Selfishness Can Be a Good Thing (Especially in Starting a Business)

We are selfish creatures. We are primarily motivated by our own needs and desires and only stray when outside forces interfere (such as our parents). In our society we are taught that being selfish is bad. That we should share and think of others before ourselves. Selfishness to the extreme can certainly do some harm, but overall we are made to feel guilty about any level of selfishness at all. This directly contradicts our natures and can make us uncomfortable whenever selfishness is a necessary or integral part of an action we intend to take, such as starting a business.

If you stop and think about the true, underlying motivations for any action you take, you will discover a selfish reason at the core. Even the most nurturing, caring person who always does for others first does it for a selfish reason: because it makes them feel good.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

We need to erase the idea that selfishness is always wrong and start embracing the idea that selfish pursuits can bring good into the world.

What if pursuing your own happiness ultimately brings happiness to others? What if the business you start for your own selfish reasons creates products and services for others that makes them happy? That improves their lives or increases their joy?

I believe that if what you do makes you happy you will spread your happiness to others through your work. If you can take it one step further and turn your happiness into a successful business, then your business will become a vessel for spreading happiness!

So go for it! Be selfish! Pursue your own happiness! Because in doing so you will bring happiness to others. 🙂

2 Responses to Selfishness Can Be a Good Thing (Especially in Starting a Business)
  1. Unowhat
    January 15, 2012 | 7:55 pm

    My experiences cause me to hesitate before agreeing. I’m not sure I can make the same conclusions that you present here today. I will respectfully consider the point you are making but without further study and research into the matter, I’m not prepared at this time to concur with your statements.

  2. Amy Darigol
    January 16, 2012 | 3:19 am

    I understand. Maybe it would help if I give a little more info on where this post came from?

    Without being fully conscious of it, the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to work out how a business based on selfish reasons could have a customer focus. Through my recent schoolwork I came to discover that my reasons for starting my business are actually selfish reasons (flexibility for my health realities enabling me to contribute income to my family, work I enjoy, getting to create, making others happy because it makes me happy) and that selfish reasons for starting a business are common among entrepreneurs. There has also been a lot of talk lately in the business blogosphere about making the customer the focus. I couldn’t figure out how making the customer the focus, a seemingly unselfish perspective, could work with a business created for selfish reasons. I was feeling all sorts of guilty for being selfish in my business, and then I looked at my last reason again, which boiled down to “making others happy.” I started asking myself why I should feel guilty about wanting to make others happy? I realized that in pursuing my own happiness I am also striving to bring happiness to others, and that can’t be a bad thing! My last reason was also the key to my solving my dilemma. By striving to make my customers as happy as possible I can make them the focus while doing it for ultimately selfish reasons (because I’m happy when they’re happy). 🙂

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