Me first..!

I don’t want to a appear to be an old cynic, but when someone suggests something to us, or when Change is in the air, (for most mortal people) the very first thought is “How will this affect me? Will it bring me good things? Will it amuse me? Will make me feel good about myself? Will I be more secure as a result of this?” Obviously, there are many more permutations, and the questions can be phrased negatively as well as positively depending on our mindset. Within the Change business, this is referred to as the W.I.F.M factor (What Is in it For Me?)

Once we have addressed our immediate concerns, we then consider how it may affect us indirectly. How will it impact those people I care for? How will it affect people like me generally (this grouping maybe by class, geographic location, race, religion, age, sex or any number of factors depending on the context)? Finally we may pause to wonder how it affects people in general, but we tend to spend little thought or concern for strangers as we don’t know or understand them. Often they are distant and therefore relatively invisible to us.

This may all seem very selfish, and I suppose it is, by definition, self-centred. However, before we hasten to condemn it or deny that this describes us, we should recognise that this is fundamentally another survival tool that Evolution has bestowed on the successful survivors of the evolutionary race. I think it is to humanity’s great credit that there are so many people who, despite this programming, work so tirelessly for others.

I bring this to your attention for two reasons:-

  1. So that you can better understand others responses, and having understood them, work with them is a positive spirit
  2. So that you can understand yourself a little better too, and perhaps challenge that first, instinctive reaction, and enable you to consider the bigger picture before saying “No!

“You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy.”

“Enjoying the joys of others and suffering with them – these are the best guides for man” Albert Einstein


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