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Selfishness and Love

Posted By: Randy GageJanuary 7, 2009

In the post “Selfishness In (or Versus) Relationships,” I mentioned that you fall in love with someone because they bring happiness to your life.  Or in other words, for selfish reasons.   Zhannur wants to know if that means you are simply looking for a happy experience with a person, and “looking to suck the joy, life and energy from that person?”

He goes on to ask “would a man want to make his woman happy, or sit in the chair while expecting her to bring you flowers, coffee in the bed, invitation for a date, a dinner and other stuff that usually man does for his woman? If you don’t want to be like herd then will you Randy choose the second one to be really selfish?”

Interesting question…

Not that I’m opposed to sitting in my massage chair and having someone wait on me hand and foot!  But that would actually get pretty boring I think.

I love to get presents.  But I think I get more fun watching a kid opening a present I give them.  I love to see a Cirque du Soleil show.  But it’s even better when I’m taking someone for the first time and watching the wonder and amazement on their face.

In a yet earlier post, Turiya asked about many quotes from famous people, asking about whether they were in line with my philosophy or not.  Here are some examples and what I think about them:

“We will receive not what we idly wish for but what we justly earn. Our rewards will always be in exact proportion to our service.”
— Earl Nightingale

I agree, because prosperity is produced by creating value to the universe.

“Good service leads to multiple sales. If you take good care of your customers, they will open doors you could never open by yourself.”
— Jim Rohn

I agree.  This is just good marketing.

“Whoever renders service to many puts himself in line for greatness - great wealth, great return, great satisfaction, great reputation and great joy.”
— Jim Rohn

I agree.  Because once again, prosperity is creating by a value for value exchange.

“Money is a servant; the more you earn, the more you can help others.”
– Bob Proctor

I agree, kind of.  As long as you don’t believe that making money REQUIRES you to help others.  Which a lot of prosperity coaches teach.  Giving should come from your heart of free will.

“One thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.”
— Albert Schweitzer

I agree.  But only for the joy that giving provides you.  In other words, for selfish reasons.

“No one has learned the meaning of life until he has surrendered his ego to the service of his fellow men.”
— Beran Wolfe

Treading on very dangerous ground here…

“All men seek one goal: success or happiness. The only way to achieve true success is to express yourself completely in service to society. First, have a definite, clear, practical ideal—a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends—wisdom, money, materials and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.”
– Aristotle

Totally disagree.  This kind of thinking keeps people dumb, sick and broke.   Success or happiness?  I think they come as a package deal.

“Life is a place of service, and in that service one has to suffer a great deal that is hard to bear, but more often to experience a great deal of joy.  But that joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness.”
— Leo Tolstoy

Treading on dangerous ground again here.  Creeping toward low self-esteem and worthiness issues; a sure recipe for unhappiness.

“Service to a just cause rewards one with more real happiness and satisfaction than any other venture of life.”
— Carrie Chapman Catt

True.  But only because of the selfish joy it provides you.

“Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.”
¬— Marion Wright Edelman

Yikes!  Not sure who this person is or was, but they should work for the Catholic church!

This week I’ve been collecting my financial papers to send to the accountant.  And it’s been a wonderful experience just looking at and adding up all of the charitable contributions I made last year.  Just seeing them again causes me to relive the joy I felt making them.  In 2008 I gave away ten times more than I used to make in a year!

But it’s important to note, that I did that for purely selfish reasons.  (Bob Burg expressed a similar thought on the original post.)  The causes I support help kids with cleft palate surgery, give micro loans at leper colonies in India, provide shelter for run away kids, allow the Opera to continue performances, give poor kids presents at holiday time, and provide meals for people in transition.

I’ll probably never meet most of those people my contributions help.  But those donations bring me great happiness for the selfish reasons we discussed.

Now as far as relationships, no one can make you happy.  Only you can do that.  But another person can certainly contribute to your happiness.  But if you dedicate your life to serving their needs, you’ll end up bitter, unfulfilled and pretty unhappy.

That doesn’t mean that you won’t make sacrifices for those you love.  People in love do this all the time.  Look at the tremendous sacrifices parents make for their children.  One spouse may work two jobs to send the other to college.

But when you life becomes only about providing for others, you’re on the slippery slope to misery.

