It was relayed to me this week that Adam Carolla has sage advice that he has been giving to people for years. “Does it make you money, or does it make you happy? If the answer is NO, then don’t f&^$king do it.” His recent story was in the context of sending an angry email.
Seems reasonable, doesn’t it? Can it actually be that simple? You might say “Well, what does that mean in terms of doing something for someone else? What if I perform a selfless act that doesn’t intrinsically benefit me at all?” I’ll go a step further to include a thought from a person for whom I have perhaps the most respect in my life.
“Everything we do is selfishly motivated.” It took me a long time to get my head around this concept. If I’m headed into the grocery store, and someone is standing in the parking lot waiting to give me their justification as to why I should part with $5, and I give them the money, it could be argued that I just got bilked. It could be argued that I get nothing for that selfless act. It could be equally argued that I actually DO get something from that exchange. It could be that I take away from that exchange a feeling of service and contribution that makes me feel better inside.
The fact is that we do benefit from helping others. In this belief system, there is no selfless act. Every “good” thing that we do benefits us , some in more obvious ways than others, and we do them because they make us happy. Now, if you’re one of those folks who prides yourself on the good things that you do for others, I don’t want you to start over thinking it. Just keep doing what you’ve been doing. It’s a good thing. You might, though, allow yourself to feel good about the impact you’re having on others.
Maybe you’re NOT one of those folks, and you’ve adopted an attitude of “What’s in it for me?” Well, the short answer is that there’s a LOT in it for you, and I challenge you to give it a go. Start today in some small way to feel that selfish feeling of helping someone else. It’s liberating. It makes you happy. Who knows? It might even make you money!
Adam Carolla was right. So, walk away from that angry email and toward something far more selfishly satisfying.
Done something delightfully selfish lately? I’d love to hear about it!