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

This dang bug is still hanging on. I’m totally wiped out, hubby has an ear infection, and Joxer is still loving all the extra attention. Since I’m still out of commission, here is another reblog from January 2012 on the LuvCherie Jewelry Blog. I’m including my reply to a comment on the original article for the added clarification it gives about where this idea came from.

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. 🙂

Reply to comment:
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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