The Selfishness Of Helping ‘The World’

Posted by on Aug 30, 2010 in Life | 3 Comments

We often think the world needs a certain “something” from us. We go out of our way to give it that “something” we think it needs, and it slowly kills us, little by little.

But we suck it up and deal with it, because somehow, somewhere along the way, we started believing that’s what we were “supposed to do.” That the world needs people who look a certain way, act a certain way, say certain things.

We have this impression that to put too much focus, too much attention, on what drives us, what motivates us, is somehow selfish.

But this is all a lie. You are as much of “the world” as I am, and we are as much of the world as that other person over there.

What the world really needs, more than anything else, is more you.

The big problem is that we get this whole idea backwards. We think that doing the things we love makes us selfish, but it’s actually the other way around. Doing something that “isn’t you” — taking part in activities that drain the life out of who you are — is actually the most selfish thing you can do.


Because when you find a way to do more of the things that make you come alive, you are a better person. When you are living in your strengths, you can do more good, you can create more light, you can be a more full human being.

That is as unselfish as it gets.

For us to not figure out how to do that is to deprive the world of one of the few things that can actually make it better.

(Of course, the enormous challenge is finding the real us. Not many people have the courage to do this.)

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Dr. Howard Thurman


If you liked that post, then try these…

2015: Year In Review by Josh Allan Dykstra on January 7th, 2016

What Is ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Really About? by Josh Allan Dykstra on October 10th, 2011

Playing For Change: Peace Through Music by Josh Allan Dykstra on December 24th, 2008


  1. Tweets that mention The Selfishness Of Helping ‘The World’ | Josh Allan Dykstra --
    August 30, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by RavenousReader and Jennifer Gresham, Josh Allan Dykstra. Josh Allan Dykstra said: We often think putting too much attention on what drives us is selfish. This is a lie. Here's why: […]

  2. Jamie Farrell
    August 31, 2010

    In agreement. Have you read the book, “Selfishness is a virtue”? Ayn Rand. What you have basically stated above is a basic tenant of capitalism, correct?

    • Josh Allan Dykstra
      August 31, 2010

      I haven’t read that, but looked it up — looks like Ayn and I are on the same page! Haha, I knew that idea made sense to me.

      Like your tie to capitalism, too. Feel free to expound further, if you like, for future readers who may stop by.


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