Selfish vs Selfless

Selfish vs Selfless

In order to understand selflessness, we must understand its opposite, selfishness.

    • Selfishness is defined as too much concerned with one’s own welfare or interests, with little or no thought for others
    • Selflessness is defined as being devoted to others’ welfare or interests and not one’s own.

So where do you stand with these two principles? Somewhere in the middle perhaps? Or is there a real distinct character trait that you can clearly identify with?


A selfish person frequently uses the terms, “I”, “me”, and “mine” as opposed to “we”, “ours”, “yours” or “theirs”. Generally, you’ll find that a selfish person is keen to be in the limelight, and that ultimately they’ll find no happiness in constantly pursuing a personal or business agenda filled with selfishness. Viewed in its true sense, selfishness is the absence of empathy and compassion. The products of selfishness tend to be, loneliness, arrogance, pride, lying, hypocrisy, greed, and idleness.  The selfish idleness, with its “I’ll do it later” attitude is procrastination at its extreme. I love this quote from a wise leader Gordon B. Hinckley, “Selfishness is a destructive, gnawing, corrosive element in the lives of many people. But the antidote to selfishness is service, reaching out to those about us – those in the home and those beyond the walls of the home”


So what of Selflessness? It is unquestionably a marvellous virtue. It is the giving of ones self in the serving of others and the giving of ones self in being served by others. Through my experience of many years of building long lasting personal and successful business relationships, the key to it all is selflessness and service. Selflessness produces kindness and dispels hypocrisy. It develops confidence, trust and the embodiment of authentic servant leadership in every interaction with others. Selflessness fosters love, confidence, and trust.

The Power of Service

The idea of servant leadership goes back 2000 years, but in his modern ground breaking work in 1970, Robert K. Greenleaf coined the phrase “servant leader” and “servant leadership” in his classic essay “The Servant as Leader”.“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.”

“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?”

What we desperately need today in our homes, schoolrooms and boardrooms, and certainly throughout society at large – are leaders, men and women who are willing to stand for principles of goodness and virtue. In leadership standing for these principles, there is often loneliness – but ultimately the courage of one’s convictions brings great happiness, joy and long lasting relationships of trust and happiness.

How can you develop greater selflessness?

Source: ~ By: ~ Image: Canva Pro

Selfishness and Selflessness and Intimacy

Selfishness and Selflessness and Intimacy

If you call someone “selfish,” they are likely to be offended. Selfish is thought to be a defect and is undesirable. For this reason, most people think that selfishness is bad for intimacy and selflessness is good. But things might not be so black and white.

Selfishness Defined

The common concept of a selfish person is the image of a person who only cares about themselves and takes pride in neglecting the needs and feelings of others. Selfishness is considered the emblem of narcissism and hence shunned.

The term selfish refers to one who champions the wants and the needs of the self above others. Is this unhealthy? Undesirable? Let’s consider the alternative.

Selflessness Defined

Selflessness is considered to be a virtue. Such individuals are seen as generous, spiritual, and loving. Individuals who sport these qualities are thought to be desirable and capable of great intimacy and love.

The term selfless means literally one without a self. The needs of others are put before the self because the self has little or no substance and hence little or no value. For example, the term “people pleaser” refers to individuals who define their value by serving others and forsaking themselves. Does this sound healthy? Intimate? Let’s see.


A core quality of intimacy is the sharing of oneself. Sharing requires revealing your thoughts, feelings, preferences, and character. This is where much of the vulnerability associated with intimacy comes from. Below is a typical conversation between Selfless Sally and her best friend, Haley. Is this sharing?

Haley: Sally, where would you like to go for dinner tonight?

Sally: Wherever you want to go is fine with me.

Haley: What kind of food do you feel like having?

Sally: I can always find something I like. You pick the place.

Haley: Would you like to eat now or wait a little while?

Sally: I am good either way.

At first glance, we see Selfless Sally as easygoing and easy to get along with. How much of herself did she share? Her friend Haley gallantly tried to find out what Sally wanted to eat and when, but Sally offered nothing. Her giving in to Haley on every point actually serves to hide her feelings, desires, and character. This is actually avoidance of intimacy. Now let’s see what happens when Selfish Sam has the same conversation with his friend Mac:

Mac: Hey Sammy, where would you like to go for dinner tonight?

Sam: I know the best steak place on the planet.

Mac: Where is it?

Sam: About an hour from here. Why don’t you go get your car?

Mac: You want me to drive?

Sam: Yes, I feel like having some cocktails.

Selfish Sam seems like a less desirable person to be with than Selfless Sally. But Mac knows way more about Selfish Sam from his exchange than Haley does about Sally. Because Sam is self-absorbed, he doesn’t care what Mac or anyone else thinks about him; he lets it all hang out. He is much more accessible than Sally. Let’s look at another core quality of intimacy.


Sharing of oneself is only useful if the other person accepts the invitation. Empathy is feeling the emotions of others when they offer to share.

On the surface, Sally seems like an empathetic friend. She is willing to go along with anything her friend Haley asks of her and expresses pleasure at doing so. But Haley is not asking for Sally to acquiesce, she is asking her to share. But Sally refuses.

