It’s true. You’re selfish. I’m selfish. We’re all selfish. And here’s 3 reasons why being selfish is actually a GOOD thing.
You see, multiple studies have shown us that altruistic acts and emotions actually increase our well-being, health and longevity. So the more good you do for others, the better YOU feel.
Before we get too far, let’s define altruism. According to Dictionary.com, altruism is the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others. But does being altruistic mean you’re being selfish? It seems just the opposite right?
Read on and find out…
Selfish Reason #1: Increase Your Well-Being
The definition of well-being, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary is “the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous.” Not a bad gig. Do good for others so you feel happy, healthy and prosperous? Sign me up!
Doing good for others simply makes you feel good. And when you feel good, you perform SO much better. It’s my guess, that’s one of the reasons major corporations donate millions of dollars a year to charity. The owners and employees feel good about it; then they perform better. (That PLUS the wicked awesome tax break).
Every time my son and I serve at the Miracle League in our town (think, Special Olympics, only on a smaller scale), we always leave the game feeling much better than when we arrived.
And when my wife and I serve with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, we always feel better than when we started. Every time I do something good for somebody else, I simply feel better about it.
So sure, I guess I’m selfish.
Selfish Reason #2: Increase Your Health
Your mental health affects your physical health, agree? So why not work on increasing your mental health as often as possible? According to studies, when you engage in altruistic behavior, your endorphins fire off and you have a natural high. It’s really a good feeling.
Also, altruistic behavior distracts you from your own problems. After all, who has time to worry about problems when you’re so busy doing good? If your mental health is well and your physical health is well, what does that lead to?
Selfish Reason #3: Longevity
When you’re healthy, you live longer. Period. It’s rare you find people who smoke 2 packs a day, drink every night, eat high fat food, help no one and complain about everything, live long lives. They typically die of heart attacks at the age of 50.
But when you’re health is squared away, simply put, you live longer.
Engaging in selfless acts can help you live longer. It’s a bold claim, sure. But study after study has shown this to be true. Your life will be more enjoyable. You’ll be in better shape. You’ll have less stress. And you’ll leave a legacy for your kids.
Being altruistic really is, what Stephen Covey would call, a win-win situation.
Yes, You’re Selfish…and It’s Okay
It’s okay to be altruistic. And it’s okay to be selfish. After all, you both win in the process. I like the way Jim Rohn stated it. He said, “I’ll take care of me for you, if you’ll take care of you for me.”
If you want to be your best self…help others.
If you want to change the world and leave a dent in the universe (as Steve Jobs would say)…help others.
And, if you want to do stuff that matters and live a life on purpose…helps others.