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  • The public story of selfishness tells us that we are - all of us - very guilty of the behaviour.

  • We are apparently incurably addicted to our own satisfactions - and deserve to be compared

  • unfavourably to pretty much any generation that ever walked the earth.

  • It sounds compelling (self-flagellation usually does), but the reality may be somewhat different.

  • Whatever the risks of excessive self-absorption and inordinate pleasure-seeking, the real

  • danger for most people is not that they too often ignore society and other people in the

  • name of their own needs, it’s precisely the opposite: that they constantly put aside

  • self-exploration and authentic inner development for the whims of so-called respectable opinion

  • and socially sanctioned duties and commitments.

  • The chief problem is not that were too selfish; were poor versions of what we

  • might be because were not selfish enough.

  • We spend our lives seeing people we have nothing in common with, working at jobs that don’t

  • make sense to us, craving the approval of parental figures who have other priorities,

  • going to parties we fear, sucking up to colleagues we hate, going to films that bore us, parroting

  • opinions were suspicious of, taking holidays that we don’t enjoy and devoting ourselves

  • to children who end up either indifferent or plain resentful about the care weve

  • devoted to them.

  • Finally, in the last decade or so of life, we may try tolive for ourselves,’ but

  • by then, it’s almost always too late.

  • Our connections to our own tastes and centers of pleasure and interest have atrophied, weve

  • forgotten how to be ambitious in our names, we have frittered ourselves away through millions

  • of demands.

  • We are alive, but we hardly exist any longer.

  • We settle on golf.

  • A priority, while time allows, is therefore to acquire the skill of being politely but

  • energetically more selfish.

  • We should - from today - simply stop seeing people we dislike and stop worrying to such

  • an extent about the opinions of strangers.

  • We should focus on what feels meaningful to us.

  • We should ask ourselves what we will wish we had done when we are on our deathbeds - and

  • do it now.

  • We should wonder what we would do next if we had blanket permission - and go ahead and

  • do it anyway.

  • We probably know the life we should be leading already, we have just been hoping - and should

  • stop hoping - that someone or something would come down from the sky and give us a definitive

  • seal of approval.

  • We should acquire the art of being difficult, of smiling less, of sayingnomore often

  • and of leaving the room when we want to.

  • The world won’t fall apart if we neglect some of our commitments; perhaps we can afford

  • to forget someone’s birthday or to let the house get in a mess, fail to prepare a meal

  • or suggest that a grumpy relative make their own way back from the station.

  • We have grown quietly ill, or at least dull of spirit, through constant acts of self-sacrifice.

  • We no longer have as many years ahead as we once did.

  • We have beengoodfor an age.

  • We have allowed our fear of boundless egoism to blind us to the importance of developing

  • faith in ourselves.

  • It may be time to take some baby steps towards intelligent selfishness.

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The public story of selfishness tells us that we are - all of us - very guilty of the behaviour.

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B1 selfish selfishness approval acquire pleasure hoping

Why You Should Try to Be More Selfish

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    Summer posted on 2022/04/09
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