5 Reasons Why It's Necessary To Be Selfish Before You Can Be Selfless

by April Merlas

I'm a selfish person, and I'm not afraid to admit it. I'm thoughtful of my loved ones, I'm appreciative of what I already have and I'm pretty generous, to say the least.

So I'm selfish, but not in the way you would typically think. My whole life, I've always been motivated by something deep inside of me.

It always starts out with a story, so here is mine: On a weekend night out with my friends, we encountered these two men from London who clearly knew how to live life. They were blissfully and hopelessly drunk.

They started expressing to us how much they loved San Francisco's culture, and how they fell in love with the city's sense of style. I'm used to my usual drunk and deep conversations with my friends about life, so talking to these complete strangers wasn't any different.

One of them noticed something about me, and he offered a treasured piece of advice that would unknowingly change my life forever.

I'm definitely one of those people who believe nothing is coincidence, and I couldn't help but think I was in the right place with this one chance encounter.

His advice was to read a book called "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. When he was in a rut during his life, a friend of his told him to read it because it had helped him get to where he is now.

As he passed along the same advice to me, I ordered the book the next day. Reading it reaffirmed that feeling in my gut, the rush of blood running through my veins and the very pulse of my heartbeat.

In the book, it follows a young boy on his journey to follow his destiny. He found that with each challenge he encountered, and with each person he met, they all served a value in reaching his next step.

The author refers to this as pursuing your personal legend, and choosing to ignore this calling will lead to an unfulfilling life. These words stuck out to me: And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it

My face lit up. If we all say we live in a world with endless possibilities, why not choose to honor that?

No more excuses! Here are the reasons why it's always the perfect time to be selfish with your life, in order to get to where you want to go:

1. It leads to a positive life.

I'll let you in on a little secret I've discovered about life: Life is as simple or as tough as you make it to be.

Get it? Good.

Personal happiness can be achieved through working hard, always learning and achieving goals. There is absolutely no room for fear or self-doubt in that equation. Following whatever passion you have in life will lead you to your own definition of success.

2. It's a form of self-discovery.

It makes total sense to want to get to know more about yourself.

You are inside your own head 24 hours of the day, seven days a week, whether you like it or not. In college, it helped to read books I thought would pertain to my personality, my work ethic and my learning styles.

In the long run, it's enabled me to put my best strengths to use, avoid my downfalls, find a path for myself and stick to it. Though I had to spend time in solitude and dedicate myself to perfecting my craft, it was comforting.

The more you know yourself, the more capable you are of achieving your goals.

3. You'll achieve happiness and spread that sh*t everywhere.

There's a reason why that guy at the bar told me about the book.

The truth is, we're all still young and trying to figure everything out. We all need some help every once in awhile. I certainly didn't expect to get a life-altering piece of advice from a stranger that night, but it helped in more ways than one.

An act of kindness can come from some of the happiest people on earth because they don't expect anything in return.

True happiness that radiates from within is like an infectious disease; it's simply unavoidable.

It's a magnetic pull people are drawn to. If it doesn't spread, people who notice will naturally gravitate toward that energy.

Think of it this way: If your personal happiness was to drop a normal life and care for others in developing countries, this passion creates your own personal happiness and does others good. It will make an impact in someone's life, even if you don't even know it.

It makes the world go round.

4. You'll pay the rewarding price.

You have to understand this path will involve inevitable trials and tribulations. There will always be rough days and countless obstacles, but somehow, you will find a way to make it work. Along the way, I've made my connections, paid my dues by working for free and counted my blessings all in one.

You will always have to pay it forward with life, and you should always count the little things. This is called achieving balance. You have to display acts of selflessness, express gratitude and show empathy all in one endless cycle.

5. There is no way to go it alone.

With every little bump on the road, you'll realize the path won't be perfect, and you'll often be misunderstood. People will judge you, and the whole world may not be ready for you.

That's life, and you made it through.

I've found there's nothing wrong with focusing on your passion. You'll find people will respect your grind, and you'll start to notice the right people will always find a place in your life.

Being selfish isn't gaining as much as you can; it's acquiring value to your life. And eventually, you'll learn what that means to you.

We should never have to settle for mediocre lives. For starters, try being positive. It's both a life hack and magical formula.

Realize these positive actions are steps toward reaching your fullest potential, and know they have the ability to bring the same out of someone else.

If that isn't a super power, I don't know what it is.