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More on Selfishness…

Posted By: Randy GageDecember 22, 2008

One Saturday you're out watering your lawn when a car drives up and you recognize your old friend Eddie at the wheel.  You learn that he has just lost his job, his wife has kicked him out, and he couldn't think of anywhere else to go.

Eddie has always been in the middle of some drama or another, which is the main reason you haven't spoken too much lately.  But you feel sorry for him and invite him to crash for the night. The next day, Eddie asks if you wouldn't mind if he stays just a couple more nights until he can find an apartment, and he assures you that he has a job all lined up. You feel a little awkward, but agree anyway.  During the week, the job falls through and although you feel badly about it, you haven't failed to notice that he isn't making much of an effort to go out and find another.

A week turns into two, and soon you don't feel like coming home from your office. You feel like your home is no longer your own.  You resent the position you find yourself in, yet feel guilty about being so selfish.  After all, the guy has nowhere to go.  Then you walk into your house and, once again, find Eddie sitting in your recliner, drinking beer and watching your TV....

Freeze frame.  I could go on, but you get the picture.    What’s the surface situation here?

The herd mentality says that poor Eddie has caught a bad break, and since he’s your friend, you owe it to him to help him out.  You've been lucky, Eddie has fallen on misfortune.   We learned in the last U.S. election that we should “spread the wealth.”

There you sit in a beautiful big home, with a lovely landscaped yard, and he has nothing.  Not only does he not have a job, but now his car is broke and he doesn’t have money to fix it.  He can’t buy a new one, because since the credit freeze, the car companies don’t have the money to lend to bad credit risks who are upside down on their last car.  They’re looking for loans themselves.

And Eddie is having a hard time getting a job because like “Joe the plumber, he hasn’t been paying any taxes.  He needs to be paid cash, because creditors are hounding him and would garnish his wages.  His bitch ex-wife is also harassing him for unpaid alimony and child support.

Truth is, you have a little money saved. You have a car and house.  You work, and you’ll get another paycheck this Friday.  Eddie has not a penny.  He “needs” it.  You don’t.  And you probably feel guilty, because you have so much, and Eddie has so little.

This is exactly what moochers like Eddie count on to take advantage of you.  To use your guilt to manipulate you.  Let’s look a little deeper...

Five years ago, you and Eddie worked at the same place.  He was out the door every day at five sharp.  “We’re on salary,” he said, “You don’t get paid extra to stay late.”  But you stayed late many times anyway, because you had projects to finish, and you wanted a clean desk in the morning.  Eddie got a head start on Happy Hour at the bar.

When there were extra projects to do, you volunteered for them.  Eddie told you that you were stupid for doing so.  When time for raises and promotions came, you got them.  Eddie quit after a year because they were “cheap, and they play favorites.”

Each month, you set aside a little money for savings and your house fund.  Eddie couldn’t do this because he wasn’t “making enough money.”  His priorities were nightlife at the clubs, cigarettes, getting a flat screen TV, cable, and the other “necessities” of life.

You went without cable to put the extra $30 a month into your retirement plan.  Instead of first run movies, you usually caught them for $3 when the videos came out.  You didn’t buy a DVD player because you thought the money was better put in your savings account.  You lived on less than what you made, and invested the balance in your future.

The herd would tell you that “Poor Eddie can’t catch a break.”  In reality, all the strikes against him are self-created.  The situation he is in right now is the result of thousands of little choices he made every day.

He spends eight bucks a day on cigarettes because, “The damn tobacco companies got me addicted.”  He buys a 12 pack of beer twice a week because he “needs to relax.”  The reason his ex-wife is after him is because he hasn’t paid child support payments in two years.  The reason the bank wouldn’t finance a new car was because he has a legal judgment against him for the student loans he took out and never paid, after he dropped out of college.

He has always spent more than he earned, and now when he is facing a setback, he has no resources to fall back on.  Like millions of others, he’s developed an entitlement mentality.  And every day in the news he’s hearing about all the bailouts for the banks, insurance companies and car companies.  Why not him?

This victim-hood role he is in causes others to feel guilty, and thus they are constantly bailing him out from one thing or another.  He learns how to manipulate his tragedies for maximum effect.

Of course all the time he is owning this victim-hood, he is programming his subconscious mind to attract more drama, more tragedy and more challenges.  He has learned that he can ignore universal laws and live for the moment, because there is always someone to save him from paying the price.  So he goes on an endless victim cycle, always in one situation or another.  He’s forever getting laid off, left out and wronged.    And forever using others to prevent him from having to take personal responsibility.

