Surprising title for an article, right? In today's society 'selfish' has such negative connotations how could anyone say it’s a positive thing? Let me explain.

Traditionally the term ‘selfish’ has been associated with such things as being greedy or acting like an obnoxious fool. Those are the definitions with which most people associate the term, and the dictionary agrees. That's why children are always taught not to be selfish, and adults are always wary of others 'being selfish'.

What I’m talking about what being selfish really means — you take care of yourself first and then help others. This is a crucial concept to understand since it forms a great foundation for your own success. To be blunt, the more selfish you are the more successful you can be.

Being unselfish is dangerous

Religions, society, the media, family and your friends are always promoting being unselfish. You’re a “better person” if you give and give and give of yourself. In theory that sounds good, but in practice it fails. This is because you are taught to suppress yourself in order to help others, and that’s not a good thing. Your flow, your true life’s purpose, is 100% about success. So if you are repressing that success in order to “help” others you are creating blockages, sometimes severe.

There are numerous examples of where being unselfish is detrimental to your wellbeing. The most obvious has to do with charity. If you gave every dollar of your paycheck to charity every week how would you live? Likewise with the parent/child dynamic. If children were truly unselfish and obeyed every single thing their parents ordered them to do they would never grow into their own independent beings. Imagine a parent telling a child what music to listen to, what clothes to wear, what friends to have, whom to marry, and so on.

Does being “selfish for success” exist today?

Being selfish in this context sounds like something new, right? Well, the fact is it’s always been around — just no one admitted it (too busy being unselfish). If you’ve ever been on an airplane you’ll know what I’m talking about. During the safety demonstration prior to takeoff they talk about oxygen masks (those orange things that fall from the ceiling). Regardless of the airline, they always say, “if you are travelling with a small child put your mask on first and then help the child.” This is being selfish. But the reality is children rely on their parents, so if the parent is passed out from lack of air the child will most likely follow suit. Yet “logic” would dictate the child gets the mask first.

And remember the old adage from the Bible: “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” This is being selfish.

The good news is when you are in your flow you can easily discriminate between what is appropriate selfishness and what is not. And that does not involve outside voices telling you the difference.

Author's Bio: 

In 2003 David Leigh Weber decided to found what would ultimately become Learn About Flow, an organization dedicated to empowering people to find their true selves, what makes them their most successful on every level. Since that time Learn About Flow has helped hundreds find the contentment and life purpose they had always dreamed of.

Today David is an author (My Life Has No Purpose!), sought after speaker, and evangelist for true mind-body-spirit wellness. He has a B.A. in English & History from the University of Rochester and an M.A. in Communications from the Newhouse School (Syracuse University). Originally from New England, David now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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