How to be selfless and selfish. This is a concept that is hard for a lot of people to balance.
First off, I think that both of these ideas are generally treated unfairly by most people. I don’t think that a lot of people fully intellectually explore what it means to be selfless, what it means to be selfish, or the merits of how these ideas should be treated in one’s life.
One could say that selflessness is a virtue. Well, yes… you could say that. But there is also a certain amount of rationality to be found in putting your own self interests first in life.
In fact, Ayn Rand explored this concept very thoroughly in her book The Virtue of Selfishness.
Is It Good To Be Selfless, Or Should You Prioritize Yourself And Be Selfish?
This is a fantastic question, and really strikes at the heart of what it means to be an alpha male.
Being an alpha male isn’t just about trying to look sexy, getting all the girls, and being a macho man (though looking sexy never hurt anything!).
An alpha’s life and struggle are characterized by many things. But at the heart of it…
The alpha strives to be at the top of his most important social dominance hierarchies so that he can have a happier life, and affect greater change for the people around him.
These notions are selfish and selfless, respectively. But… you cannot really have one without the other.
How To Be Selfless While Still Pursuing Your Own Self-Interests First
If an alpha is totally and 100% focused only on himself, with zero regard for the lives of the people around him… he will probably end up being a bully and a tyrant, and that will eventually lead him to a state of misery, as his tribe is likely to abandon him and/or turn on him when given the opportunity.
But if the alpha is 100% focused only on the people around him, and never prioritizes himself, he may end up with nothing to show for his hard work, and will likely fall into a place where he is literally incapable of creating any sort of overarching, lasting, meaningful change for anyone.
This is like the ironic analogy of the selfless monk who gives away all of his food to the homeless. Then the monk starves to death for lack of food. Then, the people starve to death… because there is no monk to feed them.
Whereas, had the monk wanted to truly affect drastic, positive change in the world around him… he might have accumulated wealth for himself first, creating a stable life, and achieving a level of financial independence that allowed him to pretty much give freely to the people around him without being over taxed by his efforts.
This is really the entire idea, and it isn’t a difficult one to understand.
Exploring The Idea Of The ‘Monk’ And How It Demonstrates The Need For A Balance Of Selfishness And Selflessness
To demonstrate this, let’s talk a bit more about this idea of the ‘selfish or selfless monk.’
Scenario Number One: The Monk Prioritizes Only Himself
If the monk prioritizes only himself, he might grow his resources. But he will have no loyal tribe. And so, he will reach a point where his selfishness is actually his greatest weakness.
Scenario Number Two: The Monk Prioritizes Only Others
If the monk only prioritizes the people around him, he will literally give until he has nothing left… at which point, he will starve and die with no food or money to help him survive.
Scenario Number Three: The Monk Prioritizes Other People First, And Himself Second
If the monk prioritizes the people around him first, and himself second, then he will likely give away everything except what he needs to survive.
The monk who does this will only barely get by, and never get ahead. And he will always only be able to do so much for himself and/or for the people around him.
Scenario Number Four: The Monk Prioritizes Himself First, And Others Second
The monk who prioritizes himself first, and the people around him second, will make it his priority to build wealth and prosperity in his life, first and foremost.
First, he will establish himself as a successful, powerful, strong leader… and then, he will be in a much better position to actually help the people around him.
He will literally be a better help to everyone around him. And that, in turn, will make his life better as well.
He has already taken care of the first part. He built wealth and achieved a status as a leader and powerful man in his tribe.
But he is also investing in the people around him, growing his tribe and nurturing them. This will cause them to look at him as a true leader… not a bully or a tyrant.
And he and his tribe will help each other… and both will thrive and have better lives as a result.
How To Be Selfless In The Most Effective Manner: Prioritize Yourself First, And Other People Second
One of my favorite quotes from Ayn Rand’s book, the one listed above, is this one.
I love this quote so much, and believe that it speaks right to the heart of this issue.
When we prioritize everyone or everything else first, we are literally living out the truth that we are not important or powerful enough to be a priority.
This takes power away from us, weakens us, and strips us of the vital positive self-talk and self-action that we could be taking to make our lives better and further our own effectiveness as alpha males.
The true powerful alpha knows that, in order to be of value to anyone, you must first learn to be of the utmost value to yourself.
You must serve yourself. You must nurture yourself. You must provide for yourself. You must look after yourself.
Then, and only then, when you have achieved a high-enough level of inner strength, will you be ready to care effectively for other people.
And even then, there are probably going to be times when you will need to retreat, regroup, and care for yourself for a while.
And not only is that completely ok… it is also the most rational and the healthiest thing you can do.
How Can A Person Be Selfless And Selfish At The Same Time?
As alpha males, we strive to exist at the top of our most important social hierarchies.
We do this for many reasons.
We do it to gain access to the highest value women, so that we can win on the sexual marketplace.
We do it to build connections, strengthen our position, grow our tribe, chase excellence, grow wealth, and bring people into our own social dominance hierarchies to support our mission.
And life is just plain good at the top. True, powerful alpha male leaders generally have a lot of power in their social hierarchies, and have a lot of freedom to live the way they want.
But there is also another side to this. You cannot have a balanced life without both sides of the coin.
Because, you see, if all we focus on are the benefits we will reap from the alpha male lifestyle, then we are not only missing about 50% of the equation, but we are also missing a valuable part of what makes the entire social ecosystem work.
We are missing out on how important it is to serve others, and be powerful, effective leaders and pillars of support for our tribe.
We mustn’t forget that being a leader actually means to be ‘consoler in chief.’ The emotional backbone of support for everyone else.
In many ways, the true calling of leadership in life is the call to be a very, very powerful and effective servant to our tribe.
Alpha Males Must Be Equal Parts Selfless And Selfish, At The Same Time
If we want to learn how to be selfless and follow the true alpha male path, then we must learn to be equal parts selfless and selfish at the same time.
- You prioritize yourself to grow strong
- You grow in strength and power as you selfishly make yourself your number one priority
- Then, when you are strong enough, you start helping the people around you
- If you need to rest and go back to being selfish for a while, do it… that is the healthiest thing
- When you are ready and back up to full strength, you return to helping the people around you
- A true, powerful alpha male knows that this is an important mandate… that we make sure that we are always strong enough to help other people when the time comes to do so.
- But we can only be strong for others if we are strong for ourselves first
That is really the entire idea. It isn’t complicated. It isn’t difficult to understand.
It’s really simple.
We must be selfish to grow strong so that we can use our strength to then help others.
And that is part of what it means to be a true alpha male.
A weak man is no good to anyone. Only a powerful man is going to be able to help the people around him and provide true, effective support for his tribe.
Hopefully this helped to summarize the idea of how to be selfless and selfish at the same time.
And hopefully it has helped you to understand how a true alpha male thinks of these things.
Go with grace, my friends. And NEVER give up your power!
Until next time…
Joshua K. Sigafus