Why You Should Always Act On Your Self Interest

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There is a difference between selfishness and being self interested. The former means that you are perhaps taking away, or withholding something back. Where else the latter means that you are aware of the resources available around you and work towards maximizing that.

Understanding self interest is the key to understanding motivation.

Self interest is knowing that you deserve happiness. Selfishness is robbing people of their happiness and inflicting pain, just to get that happiness.

You may have been stuck at some facets of your lives, because people told you that your wanting of being promoted, married, loved and happier were not in line with the norm. They probably told you that you were being a self indulgent jerk/bitch for expressing those desire. And because you somehow allowed those opinions to sink deep in your cognitive processes, you allowed compromises to happen.

You said things like,

“It’s okay, my time will come…”

“He/she deserves it more than me…”

“God is fair. My happiness will come soon…”

And then you breeze through life not fulfilling your absolute potential. All because someone insinuated that you are being selfish.

But here’s my take on why I believe that you must align your interests in serving your best self. Being self interested.

  • Everyone acts on their self interests. Even wanting somebody else to be happy is an exercise in acting on your self interest. Because you know that when you see someone is happier because of you, you feel happier too.
  • No one will want to admit selfishness. Everybody will paint themselves as a victim of circumstances when they are pushed to a corner. Selfishness is the other flip side of making choices.
  • Self interests are compelling. People will be moved an inspired if your intentions and actions are aligned with your self interests first, and at the same time appealing to their self interest too.

So how can you start being more self interested?

Do things differently…

  • Quit thinking that people share your beliefs and values system about reciprocity in relationships.
  • Decide that you are no longer gonna be people serving. Quit being at the end of people’s criticisms and judgments
  • Selfish people are selfish people. Stop expecting them to change.
  • Engage proactively so that you can own the outcomes. Avoiding engagements is not optimal.
  • See your self interests objectively and be rational about it.
  • Honor your emotions and self worth.
  • Assertiveness is a key social skill to learn and apply. If you cannot be assertive about what you want, you will never get what you want.
  • End relationships with lazy and selfish people. They are chronically dysfunctional. You will not be productive with baggage.
  • Develop strategies of engagement from selfish people if you are expecting personal attacks.
  • Be consistent and grounded to your beliefs and principles.

How I Got More Influential By Understanding These 2 Principles

understanding the 2 pillars of influence

Most people I know, want the shortcuts to everything. If you are like most people, I am sure that you had scoured bookstores looking for quick fix it guides on how to be more persuasive. More influential. More powerful.

You might had also paid thousand of dollars to workshops trainers and speakers, teaching you how to  use the latest NLP technique, right copy writing techniques and how to perhaps play the “game” a bit better.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with all of the efforts above. In fact, it is great that you had attempted to source out all the possible knowledge and resources you can get when it comes to learning how to be more influential.

However, technique and methods alone will not work.

You need to understand the basic fundamentals as to why people will be persuaded or influenced.

Allow me to share.

I believe that there are essentially 2 basic pillars that need to be in place before an influential dynamic can happen. Is this a prerequisite? In my books, yes! So let’s get to the first pillar.

People must know that you can execute

Batman comes along and he says that he can clean up the streets of Gotham City. Yet, he comes along all scrawny, with a baseball bat and a skateboard. Do you honestly think that the Gothamites will even bat an eyelid? The fact is, his appearance indicated that he is not able to pull off anything grand. Thus, do you see the whole reason why Batman has to beef himself up, puts on some high tech gadgetry on and fly around menacingly. The whole theatrics, let people know that Batman can execute on his promise of cleaning up the streets. In this case even the super villains are persuaded and influenced by the idea that Batman can indeed inflict some heavy damages.

The same goes for you. Are people being made aware that you have the knowledge, skills, experience and ability to execute whatever you are trying to sell? Or are you just lip service? The premise of influence has a starting point. And the starting point will  be from an angle of awareness. People need to know either visually, verbally or mentally somehow, that you can indeed execute the promises you will be making. Once you have set that starting point, then the persuasion and influential processes can happen.

People must trust you

Trust is a treasured commodity these days. The over emphasis on how conviction and belief can be manipulated via advanced copy writing or NLP techniques discredit the raw nature of innate trust. It is sad that most people these days, think that they can go via the subconscious back doors of your mind, to flick on your trust switch somehow.

In the realm of real influence and persuasion however, trust is more instinctive. Primal and raw. That feeling of assurance in your guts. You can just sense it.

This second pillar of influence is important to be understood. Cause trust once earned or broken, can make or break and influence dynamics you had set. Aren’t you more inclined to be more influenced by your parents than your friends? Cause you trust them more, right? The reverse happens when you do not trust people anymore. The influence they have over you dissipates. It is just a natural reaction.

People are more easily persuaded and influenced by people they genuinely trust.

Thus you have to set yourself apart from all the other persuaders/influencers out there. Do not attempt at being gimmicky or take a backdoor when it comes to building trust.

Summary

A genuine influencer works at putting the above 2 pillars in place as his initial foundation. The first pillar establishes your capability, while the second pillar cements your credibility. Everyone loves being around influential players or personalities. Take your time in setting these 2 pillars firmly. You can build your pantheons of power after that.