The Value of Selfishness

A guide to self-respect in a society obsessed with altruism

Adrian Drew

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From a very young age, we’re taught that one of the greatest risks to our popularity and success as an individual is our own selfishness.

We’re encouraged to think of other people wherever possible — to put their needs before our own. But for some of us, the real issue isn’t that we’re being too selfish. Instead, we’re so hooked on the importance of selflessness that we neglect our own wants and desires.

We stay in jobs that we hate and ignore our talents, relationships that make us miserable while ignoring our deep longing for freedom and uphold friendships that drain our time, energy and happiness.

Why? All in the hopes of validating society’s expectations of us to give freely at the expense of our personal demands.

Ironically, we run into an entirely opposing danger: giving too much. As a result, we wind up feeling miserable, exhausted and depleted.

We simply can’t live like this forever. Otherwise, we might wake up one morning to realise that the majority of our life is now behind us, and our time has been spent doing little more than satisfying other people.

What it Means to be Selfish

Being selfish from time-to-time is, without a doubt, wholly necessary to the longevity of our happiness. When making the decision to become more selfish in our lives, though, we have to be careful. There are different kinds of selfishness, and some of them will cause us a lot of problems.

Some people are incredibly selfish — but in a wrong, immoral sense. They exploit and use others to fulfil their own needs, disregarding people out of unkindness and negligence.

On the other hand, there’s a kind of essential selfishness. Perhaps a more term name would be self-respect.

A certain degree of selfishness is required to get anything substantial done in life. Whether it’s getting in better shape, earning more money or succeeding in business, if we wish to do well in something, we need to invest our time. But if all of that time is being given to others, we’ll never make it to where we need to be.

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Adrian Drew

Owner of Mind Cafe | Let’s chat on Instagram: @adriandrew__