Sam does not show any effort to empathize with Mac but he does allow Mac to empathize with him. The ideal approach to intimacy, where both parties empathize with each other, is not available either to Sally or Sam. With Sally, no empathy is possible because she refuses to share herself (although she does share her time). Sam is not interested in Mac’s feelings, so he does not even attempt to empathize with Mac, but he does make his feelings very clear and Mac can feel them if he so chooses. Suboptimal, but not zero.

So why is Sally seen as more empathic and more desirable, when in fact she is not accessible? Because Sally’s selflessness allows her to be whoever anyone wants her to be. Haley sees herself in Sally. If Haley wants a hamburger, Sally will say that she wants one too. Perfect companion! As long as Haley likes herself, she will like Sally. But she cannot feel close or intimate.

The biggest barrier to intimacy for Sam is that he can’t see Mac. He doesn’t care to. Mac will feel invisible because Sam does not ask or consider his feelings or needs. What if Mac wants to also have a cocktail? This doesn’t even occur to Sam. Thus, Mac cannot feel close to him.

Intimacy requires the participation of two individuals, each with a healthy balance between selfishness and selflessness. Here are some examples of what that balance is based upon:

    • Sufficient selfishness is required to express and assert your needs for the purpose of sharing.
    • Sufficient selflessness is required to put your own feelings aside temporarily while you feel someone else’s feelings.
    • A sufficient level of selfishness is necessary to be able to share with or please another person without losing yourself. Sally is a people-pleaser and completely loses herself (she becomes Haley) when her friend tries to share with her.
    • A sufficient level of selflessness is necessary to derive pleasure from pleasing another person or sharing with them. Sam is too self-absorbed to experience this.

Finding a balance between selfishness and selflessness is personal and unique to each individual. Your personal balance should be based on how you feel about intimacy and other aspects of socialization that are affected.

Source: ~ By: Daniel S. Lobel Ph.D. ~ Image: Canva Pro

Difference Between Selfish and Selfless

Difference Between Selfish and Selfless

The main difference between selfish and selfless is that selfish people always put their own needs ahead of others while selfless people put others’ needs ahead of their own.

Selfishness refers to lacking consideration for other people and preoccupation with one’s own pleasure, profit or welfare while selflessness refers to having little or no concern for oneself, especially with regard to money, fame, and position. Therefore, selfish and selfless are two words with contrasting meanings.

What Does Selfish Mean

Being selfish basically means lacking consideration for other people and preoccupation with one’s own pleasure, profit or welfare. In other words, a selfish person is a person who is extremely concerned with himself and herself, regardless of others around him. Such people only think about their own advantage, welfare or profit. They always prioritize their needs and desires above the needs of others. Some psychologists have identified that it is a lack of empathy that causes selfishness. Moreover, most religions in the world decry selfishness and emphasize the virtues of empathy and altruism.

Some examples of Selfish Acts

    • Neglecting to do your share of work in a team project, and expecting others to do it
    • Not sharing your books and stationery with others
    • Pushing into a queue of people in order to be served before your turn
    • Helping yourself to extra servings while you know there is not enough to serve all
    • Always giving others negative feedback

What Does Selfless Mean

Selfless is the opposite of selfish. Selfless means having little or no concern for oneself, especially with regard to money, fame, and position. A selfless person, therefore, cares more for what other people need and want rather than for what he or she needs and wants for himself/herself. Selflessness is often associated with positive qualities like empathy, compassion and love. It helps to keep us connected to each other as human beings. In brief, selflessness can help to make the world a better place. Being selfless may be somewhat difficult, but it can always bring you happiness and peace.

Some Examples of Selfless Acts

    • Sharing food with a hungry person, even if you have little food
    • Helping poor people
    • Donating blood
    • Volunteering at hospitals, homeless shelters, etc.
    • Tutoring someone in need
    • Offering your seat to someone in public transport, when there are no seats left

Difference Between Selfish and Selfless


Selfish means lacking consideration for other people and preoccupation with one’s own pleasure, profit or welfare, while selfless means having little or no concern for oneself, especially with regard to money, fame, and position.


While selfishness is a negative quality that is discouraged by many religions, selflessness is a virtue encouraged by all religions.


Selfish people always put their own needs ahead of others while selfless people put others’ needs ahead of their own.

Empathy and Compassion

Actions of selfish people may be caused by a lack of empathy or compassion, while actions of selfless people are motivated by empathy and compassion.


Selfish is the opposite of selfless. The main difference between selfish and selfless is that selfish people always put their own needs ahead of others while selfless people put others’ needs ahead of their own.

Source: ~ By: Hasa ~ Image: Canva Pro

Being Selfish vs Being Selfless, How to Find the Balance


A lot of people believe it is essential to care for their family and close friends. However, these same people seem to balk when the thought of self-care is presented to them.

So, how does one find a balance between being selfish and being selfless?

Here are some experts’ insights:

Being selfless, which many people consider to be the “ideal” isn’t truly possible

We all must have some degree of selfishness in order to survive every day. Were it not for our ability to be selfish to some degree, we would give away all of our food, clothing, money, and other resources.

