Do you remember the last time you did something you don’t gain or benefit from in any possible way, be it emotional gain, financial gain or any form of gain
In other words when was last time you did a selfless act for anyone even your family if I make it easier?
One thing you should know is human beings are motivated by gain and everything we do is because we gain from it in one way or another, directly or indirectly.
It’s hard to find anything a person who can do for you something and it does not benefit them in any way which implies humans are selfish by nature
Would you be friends with a person who does not add any value to you in any way? What makes you think someone else would want to be friends with you if they are not benefiting or gaining anything from your friendship
This literary implies people will only associate with you because they want something from you.
Table of Contents
Selfishness and self-interest
Self interest is being open about doing something only for your own benefits and entirely not caring about things that may benefit other people
So selfishness and self interest could end up interchanged considering in both instances everyone is only caring for themselves
Selfishness is also one of the things that naturally motivate us. The desire to get something for ourselves and self interests drives to us to put in an effort
So someone will work hard because they want to have their salary increased. In this case, someone will not care if other people have their salaries increased or not and will only make sure they have theirs increased
You can relate this to everyday habits or behaviors of your life, you realize that actually most of the things you do, you only care about yourself which is human nature and you care about that which benefits you directly or indirectly in one way or another
But before we go any further what does selfish mean?
Selfish means caring only caring about yourself rather than about other people according to the oxford advanced learners dictionary
So here we are talking about the psychological aspect that’s human beings do everything for their own personal gain hence only caring about themselves
Another definition we need to clarify is inherent not inherit for that case
Asking if people are selfish by nature, in this case, is the same as asking if people are inherently selfish
Inherently means something that is basic or permanent part of something and cannot be removed
So is selfishness a permanent part of human beings that cannot be removed?
The answer is 99.9% true because all our actions whether good or bad are selfish
Everything we do for or to other people benefits us in one way or another whether directly or indirectly
Anything, think of anything you have ever done for someone else and you will see how you gain from it.
Examples of how humans are inherently selfish in a good way
These are examples of selfishness where both parties gain despite someone’s personal interests
Loving someone means they will love you back so the gain from this is by being loved
Employing someone means they make for you money through applying their labor skills
Helping the needy means God will reward you for your kindness to the people you helped and the gain is going to heaven
Taking care of your children and raising them well means they will take care of you when you grow up
Helping a child cross the road so that he does not get hit but the car, the same applies to help a blind person cross the road
Even helping anyone pay their bills would be a good selfish act maybe they would return the favor someday
From all those examples and a lot more if we had the whole day show that actually human beings are doing some good and indirectly caring for themselves and how they are benefiting from their good actions
The reason they are called good selfish acts is both parties are gaining something so it’s a win win. In other words, a worker is working to earn a salary for himself which will benefit him well as an employer is also employing a worker so that he can earn profits for himself.
It would also be a lot hypocritical to act like that you care a lot about other people other than yourself first
Real everyday examples of people being selfish
We do not need to call these bad selfish acts; selfish alone is already a bad thing anyway
Political leaders come in the first place of the people doing selfish actions every day; these are people that would increase salaries for themselves at the expense of providing medicine in hospitals for the people
the salary increase only benefits them and their families perhaps
Stealing, this is a little straight forward people steal from others so that they may gain and enjoy what they have stolen without considering the money someone spent to buy what is stolen
Murder is also a selfish act to take someone else’s life for whatever reason without being considerate about the pain you will cause to his family and friends
Trying to take all the credit is also selfish especially for teamwork projects
Being manipulative would also be considered selfish
When are people selfless?
Of course, not every action is selfish, the word selfish it’s self would lose meaning if there was no selfless action taking place, you can read about the existence of opposites of everything on the law of polarity
Selfless acts would be considered by your intent. If you are doing anything that does not benefit you in any way but benefits another person you are doing it for then that’s selfless.
For instance, if I help a woman stuck on the road due to lack of transport and I drop her off to her destination without asking for anything in return or expecting anything in return then that would be a selfless act.
You should neither complain about your time or fuel, your heart should be contented and grateful
But as stated it’s the intent of your actions that determine whether an act is selfless or selfish as someone would also give you a lift expecting friendship in return which would be the whole goal of helping
So the 0.1 of genuine selfless act lies in the intent of the action
For most of the things we do in life are for our own personal gains and the end result of every action you take is to bring you happiness for instance if you earn profits from your business you will do anything you want with the money which that brings you happiness,
If you help the needy in life it will bring you happiness that someone else is doing well in life
If you revenge on someone that hurt you, it will bring you happiness
But the lesson you should learn from this to always find out what someone benefits from helping you or why someone is doing something good for you
It is always straight forward why someone would do something bad to you, it’s basically to inflict pain on you
Because if you cannot figure out why someone is doing something good for you, you may have to pay for it later take for instance if someone hands you 100 dollar note out of the blue, what would be the catch really?
If someone buys you a drink in a bar doesn’t your mind say they want something in return?
Even some people befriend you for something they want from you.
It is then that you should consider the possible options of what someone wants from you and gauge if you are able or willing to return the favor they want from you
And lastly, of course, ask yourself how you benefit from the mutuality