Check in with your thoughts, and we’ll explore this further in some future posts.  In the meantime, here’s some homework:  Get Ayn Rand’s book, The Virtue of Selfishness and read it this week.

-RG

24 comments on “Selfishness and Love”

  1. Agree with you on the Aristotle quote....and Bob Proctor's....a better word would be guide! You guide and teach people..It's up to them to make the change and go forth!
    Tony Beach

  2. Re: Marion Wright Edelman (from Wikipedia): 'Her father, a Baptist minister who instilled in her that Christianity obligates one to service . . . ' (shudder!),

  3. “All men seek one goal: success or happiness. The only way to achieve true success is to express yourself completely in service to society. First, have a definite, clear, practical ideal—a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends—wisdom, money, materials and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.”
    – Aristotle

    Trivia but interesting: The one statement that you strongly disagreed with I doubt very much was ever said. The style of language does not fit the era of Aristotle in any way.

  4. Re: the Aristotle quote... I think there's a semantical error here. By "happiness or success" I take it that the originator means "happiness or (as you could also put it) success". Thus it becomes just what you're saying - a package deal. No need to argue 🙂

  5. The other thing I'm thinking about Glen's posting is that this may be one of those quotes where someone has updated it to today's vernacular, which always leaves room for distortion.

  6. "Not that I’m opposed to sitting in my massage chair and having someone wait on me hand and foot! But that would actually get pretty boring I think."

    I think it would get annoying. In a fantasy or once in a while, it sounds fun, but in real life someone willing to wait on me 'hand and foot' would just bug me.

    I think anyone willing to do that would be a person with pretty low self esteem... and THEY would become boring in time. It also doesn't make for a very dynamic or equal relationship.
    Jeanne

  7. Randy, I totally agreed with you , but when talking about the sacrifices parents make for the kids, well , I dont think they sacrifices anything if they are happy doing it. If a mother takes the money she earns to put the kid into college (using your example) and can´t imagine herself doing something diferent, and she is happy doing it, it is not a sacrifice. A SACRIFICE is when the mother want to spent the money buying a dress for a party but doesnt do it because she HAS TO, and I repeat, HAS TO put her kid into college, she is not happy doing it, but is was she is suppost to do, then it is a sacrifice.

  8. This thread really hits home to me. I truly do think that some people thrive on the service mindset and actually find it very fulfilling.

    Randy, you said....

    "But if you dedicate your life to serving their needs, you’ll end up bitter, unfulfilled and pretty unhappy."

    I'm wondering where my mother would fit into this? She obsesses over serving her kids. As much as we tell her she should look after herself and use her pension money to make her own life easier, she would just as soon throw it at her kids. Making her like harder in the financial sense but maybe feeling a sense of obligation to do so despite protestations otherwise?

    Very frustrating.

    And yes, she is a devout Catholic.

    Bob

  9. Trying to picture Aristotle driving my F360 over to Alexander the Great's house to teach him philosophy. And, I have this vivid image of Tolstoy getting air with my Donzi 43 in the Baltic Sea off of Saint Petersburg. I think these guys and RG would have been fast friends back in the day...

  10. You hit the nail on the head once again!

    Being raised in a very strict religion, I can relate to the quotes by Aristotle, Marion Wright Edleman and Carrie Chapman Catt.

    I was raised that service to others could mean helping out members of the congregation with the everyday necessities or mainly by spreading the gospal to everyone and anyone who would listen.

    Service for the selfish reason of it bringing you joy is not an option in that enviroment. It's mainly about serving enough to gain God's aproval, especially in the evangelizing work. Those who go door to door the most are most likely to be saved.
    So it's really about a whole diffferent selfish reason, survival through the end of world per say.

    Low self esteem and herd mentality is what was fostered all through the years in my old church.

    Nothing is better than breaking away from that!

    Thanks Randy for your insights and for helping us all to be better critical thinkers.

  11. I think we need to expand our definition of service. The very act of serving is almost synonymous with bestowing, therefore one cannot serve, from a place of wanting or needing. One can only serve/bestow from a place of having and abundance. We run into problems when we engage in service to satisfy some some ego driven perception that says if we do this then we will get this.

  12. Yes and this is taken from Wiktionary.

    "Service - An event in which an entity takes the responsibility that something desirable happens on the behalf of another entity."

    There is nothing in this definition about low self-esteem or self-humiliation.

