Am I Selfish?

Am I selfish?

(of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

To answer the question, one must ask whether selfish is about intent and outcome or just about one’s actions.

For example, am I selfish because I devote 2-3 hours a day to the gym? If one is looking at it purely from an action point of view, one could reasonably argue that I’m selfish given that I have children and a profession. On the other hand, one could look at the intent and mindset behind my 2-3 hours a day in the gym not merely the act of going to the gym. That would, undoubtedly, yield a different view.

But selfish is often a label placed upon people like me. What is a person like me? I’m a person who…

  • is all in or all out – no in between
  • feels dead inside when he isn’t challenged
  • thrives on change and evolving
  • takes risks and fails forward
  • seeks the horizon, dreams wildly, and lives in the clouds
  • fears complacency and
  • play and lives on the edge
  • longs for adventure, the new, and the extraordinary
  • abandons things quickly if they aren’t moving him forward, bringing him growth, or maximizing his ability to #livelaughlove to the greatest degree
  • loathes normalcy and believes he is destined for anything but average
  • chases dreams and cultivates his vision at the expense of nearly anything
  • connects with many people but intimately surrounds himself with but a few, extremely passionate people
  • intolerant of people who embrace stagnation and defend status quo

Egocentric? Selfish? Self-Centered? Before you answer that, let me pose this…

I model for my children and those in my life a growth mindset. I model a constant movement towards a better me. I model a life of passion and dreams. I am creative and innovative yet know I have many flaws – I simply choose to work on making my strengths so much stronger that my weaknesses are minimized.

But I see person after person who model for their children and those around them a fixed mindset. How they look, behave, and function today is what they will be 5, 10, 20 years from now. They don’t change. They don’t evolve. They’ve stopped growing. They’ve stopped dreaming. They live day to day as a checklist not a vision list. They wake walk. Are they happy? Maybe. Not for me to judge.

So back to Am I selfish. The real question is who is selfish? The person showing a life of growth or a life of stagnation? I was once told that “by doing what you love, you inspire and awaken the hearts of others.” Those that are stagnant aren’t doing what they love. They are operating from fear, safety, and complacency. How is that a model for anyone? If I’m inspiring and awakening a fire in my children, students, and those I’m blessed to cross paths with in life, then I’ll take this brilliant label of selfish oft cast upon me.

And ultimately, perhaps there is a larger question: why the negative connotation with the word selfish?


  1. I wonder if “selfish” is a useful frame?

    Might it be more useful to ask “am I growing with an awareness of the ecology I inhabit?” ?

    Does anyone notice your modelling in the way you intend it?

    Feeling dead inside (regardless of the reason) doesn’t sound healthy.

    Assuming that stillness equates with stagnation.

    Is my status quo the same as yours?

    Is a fixed pattern of behaviour just another status quo?

  2. yes. yes, you are. extraordinarily so. you should be ashamed of yourself. get help.


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