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Be Selfish and Save the World

By David Parton

Why do we help others? There is a whole lot of pain and poverty, illness and despair in the world. I can't speak for you but I would like to make a difference and improve the quality of life for others. Volunteer work is a great way to begin.

No single person can change the entire world but you can have an impact on the lives of others in your own corner of the universe. That, in a small way, changes the world ever so slightly. Multiply that by a billion and it is a brave new world.

How many times have you heard people say " You can't change the world. You are just one person?" It begins with one. Forget all that nonsense the defeatists choose to fill there heads with. That's their business. The contents of your head is all that matters.

Your happiness counts. How can you share your happiness if you have none to share? You can't be happy if you put others happiness ahead of your own. You have to put yourself first in order to have the tools to affect change.

I don't know how many people I have met that speak of all the hungry people of the world living in poverty. And how they dream of helping them. These are people that are wallowing in consumer debt, the working poor, just inches away from bankruptcy. They want to help others when they cannot even dream of themselves living in prosperity. Such noble nonsense.

If you want to help your family, help your community or change the world, you have to help yourself first. You have to be selfish for pete's sake! It's not a sin or a crime to put yourself first. You have to lead by example. Nobody chooses to follow the disempowered.

Make your happiness and peace of mind your number one priority. Once you have that you have the power to really affect change. Helping others is a wonderful thing. Look at the global efforts to help the Tsunami victims and affected areas. You could rationalize it and say that helping is the right thing to do, that contributing to any good cause is the right thing to do. I agree.

But, we are not motivated by our intellect or rationalizations. It is emotion that moves us to act. Helping out makes us feel good and inversely we know that watching others suffer and not helping when we know we can will make us feel miserable. We don' t want to make ourselves unhappy.

If you can truly be honest with yourself you will see that beneath all the sentiment is a need to tend to our own happiness. I like to volunteer because it makes me feel good. That is the bottom line. The rest is just window-dressing. I have a selfish desire to feel good and so do you. There is nothing wrong with that.

Yoga, meditation and prayer make me feel good, too. Can you call those selfish pursuits? How about attending church or worshipping your higher power? Do those things make you feel good? Of course they do or you would not do them. If pursuing your own emotional well-being and feeling good is not what you would consider selfish, than I think that the term "selfish" is highly misunderstood.

Tend to your "self" first. Be selfish. Then and only then can you really make a difference.


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