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?”
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.”
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.