Are We Inherently Selfish or Selfless?
Many highly publicized and celebrated individuals who have been tremendously successful have done so at the expense of others. Some that may readily come to mind are in Hollywood, on Wall Street, and in sports, where their actions give them an audience. But this type of behavior can also be seen in our everyday lives. We each have an ego that is always with us and wants to shout “me first.” It’s just a matter of how dominant our ego is and how often decisions are made for “me first.”
While many high profile “me first” people get our attention, they indeed are in the minority. Younger people in general are more likely to take care of themselves first, and those who fail to mature continue that lifestyle longer. That said, most of us mature and grow to find deeper meaning in serving others.
We see it every day. Police officers, firefighters, medical professionals, and teachers spend most of their days caring more about others than about themselves. These types of people also exist in the business world but are harder to see, unless you are a company like Patagonia that wants the world to know that “We are here to save our home planet” and uses that purpose in decision making.
We thrive as a civilization today because our ancestors acted for the long-term benefit of our society. The majority of us are wired for long-term survival, delaying short-term, personal gratification in favor of creating safety and security for our community.
So keep the faith. More people are living their lives for the betterment of others than you may realize.