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.

You Can’t Handle The Truth…And Why Most People Are Still Asking Why

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When Jack Nicholson uttered this cult favorite quote in the movie, “A Few Good Men”, it defined the moment of contentious morality for most people. And is it really true? That you and I, are not able to handle the truth? Though, there is this deep craving for us to be always wanting to know the absolute truth.

I’ve been in the people’s industry for the longest time. Am an avid observer of human relations builders. And there are two distinct characteristics profoundly defined within most of us. The keepers and the victims.

The keepers are those who prefer to keep the peace of friendships and relationships. The ones who compromise, accommodate and stretch themselves. The one who extends cordial courtesy and always on the constant back foot when it comes to needless moments of agitations. The keepers think best of others, often to the detriments of their own inner conflicts.

The victims are those who have opinions about everything. And these opinions are communicated from a place of unfounded entitlement. They rest on the pedestal of status quos and perceptive judgements. The victims are always placing idealism as the cornerstone of some dynamics. They float words like “honest, frank, brutal truths, loyalty and faithful” as reasons for justifications.

So how does Jack Nicholson’s line fit perfectly in this dynamics of extremes?

It’s when the Keepers decide to have a voice. When the Keepers decide to no longer stretch, accommodate or compromise. When the Keepers decide to be themselves. Cause that is when the Victims will cry foul and start using idealism to explain the changes and trying to rationalize the different shifts in responses. Victims will start asking that they be treated with decorum, with decorative words.

But can the Victims really stand to be told the truths about their characteristics? What if the truths that were not told,were the very reasons, marriages and friendships withstood its faults all this while? The untold truths were the ones that managed expectations? The untold truths that were not voiced out by the Keepers, cause they valued relationships over truths?

Not everyone has the stomach to understand the enormous impact when truths are told. Victims will crumble if they were told the truths about their shortcomings. Victims will wail if they were highlighted of their trivialities. Victims will run amok if they knew just how little they are contributing to some dynamics.

Truths are not necessarily some dystopian Eutopia in some relationships/dynamics/friendships. While we all may crave for it, not all have the length and depth of acceptance.

For me, I still prefer being a Keeper. And you should too.