A funny thing happens when I teach the principles mentioned in the last post on the virtue and morality of selfishness. Most everyone who reads them says, “You know instinctively I always knew that was true. But I was afraid to discuss it because of the reaction I would have received. But it really makes sense in the big picture. I can only help those I care about if I help myself first.”
Then the backsliding starts...
They get out in their everyday lives and get assaulted by the usual programming. They start to feel guilty. Then they start to think their prosperity and happiness comes at the expense of others. Then they start looking for examples when it would be better not to be selfish...
I had this very discussion with a Mastermind Council member in my old coaching program after she read a lesson on the topic. She told me, “I agree with so much you say in there. It just makes sense. But I can’t go along with everything, about selfishness always being good.”
“So exactly what part of the lesson would you dispute?” I asked
“Well, let me see, I have lots and lots of notes on this lesson. Let’s see...I like this, I agree with that, hmmm, this makes sense...”
And so it went. Finally she said, “Well I can’t really disagree with anything you said. But I just can’t agree with you that selfishness is good. I think back on the times when I’ve been selfish, or my husband has been selfish and the arguments we’ve had. And I think about what it takes to make a relationship work long term. And I just am not sure...”
“That,” I exclaimed,” is because you have not really thought out and come to grips with a congruent philosophy that you live your life by.”
She thought about that a minute, and had to agree. And went on to say that this was something she was now sorting out. And that is exactly what I hope is happening for all of the readers of this blog.
So what about you?
How are you feeling about the whole issue? Do you have a congruent philosophy that you live by? How do you feel – really – when I say that your happiness should be your highest moral purpose?
Henry thinks I have lost the plot. He sent me a note to say, “My highest moral purpose is everybody's happiness.” Well that certainly sounds a whole lot nobler than mine! Or does it…
Please give this some critical thought and share your comments below.