In life we will often meet unpleasant and unkind people and it can be suprising to find that they lead successful, happy lives. It just doesn’t fit with our social teachings of treating others with kindness, showing compassion and cosmic karma. So why do people who blatantly disregard these seemingly important social lessons seem to succeed in life?
From an early age we are trained in social interactions such as sharing, listening, taking turns and doing kind deeds for others. These practices are of course important for developing positive relationships with others and overall being a good person. But it is also possible be too kind!
The sad reality is that there are many people who are eager to take advantage. A negative side effect of being ‘too nice’ is always putting yourself second. Perhaps you sacrifice more often than seek compromise, say yes to overburdening commitments or put your dreams aside for others. However if you constantly put yourself second, other will learn to put you second too.
And this is where selfish people find success particularly in careers; they put themselves first! Childhood lessons are based on their juvenile ego and the need to teach them empathy by making them aware of other people’s feelings and needs. As adults however we often fail to learn the importance of the self. Lessons such as assertiveness, knowing your worth, ambition and how and when to put yourself first. These are valuable traits in the workplace and even in other aspects of your life. It’s a proven statistic that people who are more selfish are more likely to achieve their dreams such as careers, travel, academically and in sports.
So how can we balance a kind heart and a productive use of selfishness? Most importantly acknowledge your value! Being kind does not mean that everyone else deserves more kindness than you should give to yourself! Believe that your dreams and ambitions are just as valid and worthy and pursue them. Learn the difference between helping others and putting yourself last. Realise that it’s ok to put yourself first to achieve and discuss why it’s important to you. Lastly learn the difference between politeness and passivity – learn how to say no and don’t be afraid to take the lead in projects. Respect and generosity towards others is a beautiful and valuable trait, but don’t forget to respect yourself!