you’re not likely to leave.

Selfish is not the same as greedy.

Look, I know we use greedy and selfish interchangeably but they aren’t mutually exclusive. Meaning you can be one without the other. I know it’s still a hard pill to swallow. But think about it you can be selfish without hurting someone. Say you want to learn about doors and windows so you go get a job as a helper to an installer. If what you want to take away is knowledge are you hurting your boss? No! What if you want to get better at handling rejection? Go get a job doing door to door sales, (they get rejected A LOT). You take away the experience but your employer gains an employee that’s not going to get discouraged and quit easily. The thing here is we learn this stuff anyway. All that’s changed is instead of learning randomly you seek out jobs with a purpose.

Relationships are selfish in nature too…

You may not have noticed but your selfishness has lead to the friends you’ve made. We’re not friends with people just because. There are many motivations behind friendships.

Some better:

  • they “get” you
  • you enjoy their company
  • they make you feel significant.

And others worse:

  • They pay for everything
  • you need a backup bf/gf
  • they let you control them.

Even relationships are subject to your selfish thoughts. Have you ever been in love? “Love” is something that you feel for another person. People do almost anything to keep that feeling alive. Sometimes people chase after someone that doesn’t feel the same way about them. Isn’t that selfish? Being more concerned with your feeling of love than respecting the other person’s wish to leave, is selfish by definition.

The bottom line.

Being selfish in and of itself is not bad. Sometimes the things we do, because of selfish desires, are. But we are only human. Further selfishness is ingrained in our brains from years of learning to survive. Self preservation is kind of a good thing to strive for. Take a second and realize that everyone is selfish to an extent. Then realize there’s not a single person on this planet that will take care of you better than you! So be selfish, seek fulfillment, take care of your needs. And give the world the gift of your best possible self.

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