Success Strategy # 12 – Realize that egocentricity is your biggest enemy.
We have a tendency to look at the world only in terms of how it affects us directly. This egocentricity is detrimental to our success. The more selfish we are, the less we get out of life. The more we realize we are here to help care for, nurture and support others, the more positive and powerful we can become. Almost all forms of depression are a form of egocentricity and selfishness. You can’t be successful and happy and be egocentric. Egocentricity is a major cause in depression, unhappiness and most other forms of self-destructive behavior.
When the famous psychiatrist Dr. Karl Menninger was speaking at an event, he was asked what advice he would give to a person on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He was expected to reply, “Consult a psychiatrist.” To the astonishment of all in attendance, he instead replied, “Lock up your house, go across the railroad tracks, find someone in need and do something to help that person.”
Just as egocentric action is harmful to your well-being, selfless action is edifying. Egocentric thoughts lead to selfish actions. Don’t confuse a selfish action with anything you do for yourself. A selfish action is something you do without regard to how that action will negatively affect others. Taking care of yourself, for example, is not a selfish action. It is a responsible, healthy and positive action.
However, when the action is at the expense or to the detriment of others, the root cause is usually egocentric thinking. Selfish or egocentric thinking will always lead to selfish or egocentric action. The end result of such action will always be detrimental to your life. Egocentricity is your biggest enemy in that it is self-destructive and it creates a barrier to building the strong and positive relationships that are crucial to a successful life.
Why is egocentricity your biggest enemy in achieving success and happiness?
- Egocentricity keeps people from talking to others and finding out what they enjoy, what they know and what they like.
- It keeps us from learning from those around us and from the wisdom of those who have come before us.
- It keeps us from enjoying the moment (even when we’re not getting all of the attention).
- It keeps us from experiencing the powerfully positive feelings that come from sincerely taking an active interest and participating in the lives of others.
The purpose of our existence is to develop ourselves to the best of our ability to help others – not to encourage others to desire or need us. (See also Success Strategy # 24*). Remember, at our most immature level we were helpless, selfish and needful creatures. It’s important that we are constantly doing what we can to keep our egocentricity in check so we can mature to our fullest potential and enjoy all that life has to offer.
* “Know that love has nothing to do with being wanted or needed…that’s insecurity.” – Success Strategy # 24, Joe Caruso