So what’s the right thing to do?  Should you help him?

Maybe.  But before we address that, let’s look at what is going to happen anyway...

Today's social system is ready to catch Eddie in its safety net. The government will feed, clothe, and house Eddie.  They will locate job openings for him, set up interviews and even provide vocational training.  They have dozens of social programs for countless contingencies, and they can fund all of them because they force you to contribute from your paycheck each week.  If you refuse, they will put you in prison.

What if, instead of paying your taxes to the government on payday, things went like this…

You receive your paycheck and, depending on where you live in the world, you immediately cut a check for 35, 55 or 60% of your wages, which would normally represent your income taxes, and you hop into your average sedan and head on over to Eddie's.  Eddie is on his porch sipping a can of beer, and he eyes you malevolently as you pull up. Hopping enthusiastically out of your car, you approach him, check in hand.

"Hey Eddie!" you say, "Just thought I'd pop by with your check seeing as how I was on my way home.  There you go, another month of food, clothing, medical care, dental, and entertainment.  And because of the raise I received last week, there's a little more in there for your pension.  Well, I can see you're into things, is there, uh, anything else I can do for you? No?  Well, I'll be off then, have a ton of paperwork to clear up tonight!  Have a wonderful evening, Eddie! Take it easy, see you next month!"

Would you ever agree to such a thing?  In reality, you already have. Because that’s the end result of the government and taxation system today. The productive people are penalized and the unproductive people are rewarded.  And all of these new socialized bailout programs are making the situation more acute.

The end result of this dysfunctional system is that it tears down both parties; the people forced to take care of others, and the people receiving the handouts.  Of course the prevalent meme (mind virus) infecting most people, is chastising the wealthy, believing they create their riches on the backs of the poor.  But that is more bullshit propaganda, designed to make you feel guilty for your success, and use that guilt to manipulate you.

Sacrificing yourself and your values for others, whether to gain a sense of moral satisfaction, or to escape a sense of guilt, weakens your resolve.  Your confidence falters, you may question your own worth, and feel guilty when you do things to take care of yourself.

And that starts the downward spiral…

If you want to help anyone, you must first take care of yourself.  We’ll explore this more in the days ahead.  And if you want to really dig into the issue, be sure you have read my last book.

More soon!

-RG

10 comments on “More on Selfishness…”

  1. It is true that if you want to help someone, you first have to be in a safe place yourself.

    But I am sure you can help other person even when you are not yet very rich, full and overflowing.

    Real help comes from the system of values of a great person.

    If you simply gave your friend food, place to stay and a TVset - that is the worst kind of help you offered to your poor friend. Then you deserve the poorest attitude returning to you from your friend.

    But if you instead stoped him and called for a talk. You explained him why he is poor, why he is dumb and sick. And then you kicked him out from your house with some best wishes for his life. THAT can be the best experience your friend may experience in his life. Then a best gratitude will return to you from your friend if he will learn the lesson.

    And notice that you didn't have to sacrifice a penny for that. But you lived for the greater good at that moment. 🙂

  2. I loved this section in your book. I also liked the "Island Story"; I wanted to make it into it's own movie.

    I think you're right- Eddie probably needs to be kicked in the a$$ to get going. Is it always that simple though?

    What happens when Eddie is your sick 65-year-old and no-longer employable father?

    No one wants those welfare measures to be permanent; that's why there are limits. YES, some people game the system, but how can we create a system that HELPS without crippling?

  3. and the words burn. emotion thoroughly underscored with reality. as an entrepreneur the littany of egregious governmental innundation on my space, my spirit, my funds, my determination to be more is so difficult to avoid, like being tied to the railroad tracks, hands behind the back waiting for the next expected commuter train. the regular pelting of my being could be the end of me without words that burn and underscore an alternative direction.

  4. For me Eddie is the type of friend that is not really my friend any more because our head spaces are so different.

    I would send Eddie to the unemployment office and suggest he go ask for social welfare. There are places where you can sleep, get a meal and have a shower, here in Austria any way.

    I would not invite him to sleep over even if he thinks I'm a selfish bitch. I live in a sort of socialist country and I know he can get help. It may not be as fab is living in my place but I'm not a hotel and Eddie is not my best friend.

