The Dalai lama says, “It is important that when pursuing our own self-interest we should be “wise selfish” and not “foolish selfish”. Being foolish selfish means pursuing our own interests in a narrow, shortsighted way. Wise selfishness means taking a broader view and recognizing that our own long-term individual interest lies in the welfare of everyone.
Being wise selfish means being compassionate.”Wise selfishness is self awareness.”
A client of mine, Tim was feeling apologetic about the statement that he was looking at work only in terms of what he could get out of it. He talked with his manager about how he was feeling.
Tim’s main concern was that he needed to make the product excellent, but his boss didn’t want to do what Tim felt was necessary to create the best product possible.
Tim’s desire to make a great product was fine, but the problem developed because he could not let go of this desire even when his manager told him that he would not support the actions Tim felt were necessary.
Tim became the victim of the struggle between his own need to do excellent work and his boss’s refusal to go along with the work plan that Tim suggested to him.
Wise selfishness required Tim to recognize that his insistence on excellence in the face of his manager’s rejection of the plan was a form of self punishment.
In fact, his internal child was unwilling to accept reality, and was forcing Tim to suffer as a result. Tim had made a thoughtful presentation to his manager. He had done his best.
Moreover, the feature he was working on was not central to the overall project.
Wise selfishness is realistic.