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Client: “What do you mean, ‘get more selfish?’ Me: “When you advocate for yourself and learn to do so in firm and respectful ways, you will become more stable, generous and helpful.

“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?”

This article is published in the column The Extraordinary Workplace in St. Louis Small Business Monthly, April, 2017

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