    No Guilt

  5. Poor Eddie, let's bail him out, throw him a billion, oops thats only for our bankers...we are being conned everyday...call me scrooge but I'm tired of pulling the wagon...what can the average Joe do about this mess?

  6. Hi,
    I'm Eddie... no not really but yes I was Eddie. So here is Eddies side fo the story. Eddie was molested by his father and raped by three " neighbor hood boys growing up who were17-18-19 year old.
    The rapes and molestations left you with adhd. Hard time forcusing on detail or you are so emotioanall damaged you are just trying to survive and can't make good choice or see clearly through to a path to get a real direction going in your life.. You don't make right choices because you are always in survival mode trying to hide the eating disorder you have and how tried your body is. I'm not totally as ineffective as your eddie. I so totally harden my body with belligerent bulemia that I would manage to look like one of your " normal" safe guys who had it all together because you had something close to normal growing up. My parents were both alcholics in the day where you could work and get away with that. I was phyically abused by other sybilings. I divorced a " Normal Guy" who just couldn't get why Iwas going crazy after he demanded that I get and abortion because " he wasn't ready" When the hormone started to go crazy and because of the uterus that was holding on to so much rage because of my past and now a vaccum just came an suck something out of it. I lost my ability to keep my attention. Flunked out of college because I couldn't go after my life long dream of music. I was good. I taught myself to play piano in a basement where i would hid from my father or my family. They would leave me alone when I played piano. I moved in with a man after my divorce that I didn't love to be able to survive and not go home to an alcholic mother in her old age. I was becomeing really sick with the most severe eating disorder, Belligerant bulimia. I maintain with a guy who did really well in the Silicon Valley and looked like a great guy on the surface but was also an alcholic and verbal abuser. My family ostersized andpersecuted because I just kept talking about alcoholism or what my father did to me. They don't want to remember. I had to remember to stay alive and get well. They wouldn't invite me and my husband, who is a Vietnam Vet also and wouldn't even invite us to Christmas. Nothing happen. No upset, We just don't fit. So I tried my best to get well. Went to therapy, humanistic development, became a buddhist and was dieing. I finally came to Christ and recieved the blood of Jesus and my body is now healing. I worked for 20 years as a coach, when I could. when I was well enough. I empowered companies to succeed, sales teams to increase results and people to come to grips with their personal lives and all the while not really able to help myself. Do things consistantly to be really successful in the midst of being so ill I spent two years in bed, and 6 years not knowing if I would life or die. People still want to call me a victim because my life doesnt' look like how they think it should. Or tell me I made all wrong choices and that I'm totally responsible in a way that is like a whipping for not being like them.

    You didn't address the soul of your friend. Suggest maybe a church, 12 step program, or to get a personal coach. You didn't address his failures in and open and honest way. You just guilted yourself into being a martyr. You didn't do something to empower him, teach him, share skills that might lift him. Something to empower him. You were the victim by not setting any time limits to your generousity. You were the one who could not address the truth with him or your concerns over his situation. Trust me Eddie was very well aware of his situation. Trying to find a place to rest... just alittle and with people who don't understand you have to hid, make up stories, you can't tell them or yourself how badly you are failing because every one expects you to succeed but you are broken and you don't know how to fix that.

    In my experience there is only one place to got o fix that. Jesus Christ and there will be a day for you when you stand in front of God and it's your time to be evaluated for how you did.. He will ask you... what did you do for Eddie's soul. Did you judge him? Plaquate him, tolerate him or did you love him, show him the way to me because he was sooooo lost.. and now you are writting arrogant letter to judge him long after the event and justifying your behavior and givein other people persmission to behave as you by giving them and out for there own behavior around the poor, homeless, broken, suppress and oppress people who are victims of the darkness that has just not perchance darkness you door enough to have some sympathy and compassion for those beaten down.

    This is God giving you a wake up call.
    Paula Mary
    certified biblcial coach
    http://www.ewingsadvisor.blogspot.com

    I am a coach. I Got my certification for a biblical coach about a year ago. The school that I got it from now comes to me for coaching. I now coach a women who coaches the NFL, NBA, many corporation and most of the TV mega ministries.

    Here is my coaching for this arrogant thoughtless email. Get on your knees and plead with God to forgive you for not doing better by Eddie and what other self righteous points of view you have on the poor, the down trodden, the oppressed, suppressed, and abused. It's time to be come a bigger person, with a bigger box and a bigger God. But then I'm sure you will erase this rather distrubing email and gosh you couldn't let some truth out that might contradict your well crafted logical arguement.