This would leave the truly selfless person with nothing at all—including life itself. Thus, it’s not that being selfish to a certain degree is a problem—in fact, it’s clearly necessary in order to survive.

Being “humanly selfless” (which is as close to selflessness as we can safely become) is often easy for those who are giving and nurturing in spirit. However, a “humanly selfless” person may be taken for granted or used by others—particularly those who are selfish. For those who are egocentric and miserly, being humanly selfless may feel like an impossibility.

True selfishness, which is at the opposite end of the spectrum of selflessness, is increasingly common in our externally oriented world. Whether a person is truly narcissistic or has strong narcissistic tendencies, a deeply selfish individual is generally lacking in the ability to consider the needs and feelings of others.

A truly selfish person puts his or her agenda and desires above the needs of others. Thus, a person who is deeply selfish will often have unsatisfactory or toxic intimate relationships.

Although a selfish individual may be able to sustain very superficial relationships—especially those that serve a personal agenda—more substantial relationships are often beyond their interest or capacity.

Finding a healthy balance between these two worlds can be difficult for those who are accustomed to being idealistically selfless or incredibly selfish. Although there is no “right” or “wrong” degree of selflessness or selfishness, it’s generally healthiest to care for the self as much as one cares for others.

These self-check questions can help an individual determine if they have found a solid balance:

  1. Do I have healthy boundaries that allow me to consider the needs of others without violating my own principles and needs?
  2. Do I factor in the needs and desires of others when making decisions that affect those in my life?
  3. Am I willing to have open, compromise-oriented conversations with others when disagreements arise?
  4. Do I give to others in a balanced way—saying yes to commitments that feel right and declining those that are not right for me?
  5. Do I take care of myself so that I am not chronically depleted from giving to and doing for others?
  6. Am I conscious of the needs of my community and engaged in supporting others as best I can, whether financially, physically, or emotionally?
  7. Do I prioritize others and live in a way that lets my loved ones know that they are important to me?

Source: ~ Image: Canva Pro

Why I Don’t Regret Saying “Yes” to Opportunity & Quitting My 9-5

Saying “Yes” to Opportunity & Quitting My 9-5

I’m continually amazed at people who seem to achieve great things seemingly against all odds. And I’m equally amazed at people who seem to achieve none of their goals.

Is it that opportunity knocks only on some people’s doors and not others? Is it perhaps luck?

The more I interview people on my podcast and work with students who want to invest in apartment buildings, the more I’m coming to the conclusion that the answer is “no” and “no.”

Opportunity is all around every one of us, and it’s always knocking.

The difference? Our response.

Some people don’t hear it. Or refuse to hear it. Others hear it just fine but dismiss it because they’re busy. Or afraid. Or unworthy. Or not ready. Or too old. Too young. Too poor.

But I’m convinced that the universe (or whatever you want to call the higher power of which I speak) is constantly encouraging us to become a better version of ourselves. Constantly presenting opportunities. Constantly opening doors.

I love this quote from Richard Branson: “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”

The question is, how do we handle an open door? Do we walk through it, or do we say, “Nah, I’m good. Thanks anyway.”

Following Opportunity

My experience has been that whenever I don’t walk through an open door, nothing happens. But whenever I DO walk through a door, exciting things happen. The more I walk through open doors, the more adventure comes into my life and the more alive I feel.

I also find that things become easier. Fun. I struggle less. Things just happen.

I think that’s because our higher purpose is like the jet stream, a strong and constant flow of energy in a particular direction. When we resist this flow, we work harder, are more frustrated and tend to struggle. On the other hand, when we go with the flow, things become easier. Enjoyable.

I think open doors point into the direction of our jet stream (but beware of Shiny-Object-itis; see my article here!). Not walking through them is saying NO to the jet stream, saying NO to opportunity, and saying NO to a more fulfilled life.

The catch? (Yes, there’s always a catch …)

You have to have some kind of FAITH to walk through open doors. I’m not saying you have to find God or join some kind of religion. You’re an entrepreneur, so you already know what I’m talking about.

As entrepreneurs, we have to believe that if we step out onto the ledge, it will all work out somehow. But we don’t know that up front. We just make the next move.

For some inexplicable reason, things “magically” begin to happen when we take that first step through the door. But the magic doesn’t happen before then, but only after we take that first step.

Leaving My 9-5 Job

I remember when I first left the confines of my 9-5 job in 2005. I knew it was my open door, but I was extremely anxious about going out on my own. Since then, I’ve had ups and downs, but one thing I can say for sure: It’s been one heck of an adventure! I wouldn’t trade the experiences (even the pain!) for anything. I’ve grown as a person. And I believe these experiences have allowed me to help others with their entrepreneurial journey.

But I wouldn’t have experienced any of that had I not walked through that open door ten years ago. And there have been many other doors since then. I’m sure I missed some, but I’ve made it a habit to try to recognize an open door and to go with the flow.

Look back on your life. Whenever something propelled you forward in a meaningful way, it probably resulted from you walking through an open door but not sure of the outcome.

Try it. Put the universe to the test. See what happens. I think you’ll be amazed.

Source: ~ By Michael Blank

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