Selfishness is the Key to Success

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What if I told you selfishness is the key to success? How would you feel if I explained that the art of being selfish could make your dreams come true?  Let’s take a closer look at selfishness, and why you need to be selfish to achieve success.

You’re a nice guy.

Your friends can borrow your bike anytime they wished.

You help your cousin complete his college assignment (even if you don’t get sleep that night).

Rahul’s weekly report was unfinished, and he had a date on that evening. Guess what? You stayed late at work to finish the task so he could enjoy a romantic evening with his girlfriend.

You’re always eager to help your classmates, friends, and coworkers succeed. And you feel good about it.

But, at times, you feel you’re not getting anywhere.

You’re doing everything you can to help others succeed, but still, your good karma is not rewarding you.

You wonder, “Where is my share of success? Why am I lagging?”

Let me ask you this:

Are you sure you’re not missing out the essential ingredient critical to success?

“What’s that?”

Hold your breath.

It’s Selfishness. And you know what? One of the best personality development tips I could give you if you’re serious about success is this:

Selfishness is the Key to Success

“Selfishness? OMG!? Do I need to be selfish to get successful?”

Why not?

“No. I can’t do that because it’s wrong to be selfish.”

Don’t you want to get successful?

“I do…but.”

But what?

“But it’s still wrong to be selfish.”

Who told you that?

“Well, I just know.”

Hmm. OK, let me share with you what I know. Because just like you, I also used to believe it’s wrong to be selfish but over time I realised that’s not the case.

Now, before we discuss why it’s so damn important to be selfish, let me clarify what being selfish mean?

Being selfish means, you take care of your needs first. That’s it!

Selfishness helps you become independent and resourceful, and you can help others.

A selfish person takes good care of his body, mind, and soul, and as a result, he stays balanced, calm and full of energy. He nurtures his life so he can share the best with others.

“But why would a ‘selfish’ person share?”

Because sharing enrich life – it makes it worth living.

Selfishness Leads to Success

Don’t give up opportunities so others can get ahead of you because getting exploited by others is as much of a sin as it is to use others.

The society made you believe it’s wrong to be selfish while I say it’s not. It’s the opposite. When you start pursuing your dreams, you ultimately end up benefiting others. How can you not? You are a part of this vast orchestra called the world. For example:

  • You build a business empire and end up creating countless opportunities and jobs for others.
  • When you improve your health, you become an example for others to follow.
  • You make a little more clean air for us to breathe in when you give up smoking.
  • When you meditate, you start radiating love, which inspires others to be loving and kind.
  • When you excel at personal growth, you give invisible power to others who also want to move ahead in life

Selfishness is Key to Success? Then Why Do Selfish People Get Criticized?

Now, let me give you a little context here.

In Hindi, selfish means “स्वार्थी ” (swarthy), – A person who tries to find ‘meaning’ in his own life before searching it in the world.

Now you tell me what is wrong with that? If you won’t find meaning in your own life, whose life you’d find it in, your neighbour’s?

Made sense?

Back to “Why selfish people get criticised?”

People criticise selfishness because we’ve forgotten its real meaning.

Generally, we say, “Oh! he is such a mean and selfish person.”

Ah..! Not entirely, you can either be mean or be selfish. You cannot be both together.

So, this is what has happened, being selfish has been mistaken for being mean.

Just as ‘Being aggressive’ and ‘Being assertive’ are not the same, Being mean’ is also not equal to ‘Being selfish.’

A mean person has no concern or regards for others. He wants to exploit people so that he could get everything, by hook or by crook.

On the other hand, a selfish person puts himself first without exploiting or taking advantage of others. And at the same time, he also respects others’ right to be selfish.

When you’re not sure if being selfish is OK, you feel uneasy putting yourself first. (You start to believe you’re doing something wrong).

I know it’s quite natural to feel guilty about being selfish, at least in a country like India.

In our country, people are fond of songs like ‘Apne liye jiye toh kya jiye tu jee aye dil zamane ke liye.’ We consider sacrificing one’s pleasures for others sacred.

The truth is, you need the virtue of selfishness to get successful.

It is entirely natural to be selfish unless you are conditioned otherwise.

