The Virtue of Selfishness

Evan here.

I understand the title of this particular post is a bit… provocative, but hear me out.

In the United States, there has been an economic crisis occurring since late 2007, which has since trickled out to the rest of the global economy. By the end of the first quarter of 2015, over 62% had dropped out of the labor force entirely. All in all, that’s over 93 million people who have simply just given up looking for work.

On the other side are people decrying the rising amount of people applying for welfare just to survive. Surprisingly enough, that amount is close to the same as those who have dropped out of the labor force.

You couple that with the rise of candidates like Bernie Sanders, it has become clearer and clearer that the line between handouts and charity is becoming more and more blurred.

And in all honesty, in today’s economic climate, why not?

Understandably, people are upset that what they were sold by previous officials hasn’t panned out. In fact, in some cases, it’s made their situation worse.

People are looking for help, as they should be. However, they are looking for it in all of the wrong places.

That’s where the virtue of selfishness comes in.

In many cases, the aspect of selfishness is met with a kind of recoil. However, I would point out that there are things about it that the Bernie Sanders supporters get right. It’s just not applied correctly.

In all actuality, selfishness by definition is concern with one’s own interests. This is where I think the thought process of Sanders’ younger supporters tends to get it right. Who wouldn’t want to have the crushing financial burdens that have been placed upon many Millennials relieved?

This is where they get it wrong, however (just in case you mistakenly thought that I was endorsing him for some reason). The responsibility for that relief doesn’t fall upon the government, but upon the individual.

Side note: It was actually government subsidies that prompted colleges and universities to raise their tuition rates in the first place. Go figure.

I have recently come across a lesser known film called Up in the Air starring George Clooney, Anna Kendrick, and J.K. Simmons. In it, there is a powerful and poignant scene between those three characters.


Isn’t it interesting that in our constant quest for validation, we never really looked at our own dreams as a viable way to succeed?

Don’t get me wrong, dreaming and believing by themselves are not strong models for success, but they do offer a very important piece to the puzzle of what we do to achieve our dreams.

Why are we doing the job we are now? Are you doing it to help other people? If so, how are you helping yourself?

In any altruistic endeavor, you need to be able to know that you will be taken care of before you can fully help those who need it. It’s like a surgeon performing an open heart operation while fighting a chest cold. It doesn’t work, and it’s potentially dangerous. In your particular circumstance, it’s dangerous to your self-worth and your state of mind.

There are many different avenues to achieving your dreams and accomplishing your “Why”. Some may not be as “traditional” as you might think.





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