It is an unusual title, right? Selfish has such contradictory connotations. How could anyone say its maybe a positive thing? It’s time for me to explain.
As per different book-ish definitions, the term ‘selfish’ has been associated with being stingy or acting like an annoying fool. Those are the descriptions with which most people associate the word.
Let’s see what being selfish actually means – You first take care of yourself and later start helping others. This is an important concept to grasp since it forms the basic foundation of victory in leadership. To be realistic (I know many won’t agree with me), the most selfish you really are, the more successful you can be as a leader.
Being unselfish is bad for leadership:
Society, religion, family, media, and friends are always promoting the idea of being unselfish. You’re a “bigger person” if you give and give and give everything without expecting anything in return.. In theory, that indeed sounds good, but in practice, it tragically fails. This is because you are taught to contain yourself to help others, and that’s a foolish thing to do in the leadership world. Your flow, your real life’s purpose, is 100% about yourself first. So if you are suppressing that success to go on “helping” others you are creating massive blockages, sometimes irreversible.
There are various examples of where being unselfish is harmful to your wellbeing. The most prominent has to do with charity. If you gave every money of your paycheck to the charity every day, how would you live? Likewise with the child/parent dynamic. If kids were truly unselfish and obeyed everything their parents ordered them to do, they would never grow up into their own free, self-sustaining and independent beings. Imagine a parent telling a kid what music to listen to, what skirt to wear, what boyfriends to have, whom to f..marry, and so on.
Does being “selfish for success” exist today?
Being selfish in this setting sounds like something different, right? Well, the fact is it’s always been there – just no one acknowledged it (too busy being unselfish). If you’ve ever boarded an airplane, you’ll know what I’m really talking about. During the airplane safety demonstration, prior to takeoff, the air hostesses talk about oxygen masks (those cute and cuddly orange things that fall from the ceiling). Regardless of the airline, they never forget to say, “if you are traveling with a small kid, put your mask on first and then help the kid.” This is my definition of good selfishness. But the reality is kids rely on their parents, so if the parent is ultimately passed out from lack of air the kid will most likely follow suit. Yet “modern-day logic” would dictate the kid gets the mask first.
And remember the old adage: “Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.” This is my definition of selfish.
The great news is when you are in your flow, you can easily distinguish between what is proper selfishness and what is not. And that does not include outside voices telling you what the difference is.