It’s Okay To Be “Selfishly Selfless”

Written by Reynolds Defense Firm

On December 3, 2017

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Have you ever felt like you give and give, without any kind of reciprocation? Have you ever had the kind of relationship where there is less give and more take? Being selfless is great, but it isn’t a great feeling to be on the giving end when there is very little receiving.

We have noticed this theme with a lot of our clients. Good people want to help others. For some, it is a way to give to the community. For others, it is a way of avoiding their own problems deep within themselves. These problems build until there is a break. Sometimes this unfortunate “break” leads them to us, having manifested itself in a DUI.

One solution that we have uncovered is to be selfishly selfless. Being selfishly selfless is an odd feeling, but it is necessary to avoid breakdowns and bad decisions.  To be fair, in order to be completely selfless, you must find time to be selfish as well. It may be helpful to make small changes in the moment that will help steer you in the right direction too!

How to be Selfishly Selfless

In Derek Sivers’ article, “Tilting My Mirror”, he explains how small changes can make all the difference in how we experience our environment.  He describes a gorgeous mountain drive that he drives with some regularity, but always left him drained at the end.  He felt like he couldn’t enjoy the scenery while driving at a normal speed, so he sped up and his child got carsick.  So, he decided to slow down – his child didn’t get sick, and he felt she could enjoy the mountains a bit more.  The problem was the line of impatient cars behind him, which increased his stress again.

As it turns out, his final small adjustment gave instant relief. He tilted the rear-view mirror up towards the ceiling, so he couldn’t see the cars behind him. That simple change allowed him to go at his own pace without being stressed or influenced by others. The periodic passing lanes allowed for faster moving vehicles to pass him safely.  When he was over the mountain pass, he simply tilted the mirror back and arrived relaxed and untroubled.

The moral of Sivers’ story is simple: when you notice something is affecting your “drive”, find a way to make a minor adjustment that improves your experience.  Even if it is a bit inconvenient to others. After all, you can’t fill another person’s cup, if yours is empty.

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