When was the last time you were truly selfish? A few months ago? A couple weeks ago? Yesterday?
How about Some Honesty?
If you are truly honest with yourself it was a second ago. Or less. The fact is we are selfish all the time. Everything we do is for us. We eat – for us. We drink – for us. We do everything we do for us.
Even when we are trying to be selfless, we are doing it for us. It’s either for an eternal reward, for a good feeling, because we are compelled to do the right thing or, if we’re truly enlightened, to strengthen our relationships and improve our world.
Long Term vs Short Term
The fact of the matter is what we call selflessness is really long-term selfishness and what we call selfishness is short-term selfishness. The question isn’t whether or not we are selfish. The question is whether or not we are wise enough to be selfish in the long term or we need instant gratification.
When we do unto others we are planting seeds of kindness. Those seeds will come back to us in one way or another as full fruit. This may even be simply by building character or in learning lessons. If, however, we employ selfishness, we consume the seeds and have no fruit later on which to feast.
So, selfishness isn’t just unkind, it’s irresponsible and it will most likely come back to bite us. Selflessness on the other hand is not only good to others, but it wins them over for our benefit.
People Love Heroes
More than once Harrison Ford saved hikers who had become lost. The first was a stranded hiker, and the second was a Boy Scout separated from his group. In both cases, Harrison rescued the hikers in his helicopter, to much fanfare.
The Blessing of Being a Hero
In fact, this type of thing is not uncommon. Many celebrities do this and when they do, people love to hear about it. You have probably heard stories like this thinking, “that person is down to earth.”
Then you shared that story with others who shared that story with others. The word spread like wildfire and everyone wanted to see this good-hearted celebrity. That selfless act benefited them greatly.
Those actors could have been selfish and not helped others, but the person that might have really suffered the most from that action would have been the celebrity themselves.
Be Selfish… Sort Of
If you want to be selfish – truly, 100% in it for yourself to get the maximum out of life you can, practice selflessness. Truly putting others first is the best way to see the best rewards in your life.
But let’s turn that around. I really don’t want you to be selfish. I really don’t want you to be in it for yourself. I want you to think about this from the other side of the coin.
If you are self-centered, where you only care about yourself, and you mistreat others, what you are really doing is harming yourself. This thought that “I’m just going to look out for number one” is a fallacy. When you are only out for yourself, the person you hurt most is you.
Try focusing on others. Love others. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It will come back to you. It’s called the law of reciprocity (or the Golden Rule). Because when you really care about others, and really do good to others, the person you end up helping most, is yourself.