How to Beat Down Selfishness

photo credit: Profound Whatever via photopin cc
It is not about you all the time!

I know those are fighting words for a lot of us. But it is true nonetheless. We live in a self-centered, self-promoting society so much so that it is second nature to believe, either in theory or in practice, that life is all about ME.

Even if you have never said the words, “It’s all about me”, your actions probably “say it” multiple times a day.
Selfishness is so ingrained in us that we have to purposely decide NOT to act selfishly.

I read a post about a top rated high school Running Back who decided that getting his 12th touchdown this year wasn’t as important as giving his grieving teammate his 1st! Read about that story here!

I applaud those who are brave enough in their everyday life to choose to think about the concerns of others.

Learning effective communication skills is a way to practice self-LESS-ness. In all my communications work, practice is the enter point for achieving the goals you want to see.

Practice brings deeper learning and builds confidence. With confidence you are ready to use what you learned on demand. So let’s practice being non-selfish. 

We may not be in a position to let someone take the winning touchdown, but we all have the ability to let someone else know they are worthy!

A few ways you can practice being LESS selfish:

  • Hold the door open! 
Sometimes we hold the door open for the next person if they are right on our heels as we are going through the door. If they are 10-15 seconds behind us as we are going through, we usually go and don’t give it a second thought. Next time, try waiting those extra few seconds. They will appreciate it more because it took effort to stop going about your schedule to actually wait for another person.
  • Return the email or phone call from grandma! 
I know we get a million emails every day. Most of those emails are either unread or go without response. The ones that are from your mailing lists, listservs, favorite stores, or those pesky forwards, you can take your time with those. But the personal emails or phone calls deserve some sort of response, even if the response is as simple as “I got your note. Thanks. I will respond soon.”….but be sure to respond! Grandma may not be as exciting to talk to as your best friend. A returned communication is a simple way we can tame that selfish monster in all of us.
  • Perform a random act of kindness! 
How about initiating a conversation with that person in your office, school, or environment who has an accent because English is not their first language. Try to get to know them. Or do something nice for the grump you usually avoid.
  • Authentically apologize! 
Admit when you are wrong and say so. Don’t try to skirt around it or make excuses. Say “ I am sorry”…not...

.... “my bad”


....or any other phrases we have invented to prevent us from actually letting the words “I’m sorry” roll off our tongues. 
Saying I am sorry is humbling. A little humility goes a long way!

Simple acts like these can get us out of the habit of focusing all energy and attention on “Me, myself, and I”. When we get in the habit of focusing on others instead of self we are becoming better communicators.

What are some other things we can do to beat down selfishness?

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