You can only be kind to others if you are kind to yourself first.

Why Become Selfish?

Because it’s idiotic not to be.

Remember: In a selfish world only the selfish succeed.

The very first person you need to take care of is you.

You need to take care of your health, your thoughts, your values, the words you speak and the actions you take, literally everything.

I know you have were made to believe things work like this:

The World





It’s bullshit!

Consider this, instead:





The World

I don’t care if it sounds rude or harsh or whatever.  Facts remain facts! Your world exists because you exist.

What is ‘The World’ Anyway?

Let’s assume 50 people were sitting in a hall. Ask them if any one of them is the world, nobody will say yes.

Since the world is a community of many different individuals, no particular person can call himself ‘the world’, and yet everybody is in a sense.

Do you want to change the world?

How about starting with yourself?

When you work on yourself, you make this world more beautiful, more hopeful, more enriched, and end up making it better than you had found it.

Be selfish if you’re serious about helping others, and work on yourself first. Trying to help others when you yourself are in need of help is nothing but a waste of time.

Just think:

  • Can you love others if you don’t like even yourself?
  • How can you honestly help others prosper if you’re broke?
  • You think you help others succeed while you’re still struggling to achieve success?

Avoiding Selfishness? Be Ready for Failure

My father believed it was OK to put himself and his family last.

Selfishness was not his cup of tea and so he ‘sacrificed’ his life and potential success for others.

I remember accompanying him to one of my aunts’ marriage function when I was only 10. I wanted to play with other kids, which you would agree, was quite natural!

But my father scolded me “Avdhesh, why have you come here in the first place, to give a helping hand or waste time playing?”

The people he wanted me to give a ‘helping hand ‘ were the ones who had been making our lives miserable. They were doing everything they could like, black magic, gossiping, backstabbing and what not.

I feel bad whenever I remember that incident.

It’s not just a question of being selfish but also of self-respect, and guess what, you don’t owe a helping hand to the people who mean harm to you.

The practice of lending a ‘helping hand’ cost my father the success he could have achieved had he been a little selfish.

Be Careful, You May Ruin Your Life (Without Even Realizing it)

Do you want to change the world? We all do, and almost always, we start with the idea that we can change the world. Oh! Yes, we can do this, we can do that – we can make a difference.

You are just out of college, and you have some great ideas. Helping people is your passion because seeing a smile on others’ faces gives you pleasure. You sacrifice opportunities so others can get them before you do. You’re living your dream of serving the world, or so you think.

  • The feeling that you owe the world overwhelms and you let people ‘use’ you.
  • Studies, career, or romance – you lag in every area of your life.
  • You waste your life living in a fool’s paradise, believing you’re serving others, while in reality you are just being taken advantage of.

And then one day, when you contemplate what have you done with your life, you find yourself empty-handed.

Possible Reasons Why You Are Against Selfishness

  • It’s possible that you were conditioned against selfishness so people could use you without much difficulty.
  • Your parents sacrificed their lives for others, and it made you believe that it’s a virtue to be a “doormat.”
  • There’s a deep hatred towards self in your unconscious, and you feel unworthy of success.

Benefits of Being Selfish: Here Are 3 For a Start (Apart from Success)

  • You get to know your ‘real’ feelings and emotions.
  • Saying ‘no’ to unimportant things (without feeling guilty) gets more comfortable with each passing day.
  • The capability to help your family, society, country, and the world increases, and this time for real.

Accepting that the virtue of selfishness is the key to success can be hard initially, but the moment you realise it is perfectly okay to be selfish, and you should strive to be more selfish in your day to day life, you shall be on the right track.

People do not become selfish when they succeed, they succeed because they were selfish

You can choose to believe selfishness is evil but it will do you no good – it never does. The sooner you realise it is the key to success, the better. Are you ready to say, “Yes, I am Selfish?”

A Handsome Young Man Admiring His Reflection in a Water Stream

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Avdhesh Tondak is a motivational speaker, blogger, and voice actor. He shares personal development insights with young people. Also, he helps college students and young professionals gain confidence, and feel comfortable in their skin. Subscribe to receive his new articles by email