    Paula Mary

    Paula Mary
    certified biblical coach

  7. Getting hot 🙂

    Christians usually don't use lies. ???
    Eddie is not the same Eddie described by Paula.

    Eddie had everything, all the potentials man can have in his hands. But he squandered it and drained it to a w.c. pan.

    There is one story in the Bible. It well describes the attitude that God wants us to have. One owner left treasures to his servants while going to a trip. Three parts to three servants. And asked them to keep it well.
    He was not coming back for long time. And servants thought what to do with treasures. One of them decided just to store it and bury it in the ground. And another two servants decided to multiply treasures and put it into an affair.
    When finally the owner came back and saw what they did. He chastised the one that kept it safe for his passivity and inactivity. And praised others calling them loyal and zealous servants.

    But imagine if there were another servant who simply stole treasures and spend it for his own. What would owner would do to this person?

    What will you do with people who frivol away everything they get in their hands? Even if those are your grown kids. I would send them to a poor country to see and learn what they should learn.

  8. Randy, we've been discussing this in our Sunday School class, quite a discussion - seems they all believe selfishness is a sin. I was the lone dissenter... I've enjoyed your posts.

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  • 10 comments on “More on Selfishness…”

    1. It is true that if you want to help someone, you first have to be in a safe place yourself.

      But I am sure you can help other person even when you are not yet very rich, full and overflowing.

      Real help comes from the system of values of a great person.

      If you simply gave your friend food, place to stay and a TVset - that is the worst kind of help you offered to your poor friend. Then you deserve the poorest attitude returning to you from your friend.

      But if you instead stoped him and called for a talk. You explained him why he is poor, why he is dumb and sick. And then you kicked him out from your house with some best wishes for his life. THAT can be the best experience your friend may experience in his life. Then a best gratitude will return to you from your friend if he will learn the lesson.

      And notice that you didn't have to sacrifice a penny for that. But you lived for the greater good at that moment. 🙂

    2. I loved this section in your book. I also liked the "Island Story"; I wanted to make it into it's own movie.

      I think you're right- Eddie probably needs to be kicked in the a$$ to get going. Is it always that simple though?

      What happens when Eddie is your sick 65-year-old and no-longer employable father?

      No one wants those welfare measures to be permanent; that's why there are limits. YES, some people game the system, but how can we create a system that HELPS without crippling?

    3. and the words burn. emotion thoroughly underscored with reality. as an entrepreneur the littany of egregious governmental innundation on my space, my spirit, my funds, my determination to be more is so difficult to avoid, like being tied to the railroad tracks, hands behind the back waiting for the next expected commuter train. the regular pelting of my being could be the end of me without words that burn and underscore an alternative direction.

    4. For me Eddie is the type of friend that is not really my friend any more because our head spaces are so different.

      I would send Eddie to the unemployment office and suggest he go ask for social welfare. There are places where you can sleep, get a meal and have a shower, here in Austria any way.

      I would not invite him to sleep over even if he thinks I'm a selfish bitch. I live in a sort of socialist country and I know he can get help. It may not be as fab is living in my place but I'm not a hotel and Eddie is not my best friend.

      No Guilt

    5. Poor Eddie, let's bail him out, throw him a billion, oops thats only for our bankers...we are being conned everyday...call me scrooge but I'm tired of pulling the wagon...what can the average Joe do about this mess?

