It Is A Selfish World

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One has lost count of the number of people he’s been “friends” with. In hindsight, these people became friends with me for different reasons – most of which (if not all) were selfish.

I used to be annoyed when people portray their selfishness but some events made me realise that I am as selfish as the people I loathed. This epiphany led me to another Zinga theory, that no matter how awesome we may think we are, there is a (selfish) reason why that man/woman is around us. And everything we do has a selfish connotation and engineered in such a way to make us happy.

Selfishness is often regarded as something evil; an image of one who cares for no one but himself or herself and pursues nothing but his or her own happiness. Being selfish has never been given to anyone as a compliment.

This is a common misconception about selfishness; being selfish has a variety of meanings. Melissa Deuter, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center once said “Selfish is an ugly word but it can mean two different things. One connotation is that you’re unkind and inconsiderate of others. The other is that you take responsibility for getting your personal, emotional and physical needs met, and that’s an important part of becoming an adult.”

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Everybody is selfish in diverse ways and to varying levels/degrees – after all, we are self-centred in our daily pursuit of happiness. Epicurus wrote, “We must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed toward attaining it.”

Almost every action we take is to satisfy our needs and happiness. Everyone is dire pursuit of what he/she is greedy about – love, knowledge, sex, acceptance, money, success or any other activity/product that gives a sense of gratification.

Don’t misconstrue the point here, you can still be the best person you can possibly be and be selfish. Altruism – the act of being selfless for the wellbeing of others – can also be linked to selfishness. There are a lot of kind and generous people in this world but most of the effort people put in is for selfish purposes.

For instance, many believe people will like them more if they do everything others want. They yearn for love and acceptance to feel good about themselves (happiness) but instead, they become pawns controlled by others. Nathaniel Branden wrote in his article “Isn’t everyone selfish?” “No one ever really sacrifices himself. Since every purposeful action is motivated by some value or goal that the actor desires, one always acts selfishly, whether one knows it or not.”

Biologically, human evolution depicts that natural selection abhors selflessness and favours selfish behaviour. Human beings have a deep survival instinct – to fight for food and shelter or against adverse circumstances. These instincts may be the reason behind our selfishness.

People seldom praise others without selfish motives. They may sing your praises today because you are in power but will waste no time to disregard your achievements and magnify your flaws as soon as you lose that power.

It is all about survival. Happiness is a survival mechanism, a reward for our actions. As far as mankind chases happiness, it will always be a selfish world.

What do you think?

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Procrastination: Good And Bad

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I have been trying to write this article since my last post but procrastination got the best of me and I’ve found myself giving excuses why I shouldn’t.

Sounds familiar? I guess so. You have something important to get done but you keep putting it off till the very last minute.

We are all guilty of procrastination – one way or another. Everybody procrastinates at some point for a variety of reasons, some of which are unconvincing to anyone including ourselves.

Procrastination is a bad habit that can prevent one from meeting his/her deadline or preparing well for an exam/meeting/interview. As a result, it is a basic tool for prioritisation and time management.

As students, we procrastinate for assignments, dissertation, thesis and/or exam at some point. For instance, it’s exam time and you’ve planned to make most of your day but at the end of the day you find out that you’ve actually read for just an hour and wasted time sleeping, watching television, cleaning your room, calling your friends/family, surfing the net, chatting or whatever other diversion you can devise.

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We try to avoid doing an important task by becoming involved with less important tasks. In the end, we feel guilty, race against time and thence put ourselves under unnecessary pressure/stress due to our fire-brigade approach to things.

Fear may be the reason why we procrastinate. The fear of failure or success can prevent one from doing a task even when s/he knows s/he should. We are often afraid to start a task because it appears tedious, or don’t know how/where to start, or feel our effort will not be appreciated.

Fear can make one anxious when faced with a task but imagine the adrenaline rush one feels when a deadline for an important task (that will not be completed because of procrastination) is around the corner. We often procrastinate to avoid stress but are faced with even more stress, anxiety, shame and guilt in the long run.

Completing your work on time gives one a sense of strength, peace of mind and self-control. It saves you from receiving an earful from your boss and also, mental stress which be harmful to your health.

However, procrastination isn’t always a bad thing; it can be a good thing. It is sometimes good to procrastinate. Sometimes it is good to delay life decisions; take a step back, relax and think the whole thing through.

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Sometimes we can get too emotionally attached to a problem and become psychologically drained to come up with a solution. For instance, replying a mail or SMS when one is angry can make one regret his/her actions but procrastination can help one come up with the most useful answer.

Procrastination can give you a break from work which is actually a good thing. Being glued to your work can leave you stressed and out of ideas. Procrastination helps you to take some time out to re-energise thereby improving the quality of your work.

During my Master’s degree, I found my dissertation hectic. I spent months trying to find the solution to a problem. Surprisingly, the solution came to me when/where I least expected it. I took my foot off the pedal, travelled and came up with a solution whilst taking a shower.

Procrastination is a natural phenomenon. Some tasks will always be more important than others on our scale of preference. We have to purposefully prioritise the important ones and defer the less important ones.

Procrastination becomes a problem when it is used as a form of escape from reality or when it diminishes productivity. Learn to procrastinate well.

Thank you for making out time to read this article. If you have enjoyed it, please comment and share your view on this issue. Also, do like, share and follow the blog.