    Also religious definition:
    (religion) Doing something for someone else without thought of reward or payment.

    BUT etymology leads us to another meaning and word.
    from Latin:
    servus - servant or slave.

    So, probably subconsciously we keep this historical under-meaning of this word of a humble servant.

  13. Great topic and subject. I know that i get so much more out of giving a gift than receiving it and i do think that that is selfish just not in the same light that the rest of the herd thinks of selfhishness.

    I do enjoy getting a gift i won't lie but in reality it is so much more fulfilling for me to give and i don't see myself as some super human philanthropist. It serves me and makes me feel pretty darned good. Perhaps societies definition of selfish is what is so wrong here. Hmmm....

    Fun posts to check out. Always interesting to see so many different thoughts and theories on life!

    Cheers
    Wesley Anderson
    http://www.wesley-anderson.com

  14. I think that happiness comes from what you BELIEVE will make you happy. One could argue that for the very selfish reasons we give (So we feel good) someone could be serving others selfishly so they themselves feel good.

    I believe all we do is a service, even this blog "serves" many of us. Thus Randy you are serving others! How miserable do you feel now? 😉

    Interesting topic, I never really thought about the things we do for others as a selfish act, but objectively... it is.

  15. Dear Mr. Gage,

    I am sorry to intrude into your community here. Maybe the fact that I am subscribed to your Randy’s Rants newsletter may serve as an excuse.

    Let me ask you this: do your books get published in Russia with your consent or do they simply get pirated?

    I am asking this because I have read a number of your books in Russian including “Why You’re Dumb, Sick and Broke...”, “How to Build a Multi-Level Money Machine”, and “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Prosperity”. Some other books have also been published in the Russian-speaking countries. Most of the translations were... well, let us say, not good enough. I can easily come up with examples if needed, but I am not giving them here in order to not waste your time.

    I would appreciate your reply here on the blog, or you can e-mail me at

    [email protected]

    Thank you so much for the gift of your time!

    Best regards,
    Alex

  16. Actually all 7 of my books have been published by authorized Russian publishers. But as you probably know, copyright laws there are almost non existent. So there are about 2 million knock off copies in circulation. I noticed when I did book signings there that about 9/10 of the books presented were the counterfeit versions. -RG

  17. Ha, that's funny 9 of 10 🙂
    Actually talking about electronic pirate versions you can in the web - it sometimes helpful to check the book and get it later knowing that it costs its money. I do that sometimes.

  18. Dear Mr. Gage,

    thank you very much for your reply! I am sorry those figures are that grim...

    Let me tell you a secret. I was thinking about how I should purchase your books so that you would get the royalty for sure. And I decided I would never ever buy any of your books in Russian.

    As you mentioned in your reply, 90 percent of the books were counterfeit copies. So buying those books actually means committing a theft. By the way, I admire people who download books on prosperity from the Net for free and then complain about not being able to manifest prosperity in their lives. I guess prosperity and theft have nothing in common. Regretfully, downloading pirated copies of books from the Net is especially widespread in Russian-speaking countries. Fuck knows, maybe this love of freebies is a legacy of communism.

    For this very reason and in light of what you said about the number of knock-off books you had to sign, my offer of cooperation seems senseless now. I am actually a professional translator (English and German to Russian). In particular, I used to translate materials by Jim Rohn and Robin Sharma that were available for free on the Net. But getting their books translated to Russian actually poses a threat for an author because the books are very likely to get pirated, which means no royalty for the author and no point launching the whole translation and publishing stuff.

    Anyway, thank you for reading this scribble!

    By the way, I used to be an Herbalife distributor. Your books are very popular among Herbalifers! But you probably know that better than me.

    All the best to you!

    Yours truly,
    Alex

    P. S. Oh, by the way, speaking of the homework you gave the subscribers of your newsletter. Two days ago, I was offered to translate Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness to Russian! The book is incredible, but translating it involves great responsibility to the readers. So I am in doubt about whether I MAY take on this job.

