Selfishness! It’s one of the most evil words in the English language. Almost no one wants to be known as selfish. Most of us associate selfishness with something negative. As a result, many of us try to avoid being selfish everyday of our lives.
As I do so well, I’m here to play devil’s advocate. I’ll do so by making a case for why we should all try to be a bit more selfish. If not, we should at least allow ourselves to be a bit more selfish here or there.
Before I get into why we should all allow ourselves to be selfish at times, let’s define what selfish is. Simply put, selfish is when you do something that benefits you. Unselfish is when you do something that benefits others. I don’t see the world this way by the way. I think the definitions of selfish and unselfish are a bit more complex. Moreover, I think we all have a bit of selfishness and unselfishness in each one of us. However, that’s besides the point. I’ll address this topic in a later post. For the sake of this argument, let’s keep it simple.
Between selfish and unselfish, (according to the definitions above), there is something AMAZING. It’s when you can be both selfish and unselfish at the same time. I call it being selfishly unselfish.
Below are two example of being selfishly unselfish, and why it’s a good idea to be this way.
Being In Love!
The first example of being selfishly unselfish is caring for or about someone. Usually when a person cares about another, s/he puts that person’s well-being before his/her. Take being in love for instance. For the sake of this example, let’s take two people in love and call them: John and Jane.
If John is in love with Jane, usually John will want to make Jane the happiest person in the world. Most people see this attitude as being unselfish. If you look closer however, you realize it’s not as unselfish as you think. The reason John wants to make Jane happy is that seeing her happy, makes him happy. So in reality, John is looking for his own happiness. When he is in love, his happiness has to go through someone Jane’s happiness. This is an example of being selfishly unselfish. In this example, you can be selfish. Your selfishness allows someone else to be happier. It’s a win-win.
When you’re selfish, people don’t like you because you’re not looking out for them. When you’re unselfish, you won’t like you because you’re not looking out for you. When you’re selfishly unselfish, people will like you, and so will you. Again, it’s a win-win.
Caring for someone is an example being selfishly unselfish. Doing what you love for a living is another way of being selfishly unselfish. For the sake of this example, let’s use John again.
Let’s say john is an artist. John loves to make abstract art and is also good at it. Let’s also say that John lives in the 1990’s and in the 1990’s, abstract art is mainstream and popular. In this case, John can do what he loves and make money doing so. Since abstract art is popular, John can make a living from his artwork. In this case, John gets to do both what he wants, but also what others want.
This kind of situations could be considered the holy grail of life. When you find these situations, something magical happens. People will be in demand for your talents/skills/services. At the same time, you’ll be able to do what you want/love for a living. The best part about doing what you love is that it usually doesn’t feel like work. It’s like getting paid for a hobby.
As you can see, being selfishly unselfish can be amazing. However, it’s not the easiest thing to do. Whether it’s finding people worth caring for, or finding what you and others will love. Being selfishly unselfish is hard.
If you’re in love today, think of how hard it was to find that special person. You more than likely went through bad dates, breakups, relationships etc…
If you have found your passion and are doing it today for a living, think of how hard it was to find it. You probably went through bad bosses, co-workers, jobs etc…
If you haven’t found any of those, then you know the struggle. If you haven’t found it yet, search on. It is hard, but if it was easy, everyone would do it. It’s hard but when you find it, it’ll be special. You won’t have to question yourself. You won’t have to wonder if you’re being selfish or not. You’ll just do what you love or what makes you happy. Doing so will make one or more people happy.
So, this year and beyond, allow yourself to be more selfish. Allow yourself to do what you want. Allow yourself to do what you love. In doing so, try putting yourself in win-win situations like the two mentioned above. If you can do that, you just might be happier and more successful, in 2016 and beyond.