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“Whether you believe it a moral imperative or enlightened self-interest, securing the conditions that will lead to a healthy, prosperous future for everyone is a goal I believe we all share.”

Bill Gates

We are often appalled by selfish people. They grasp and take rather than offer and serve. That’s not the kind of selfish I’m talking about. I’m describing when we get so determined to give ourselves what we most want that we develop mental fortitude, skills and commitment to have them. Here are just of few such universal desires for which we must all get way more selfish:


Who doesn’t love kindness? Have you learned skills so you are capable of being kind through every challenge or stress? Can you ask for it from others effectively? It’s easy when people are kind to us and when life is going well. But what about when you feel annoyance, anger, hurt, worry or insult? What about when you are in stressful conditions? Do you take the time to make sure kindness is something you master fully and that you know how to create within yourself and with others with uncompromising consistency? Do you intentionally foster it in your family and workplace?


We are so conditioned to inequality that we are like fish in an ocean that don’t comprehend wet. We don’t see ourselves as problem-solvers or recognize that our beliefs and actions can make a significant impact on creating equality. Sometimes we get stuck in guilt or anger around it and have bought into a scarcity mindset as if equality were a problem too big to solve. What if everyone just got busy rolling up our sleeves asking, “How can I help you?”


We settle. I see this in our politics, religion, education and other social systems. We settle even though being our best is actually super fulfilling. We believe ho-hum is safe and best. We fear excellence is perfection and that burdens us (as it should). Excellence is NOT perfection. It’s simply doing our best regularly and asking for the same from others. Are you selfish enough that you’ve secured the best support systems? Do you engage in regular practices that show you how excellent you are and help you continue to be so? Do you know how to effectively ask for excellence from others and get it?


We are a world with the technology and intelligence to feed all people, create amazing cures, solve major political, social, emotional, health and other problems. Too often, we just don’t focus there. We are not selfish enough to say, “Not on my watch.” If every person were to find their individual place in nurturing this condition for ourselves and for others, our hearts would be so full; we would not know what to do with all the energy that comes back to us. Ask yourself, am I selfish enough so that thriving and helping others to do the same is what I promote everywhere, at all times?

Why People Hire LifeWork Systems

People hire LifeWork Systems because they need and want us to shake up business as usual. We show everyone how and why to get involved and play nice; why they matter. No one gets away with second-rate anymore because we make excuses obsolete. Every day for months, new ways of thinking and acting get hashed out, and faith in humanity is restored until everyone is crazy excited about people and the work, and mediocrity is OVER. Then you see some serious barn-raising going on. It’s an amazing ride!

This article will be published in my column The Extraordinary Workplace in St. Louis Small Business Monthly, March, 2017

Judy Ryan (judy@LifeworkSystems.com), human systems specialist, is owner of LifeWork Systems. Her mission is “to help people create conditions in which all people love their lives.” She can be reached at 314-239-4727.