  19. Dear Mr Randy Gage
    This is Kiumars Dayjoori , I invested in palinure international recently and I heared you had a meeting for this company in Dubai, I saw following films about this company I want to know is this company really exist? and where is it's address?

    here is the link of films that I saw:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaicqzqVIoA

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvmngcUMh-4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47W0K0pRXnE&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCTFdgrmCh4

    thanks with best wishes
    Kiumars Dayjoori
    palinure investor

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  • 24 comments on “Selfishness and Love”

    1. Agree with you on the Aristotle quote....and Bob Proctor's....a better word would be guide! You guide and teach people..It's up to them to make the change and go forth!
      Tony Beach

    2. Re: Marion Wright Edelman (from Wikipedia): 'Her father, a Baptist minister who instilled in her that Christianity obligates one to service . . . ' (shudder!),

    3. “All men seek one goal: success or happiness. The only way to achieve true success is to express yourself completely in service to society. First, have a definite, clear, practical ideal—a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends—wisdom, money, materials and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.”
      – Aristotle

      Trivia but interesting: The one statement that you strongly disagreed with I doubt very much was ever said. The style of language does not fit the era of Aristotle in any way.

    4. Re: the Aristotle quote... I think there's a semantical error here. By "happiness or success" I take it that the originator means "happiness or (as you could also put it) success". Thus it becomes just what you're saying - a package deal. No need to argue 🙂

    5. The other thing I'm thinking about Glen's posting is that this may be one of those quotes where someone has updated it to today's vernacular, which always leaves room for distortion.

    6. "Not that I’m opposed to sitting in my massage chair and having someone wait on me hand and foot! But that would actually get pretty boring I think."

      I think it would get annoying. In a fantasy or once in a while, it sounds fun, but in real life someone willing to wait on me 'hand and foot' would just bug me.

      I think anyone willing to do that would be a person with pretty low self esteem... and THEY would become boring in time. It also doesn't make for a very dynamic or equal relationship.
      Jeanne

    7. Randy, I totally agreed with you , but when talking about the sacrifices parents make for the kids, well , I dont think they sacrifices anything if they are happy doing it. If a mother takes the money she earns to put the kid into college (using your example) and can´t imagine herself doing something diferent, and she is happy doing it, it is not a sacrifice. A SACRIFICE is when the mother want to spent the money buying a dress for a party but doesnt do it because she HAS TO, and I repeat, HAS TO put her kid into college, she is not happy doing it, but is was she is suppost to do, then it is a sacrifice.

    8. This thread really hits home to me. I truly do think that some people thrive on the service mindset and actually find it very fulfilling.

      Randy, you said....

      "But if you dedicate your life to serving their needs, you’ll end up bitter, unfulfilled and pretty unhappy."

      I'm wondering where my mother would fit into this? She obsesses over serving her kids. As much as we tell her she should look after herself and use her pension money to make her own life easier, she would just as soon throw it at her kids. Making her like harder in the financial sense but maybe feeling a sense of obligation to do so despite protestations otherwise?

      Very frustrating.

      And yes, she is a devout Catholic.

      Bob

    9. Trying to picture Aristotle driving my F360 over to Alexander the Great's house to teach him philosophy. And, I have this vivid image of Tolstoy getting air with my Donzi 43 in the Baltic Sea off of Saint Petersburg. I think these guys and RG would have been fast friends back in the day...

    10. You hit the nail on the head once again!

      Being raised in a very strict religion, I can relate to the quotes by Aristotle, Marion Wright Edleman and Carrie Chapman Catt.

      I was raised that service to others could mean helping out members of the congregation with the everyday necessities or mainly by spreading the gospal to everyone and anyone who would listen.

      Service for the selfish reason of it bringing you joy is not an option in that enviroment. It's mainly about serving enough to gain God's aproval, especially in the evangelizing work. Those who go door to door the most are most likely to be saved.
      So it's really about a whole diffferent selfish reason, survival through the end of world per say.

      Low self esteem and herd mentality is what was fostered all through the years in my old church.

      Nothing is better than breaking away from that!

      Thanks Randy for your insights and for helping us all to be better critical thinkers.

    11. I think we need to expand our definition of service. The very act of serving is almost synonymous with bestowing, therefore one cannot serve, from a place of wanting or needing. One can only serve/bestow from a place of having and abundance. We run into problems when we engage in service to satisfy some some ego driven perception that says if we do this then we will get this.

    12. Yes and this is taken from Wiktionary.

      "Service - An event in which an entity takes the responsibility that something desirable happens on the behalf of another entity."

      There is nothing in this definition about low self-esteem or self-humiliation.

      Also religious definition:
      (religion) Doing something for someone else without thought of reward or payment.

