As I’ve written often, self-interest is good. It’s actually hardwired into our DNA and our old brain (limbic system and brain stem).
Fight or flight is an example of self interest’s important survival mechanism that enabled primitive humanity to survive predators who threatened their very lives. Hard work ethic is another example of self-interest at work. Focusing on your dreams and goals is yet another example of self-interest. So too is prioritizing your health by exercising daily and eating healthy.
The very foundation of capitalism is predicated on self-interest. So, self-interest is good.
But there is a vulgar and evil mutation of self-interest, that is known as service-to-self.
The service-to-self ideology promotes self-interest, at the expense of others.
Another way of looking at it – service-to-self sees all other human beings as the enemy – they are to be conquered, defeated, humiliated, beaten and destroyed. Those who follow service-to-self, break laws, and will lie, cheat and steal in order to get what they want. Adherents are toxic and have a powerful negative mental outlook. They are mired in negativity, a negativity that permeates their entire being. You can sense it when one enters a room. They seem to suck the positive energy right out of the room.
To those who subscribe to the service-to-self ideology, the end always justifies the means.
Those who are focused on achieving their dreams and goals must avoid service-to-self individuals at all costs. They carry around with them powerful negativity, are toxic and will throw wrenches along your path to success, interfering with your ability to realize your dreams and achieve your goals.
Sadly, the vast majority, close to 80% of the population, subscribes to this service-to-self ideology. That is why so few succeed in life, live paycheck to paycheck and become a financial or health burden on family, friends and society.
Conversely, an enlightened few subscribe to an opposing ideology, known as service-to-others.
Service-to-others means devoting your life to the mission of adding value to the lives of others.
Subscribers to this ideology believe that we are all in this together. We exist to help improve the lives of others. They believe that in order to get, you must first give.
Service-to-others adherents are oftentimes success mentors to anyone who comes within their orbit.
Service-to-others is one of the universal laws of success that has never changed and never will change. You must first give value to others if you want to succeed in life.
It was no surprise that:
- 72% of the self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits Study volunteered for charities or non-profit groups.
- 61% of self-made millionaires in my study were on the Board of Directors or important committees of a non-profit.
- 70% of self-made millionaires made their children volunteer for a local, community-based non-profit, ten hours or more every month.
- 83% of self-made millionaires believed that the desire to mentor others was a critical factor to their success.
Many of the individuals who run non-profits or charities happen to be successful people.
Does that surprise you?
It shouldn’t. Birds of a feather like to flock together. If you want to find out where many of the rich and successful congregate, join a community charity or non-profit. This is one of the avenues the rich use to develop relationships with other success-minded people. Those relationships often end up doing business together and helping one another thrive and succeed.
You won’t find any service-to-self individuals volunteering very long at charities or non-profits. It goes against their service-to-self, me-first philosophy.
Success has many puzzle pieces. Service-to-others is one of the biggest pieces to that puzzle.