Are you egoistic? Self-serving? Selfish?
Be honest. Answer silently inside your head. You don’t have to let anyone in on the truth.
If you’re like most people, your answer is: Yes.
Or more something like: Hell, yes! Of course!
All stigma and judeo-christian tradition aside, most people regard themselves as selfish. Which makes sense, because it’s simply a deeply engrained survival mechanism that’s being observed by a higher rational entity. It’s the reason we are still here.
But if you take a second look on it, you might as well realize, most people aren’t selfish at all. Yes, they try to get by. Yes, most people wouldn’t return money they found on the street. Yes, most people would pass the last bits of food to their kids and not eat it themselves. That’s the surface level, which I am not concerned about.
My focus is on what’s going on inside people’s heads.
Most people are easily offended. They have strong opinions about a narrow range of things and don’t want to get confused by opposing ideas. They respond to emotions, not to logic. They drink high fructose corn syrup, that massively imbalances brain chemistry. They are indecivise in the workplace. They don’t believe they can get promoted. They don’t believe they could lose weight, get a girlfriend or become rich. They think 5 hours of TV a day is a good choice to relax. They get angry, when they are being cut off in traffic. They crazily over-identify with the bits media feeds them in the current Government Shutdown. They are stressed out most of the time. Burnout and midlife-crisis are *real* issues. If an authority figure is being rude to them, they can’t stand up for themselves. They think, it’s ok to not face your fears. They actually don’t enjoy going to the gym, so it’s an on-off habit with massive lack in discipline. If their work gets criticized, their asshole tightens and they defend themselves, because they come from a win-lose paradigm, not a win-win one. The education mix they received, convinced them that what they know is enough to navigate the world. If they watch the news at night, they either idolize or hate on people and events. They are conditioned to only look at the tip of the iceberg. They would cheat on their spouses, if they got the chance, but would get angry, if they were cheated on.
The list is endless.
And all of that thinking is technically not selfish, not self-serving. If egoism is the idea of “I put myself first and look after my own well being first”, then it’s a fatal flaw in behaviour to fully neglect the wells and wells of toxic thoughts bubbling up each day inside of our heads.
If you come from a long-term mindset (legacy > currency) and you want to stay physically and mentally healthy for as long as possible, you have to learn to think in self-beneficial ways.
If you think, there’s a finite amount of wealth and you have to cheat and betray to get your piece of the cake, that’s not self-beneficial, because you teach yourself that scarcity is real and success is a result of trickery, not hard work.
If you think, in any interaction only one person can win, that’s not self-beneficial, because you’re always at risk of losing and relate to people in hostile ways, which is a reinforcing pattern.
If you think, you don’t deserve a great girlfriend, wealth, friends and great life experiences, it’s obviously not self-beneficial. It’s the opposite. It’s pathetic!
If you argue with someone and get angry, that’s not self-beneficial, because the emotion of anger kicks off a release chain of hormones that influence your brain chemistry, which influences in return your perception of the world. And this will result in worse decisions, that again will lead to worse results.
There’s a saying that pessimists and realists live in a world closer to objective reality, but optimists are 4 times better off in any situation.
Thinking the glass is half-empty is simply not self-beneficial. It preemptively gives other people an advantage, because you allow yourself to operate from weaker, less effective paradigms, which obviously is the opposite of what you want.
So, it’s actually quite helpful to reflect on what’s going on in your head. Not as a seed of insecurity, so that you can’t trust yourself anymore, but more as a simple course correction.
“This guy is a jerk!
Wait a second, how do I benefit from this interpretation of the world?”
Learn win-win, adopt abundance. The world is good and people are not out to get you.
Become really selfish!