    6. Hi,
      I'm Eddie... no not really but yes I was Eddie. So here is Eddies side fo the story. Eddie was molested by his father and raped by three " neighbor hood boys growing up who were17-18-19 year old.
      The rapes and molestations left you with adhd. Hard time forcusing on detail or you are so emotioanall damaged you are just trying to survive and can't make good choice or see clearly through to a path to get a real direction going in your life.. You don't make right choices because you are always in survival mode trying to hide the eating disorder you have and how tried your body is. I'm not totally as ineffective as your eddie. I so totally harden my body with belligerent bulemia that I would manage to look like one of your " normal" safe guys who had it all together because you had something close to normal growing up. My parents were both alcholics in the day where you could work and get away with that. I was phyically abused by other sybilings. I divorced a " Normal Guy" who just couldn't get why Iwas going crazy after he demanded that I get and abortion because " he wasn't ready" When the hormone started to go crazy and because of the uterus that was holding on to so much rage because of my past and now a vaccum just came an suck something out of it. I lost my ability to keep my attention. Flunked out of college because I couldn't go after my life long dream of music. I was good. I taught myself to play piano in a basement where i would hid from my father or my family. They would leave me alone when I played piano. I moved in with a man after my divorce that I didn't love to be able to survive and not go home to an alcholic mother in her old age. I was becomeing really sick with the most severe eating disorder, Belligerant bulimia. I maintain with a guy who did really well in the Silicon Valley and looked like a great guy on the surface but was also an alcholic and verbal abuser. My family ostersized andpersecuted because I just kept talking about alcoholism or what my father did to me. They don't want to remember. I had to remember to stay alive and get well. They wouldn't invite me and my husband, who is a Vietnam Vet also and wouldn't even invite us to Christmas. Nothing happen. No upset, We just don't fit. So I tried my best to get well. Went to therapy, humanistic development, became a buddhist and was dieing. I finally came to Christ and recieved the blood of Jesus and my body is now healing. I worked for 20 years as a coach, when I could. when I was well enough. I empowered companies to succeed, sales teams to increase results and people to come to grips with their personal lives and all the while not really able to help myself. Do things consistantly to be really successful in the midst of being so ill I spent two years in bed, and 6 years not knowing if I would life or die. People still want to call me a victim because my life doesnt' look like how they think it should. Or tell me I made all wrong choices and that I'm totally responsible in a way that is like a whipping for not being like them.

      You didn't address the soul of your friend. Suggest maybe a church, 12 step program, or to get a personal coach. You didn't address his failures in and open and honest way. You just guilted yourself into being a martyr. You didn't do something to empower him, teach him, share skills that might lift him. Something to empower him. You were the victim by not setting any time limits to your generousity. You were the one who could not address the truth with him or your concerns over his situation. Trust me Eddie was very well aware of his situation. Trying to find a place to rest... just alittle and with people who don't understand you have to hid, make up stories, you can't tell them or yourself how badly you are failing because every one expects you to succeed but you are broken and you don't know how to fix that.

      In my experience there is only one place to got o fix that. Jesus Christ and there will be a day for you when you stand in front of God and it's your time to be evaluated for how you did.. He will ask you... what did you do for Eddie's soul. Did you judge him? Plaquate him, tolerate him or did you love him, show him the way to me because he was sooooo lost.. and now you are writting arrogant letter to judge him long after the event and justifying your behavior and givein other people persmission to behave as you by giving them and out for there own behavior around the poor, homeless, broken, suppress and oppress people who are victims of the darkness that has just not perchance darkness you door enough to have some sympathy and compassion for those beaten down.

      This is God giving you a wake up call.
      Paula Mary
      certified biblcial coach
      http://www.ewingsadvisor.blogspot.com

      I am a coach. I Got my certification for a biblical coach about a year ago. The school that I got it from now comes to me for coaching. I now coach a women who coaches the NFL, NBA, many corporation and most of the TV mega ministries.

      Here is my coaching for this arrogant thoughtless email. Get on your knees and plead with God to forgive you for not doing better by Eddie and what other self righteous points of view you have on the poor, the down trodden, the oppressed, suppressed, and abused. It's time to be come a bigger person, with a bigger box and a bigger God. But then I'm sure you will erase this rather distrubing email and gosh you couldn't let some truth out that might contradict your well crafted logical arguement.

      Paula Mary

      Paula Mary
      certified biblical coach

    7. Getting hot 🙂

      Christians usually don't use lies. ???
      Eddie is not the same Eddie described by Paula.

      Eddie had everything, all the potentials man can have in his hands. But he squandered it and drained it to a w.c. pan.

      There is one story in the Bible. It well describes the attitude that God wants us to have. One owner left treasures to his servants while going to a trip. Three parts to three servants. And asked them to keep it well.
      He was not coming back for long time. And servants thought what to do with treasures. One of them decided just to store it and bury it in the ground. And another two servants decided to multiply treasures and put it into an affair.
      When finally the owner came back and saw what they did. He chastised the one that kept it safe for his passivity and inactivity. And praised others calling them loyal and zealous servants.

      But imagine if there were another servant who simply stole treasures and spend it for his own. What would owner would do to this person?

      What will you do with people who frivol away everything they get in their hands? Even if those are your grown kids. I would send them to a poor country to see and learn what they should learn.

    8. Randy, we've been discussing this in our Sunday School class, quite a discussion - seems they all believe selfishness is a sin. I was the lone dissenter... I've enjoyed your posts.

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