How To Be Selfish
Ok, here me out. In this quick post, I’m just gonna share some of my thoughts on being selfish. And don’t worry, I’m not gonna go all Ayn Rand on you. Nor am I going to talk about how selfishness is ingrained in all humans and therefore serves some evolutionary purpose. (though I do believe that to be true).
What Is Seflishness Anyway?
Many people think being selfish means doing what you want at the cost of others. That is a fair definition. But, I want to stress something here. I think you are really only being selfish when your decision harms someone else that didn’t have to be harmed.
The world is a tough place and there are many aspects of life that are zero-sum. For example, is it selfish to compete and win in a baseball game? In some ways, yes it is. Because you must take an action that places you in front of another person that you “beat”. You literally hurt them (in an emotional sense) and even sometimes in a physical sense.
However, if we didn’t compete to win, I doubt many of us would ever give our best. And what would happen then? This is why it’s not always wrong to ask how to be selfish.
The Circle Of Selfishness
If you think about it, being selfish really means focusing on yourself. If you are acting selfish, someone else may call you out on it. Usually, though, the people who call you selfish are in fact doing so because you are not granting them what they want. This is a way of them being selfish.
This is the circle of selfishness and it makes it hard to know when you’re really being selfish or when the person is using that “slur” as a way to get what they want out of you. So, pay attention to this and ask multiple people if you are really being selfish or if you are being manipulated. It’s usually one or the other. Just make sure you don’t end up losing a ton of time focusing on it. You need to instead pursue strategies that save time.
Selfishness Is Not What You Think
Now, I want to get you thinking about another idea when it comes to the question of how to be selfish. And that is that you need to completely rethink the idea of selfishness. Because, what does it really mean to be selfish? Above, we talked about putting yourself first and not harming others, right?
But, it is WAY deeper than that.
You see, you aren’t a single person. In fact, you represent many different people throughout time. You are the you now that you are. But you once were 10 years old, and if you’re lucky, you’ll be 80 years old.
So, life is this forever progression of who you are. So, being selfish right now can actually be harmful to your future self, who is another version of you. Case in point, our food choices. And this is something I struggle with as well, so no judgement here.
But, if you think about it, if we were being truly selfish, we would make the best decisions for our most fragile self. The self that has the highest chance of death and disease. That would most likely be our oldest possible selves.
All of our decisions should be geared around serving that person well. And that person is indeed us. In that way, most of us aren’t being selfish, just short-sighted.
Final Thoughts On Selfishness
I wrote this quick thought article in one sitting. So, everything I’ve written is in no way my absolute 100% belief on the topic. This is part of an experiment where I just write free flowing thoughts on a topic and see where it goes.
While these types of articles won’t be my best “thought-work” I am hopeful they will spur discussion and further research.
Now, what are your thoughts about selfishness? Are you selfish? Should you be?