Being Selfish is a Good Thing

The other day I was speaking to a good friend that I have wanted to get together with for a long time. Too long, in fact.


Excitedly I asked him, “So how is next Friday after work?” “No, I’ve got to get up early in the morning for an event.”

“Then how about Sunday. We can go to the beach.” “I’d like to but no. I’ve got to work on some things around the house.”

And on it went. Finally I said, “You’re being a pain in the butt! I want to get together more than you do.”

He said, “No, I want to be able to focus on being with you. And not be distracted by other things when I see you.”

Hmmm… interesting. It reminded me why being selfish is a good thing. According to Webster’s Dictionary

Selfishadjective, concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others.


How can being selfish be a good thing?

The world is filled with people running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to make ends meet for other people for other people’s reasons and whims.

I’m not talking about all requests. I’m only referring to those that you do not have to say yes to. You know which ones these are.

And in the process of saying yes to all these things, you forget your own well-being. Instead, you go for the short-term gain to make the other person happy. But at what expense?

People who do not focus on their self tend to be overworked, exhausted, stressed out, underpaid, disorganized, and most importantly, unhappy.

Sound like someone you know?

Here’s the kicker: when you are focusing on what is most important for yourself, you will be much more available to help others when they need it.

How to manage your opportunities is not learning how to say no. Most of us know how to do this. In fact the issue is in managing your yes’s.

How to manage a yes is much more difficult than to manage a no:

  • You want to support the other person.
  • You don’t want to reject someone/thing.
  • You don’t want to be inconvenience the other person.
  • You want to be liked/loved.

Here is how you can easily manage your yes’s:

  • Thank the other person(s) for the invitation
  • Tell them you must decline (take a rain check, etc.) their offer
  • Explain the impact if you were to accept their invitation (you would be exhausted at work the next day, not be able to focus on being with them if you got together, etc.)
  • Counter-offer another option instead


Action Step for the Week

Spend today really contemplating your “Yes’s”. Look to see where you can improve how you accept offers given to you. Start managing them and freeing up your time to take care of what is impost important for you in that moment.