      BUT etymology leads us to another meaning and word.
      from Latin:
      servus - servant or slave.

      So, probably subconsciously we keep this historical under-meaning of this word of a humble servant.

    13. Great topic and subject. I know that i get so much more out of giving a gift than receiving it and i do think that that is selfish just not in the same light that the rest of the herd thinks of selfhishness.

      I do enjoy getting a gift i won't lie but in reality it is so much more fulfilling for me to give and i don't see myself as some super human philanthropist. It serves me and makes me feel pretty darned good. Perhaps societies definition of selfish is what is so wrong here. Hmmm....

      Fun posts to check out. Always interesting to see so many different thoughts and theories on life!

      Cheers
      Wesley Anderson
      http://www.wesley-anderson.com

    14. I think that happiness comes from what you BELIEVE will make you happy. One could argue that for the very selfish reasons we give (So we feel good) someone could be serving others selfishly so they themselves feel good.

      I believe all we do is a service, even this blog "serves" many of us. Thus Randy you are serving others! How miserable do you feel now? 😉

      Interesting topic, I never really thought about the things we do for others as a selfish act, but objectively... it is.

    15. Dear Mr. Gage,

      I am sorry to intrude into your community here. Maybe the fact that I am subscribed to your Randy’s Rants newsletter may serve as an excuse.

      Let me ask you this: do your books get published in Russia with your consent or do they simply get pirated?

      I am asking this because I have read a number of your books in Russian including “Why You’re Dumb, Sick and Broke...”, “How to Build a Multi-Level Money Machine”, and “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Prosperity”. Some other books have also been published in the Russian-speaking countries. Most of the translations were... well, let us say, not good enough. I can easily come up with examples if needed, but I am not giving them here in order to not waste your time.

      I would appreciate your reply here on the blog, or you can e-mail me at

      [email protected]

      Thank you so much for the gift of your time!

      Best regards,
      Alex

    16. Actually all 7 of my books have been published by authorized Russian publishers. But as you probably know, copyright laws there are almost non existent. So there are about 2 million knock off copies in circulation. I noticed when I did book signings there that about 9/10 of the books presented were the counterfeit versions. -RG

    17. Ha, that's funny 9 of 10 🙂
      Actually talking about electronic pirate versions you can in the web - it sometimes helpful to check the book and get it later knowing that it costs its money. I do that sometimes.

    18. Dear Mr. Gage,

      thank you very much for your reply! I am sorry those figures are that grim...

      Let me tell you a secret. I was thinking about how I should purchase your books so that you would get the royalty for sure. And I decided I would never ever buy any of your books in Russian.

      As you mentioned in your reply, 90 percent of the books were counterfeit copies. So buying those books actually means committing a theft. By the way, I admire people who download books on prosperity from the Net for free and then complain about not being able to manifest prosperity in their lives. I guess prosperity and theft have nothing in common. Regretfully, downloading pirated copies of books from the Net is especially widespread in Russian-speaking countries. Fuck knows, maybe this love of freebies is a legacy of communism.

      For this very reason and in light of what you said about the number of knock-off books you had to sign, my offer of cooperation seems senseless now. I am actually a professional translator (English and German to Russian). In particular, I used to translate materials by Jim Rohn and Robin Sharma that were available for free on the Net. But getting their books translated to Russian actually poses a threat for an author because the books are very likely to get pirated, which means no royalty for the author and no point launching the whole translation and publishing stuff.

      Anyway, thank you for reading this scribble!

      By the way, I used to be an Herbalife distributor. Your books are very popular among Herbalifers! But you probably know that better than me.

      All the best to you!

      Yours truly,
      Alex

      P. S. Oh, by the way, speaking of the homework you gave the subscribers of your newsletter. Two days ago, I was offered to translate Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness to Russian! The book is incredible, but translating it involves great responsibility to the readers. So I am in doubt about whether I MAY take on this job.

    19. Dear Mr Randy Gage
      This is Kiumars Dayjoori , I invested in palinure international recently and I heared you had a meeting for this company in Dubai, I saw following films about this company I want to know is this company really exist? and where is it's address?

      here is the link of films that I saw:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaicqzqVIoA

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvmngcUMh-4

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47W0K0pRXnE&feature=related

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCTFdgrmCh4

      thanks with best wishes
      Kiumars Dayjoori
      palinure investor

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