Being an awesome human all starts here.
A lot of people call me selfish.
If you ran the analytics on the comments I get on social media, I reckon this would be hater comment #1.
And that’s ok. I get it. There are worse things people could accuse me of. (#2 is “babyeater”).
But what I think is going on here is there’s a bit of partial evidence mixed in with confirmation bias (see my rant last week on what confirmation bias is ).
You see, most people want to believe that wealthy people are selfish.
If they can convince themselves of that, then they can extend the logic so that if you’re not wealthy it must mean you’re not selfish. Once you’re there, you can then feel better about not being wealthy because it obviously means that you’re not selfish.
(Logic level: impeccable)
But the idea that all rich people are selfish is as ridiculous as the idea that all poor people are selfless.
Anyway, with confirmation bias in full effect, people are going to see the selfish Jon Giaan they expect to see.
And when I start talking about radical responsibility – when I say that you need to work on yourself first, that you need to treat everything as a personal challenge, that the world is a theatre for you to discover and express your own unique talents – I know that to some ears I’m going to sound like a complete narcissist.
(Anyone else noticed that term coming up a lot lately? Must be going around. I hope I don’t catch it.)
But I don’t see it this way.
Just because the trunk of a tree supports the branches and the leaves, you wouldn’t call the tree ‘trunk-ish’.
I actually think that the best expressions of humanity – our generosity, our care, our compassion – these things are just unsustainable unless we are solid in ourselves first.
The road to all these things is one of expansion, in my opinion.
You start out with narrow self-interest. That’s the basic human condition we’re born into. It’s square one.
But as you grow in your power, you circle of care expands. You identify with your family. You care about their needs as much as your own. From there you care about your community, then your city and state (and footy team), then your nation, then the whole human species and the entire planet.
This is the ‘expansion of consciousness’. This is the ‘spiritual path’ that so many new-agey flakes mistake for a fairy-land hallucination about escaping their own challenging realities.
It’s an expansion and it goes inside out. You need to start on the inside.
If you want to offer the world the beautiful leaves of your generosity and care, then you need start by working on your self.
Of course you don’t want to get stuck there. You don’t want to start in and stay in. If you did that, then, yes, you would be a selfish prick.
But don’t think that just because I’m a champion of self-responsibility that I’m peddling a doctrine of selfishness.
That aint me, bro.