Here’s the paradox I’ve been thinking about today: in order to be sustainably selfless, you must first be selfish.
You can’t successfully lead others unless you successfully lead yourself; you can’t successfully help others unless you successfully help yourself. At the beginning of college, I immersed myself in a myriad of activities. I loved serving others, volunteering, and doing my best to make the world a better place. But with that, I neglected my health. I’m very fortunate that one of my mentors looked me straight in the eye (in our first meeting actually) to bluntly tell me how my lifestyle was unsustainable and imbalanced. It’s crazy to see how much I’ve grown since then.
There’s nothing wrong with being busy, but there is something wrong if your life isn’t balanced.
Here’s another way of looking at the interdependence of selfishness/selflesness: I don’t write on this blog to help other people. Honestly, I write for myself. Improving myself is challenging enough, and that is my priority. I can’t be successful at helping others improve unless I can successfully do it myself. Thankfully the two aren’t mutually exclusive; helping others improve by improving myself is something I will always strive to do.
Be selfish. Only then can you be sustainably selfless.