In the quiet of the morning before the family wakes up and the chaos ensues I read through as many blog posts and articles I can.  This morning I was thrown into some deep thought by a post from Corey at Simple Marriage titled: Can you really be selfish? All it took was one sentence to put my mind in motion.

The interesting thing is … the term selfish is only used when someone else doesn’t want you to do or not do something they prefer.

This really hit home with me because “You’re selfish” is a common phrase in my household.  I would go as far as to say that on average it is used at least once a day by each member of the family.  If someone goes a full day without using it (most likely because they are not home) they will make up for it another day with multiple uses.  That one sentence still runs through my head as I type this.  It depicts a circle of selfishness both from the sender and the recipient of the word or phrase.  To me it embodies much of what is in need of change in the world.  We live in a society of compulsion that would be better served with compassion.  Everything, everyday seems to be about getting others to do what YOU want them to do and vice verse.

My leadership style is one built on serving my team.  I don’t look to compel them to do what I want, I look to guide them to do what they know and feel needs done in an efficient and successful way.  Why can’t I apply that same style at home?


As Albert Einstein once said:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
There is a good bit of “insanity” in my home, so how can I at least lead by example and make a change?  A good start would be to stop thinking about things in terms of selfishness.  I resolve to stop using the word and push through every time I want to use it, do what needs done, and hope it rubs off on the others in my life.  My only concern is that it doesn’t and I become the biggest pushover ever and end up exploding one day as it all builds up which is worse than the daily “You’re Selfish!”
Thanks for the Wake up call, Corey.
Thoughts?  Are you caught in a circle of selfish?  Any ideas?


  1. From my perspective, the challenge with “selfishness” at home vis a vis at work comes from a single core difference: goal setting.

    At work, the “Good Boss” sets goals that enable a team to be self directed by being self-serving. “If I take it upon myself to complete X, I will get positive feedback”. At work, people expect to be led. At home, when you get caught at trying to lead (or manage) a spouse/partner/child, it can be mistaken for selfishness.

    It goes back to your up-front contract theme with the family — if the joint goals are complimentary, everyone can win and there is a little less culture of “selfishness”. When the goals compete, someone has to “lose”.

    1. Thanks Beth. Great point on goal setting difference. You may be on to something there. Hmmm, how can I work some complimentary goal setting into the family culture. Interesting indeed.

  2. Interesting that we spoke about this on last week’s podcast. I see selfish as a good thing, although I look at it through a different set of eyes now versus how I used to. I am selfish in the fact that I’m being the best version of myself, working toward my goals and dreams while being mindful of the wake I create (how it affects others). I believe that the best way to inspire and teach others is by BE-ing the best I can be. That’s the best service I can provide.

    However, I used to live from a selfish place which involved making everything about me, or “I” the ego. That’s a different brand of selfish; one that takes from others. It’s me seeing the world from a place of scarcity, that for me to win, someone has to lose. I no longer see things that way.

    Lisa Nichols, author of No Matter What, explains it this way: For you to serve, your cup needs to be full. In fact, have a big cup that sits on a saucer. Make sure your cup is running over and serve from the saucer. I like that!


    1. Thanks Paul. I like that quote as well. I absolutely agree with “BE-ing the best I can” as a foundational point same as leading by example. Another strategy I have always used at work but have been less successful at home is what I call “eliminate the noise”. The noise of activity from peers even “higher ups” that you disagree with and will bog you down if you dwell on that noise. I can feel when its building and I have to clear my mind and realize I need to focus on what I need to get done and not dwell on the peripheral noise of what others are or AREN’T doing. I need to figure out this one at home as well.

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