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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin

Helping Others is Selfish

In high school, I compiled a manual on volunteerism. In the introduction, I wrote, “Volunteering is selfless and selfish.”

The advisor, who I still recall fondly, asked me to remove the word 'selfish'. He didn’t think it seemed appropriate.

Years later, I still disagree - you gain a lot for yourself when helping others.

Perspective – Volunteering widens our view, which in turn brings new insights about the world and ourselves.

Skills – You may have new responsibilities, enter a different industry, or handle a completely different role.

Networking – Interacting with others often uncovers unexpected opportunities. You also may make new friends.

Purpose – Especially during a crisis, helping others creates meaning which offsets the malaise of uncertainty.

Fun – You can help around your interests. For example, I volunteered at performances I would have seen anyway.

Right now, it may feel there’s no time to help others when your schedule and mind are preoccupied.

A full schedule is not necessarily a fulfilling life.

In times of great pressure, consider pushing your own boundaries. Helping others is a way to help yourself, too.

Being selfish and acting selfless are not mutually exclusive. Give and grow.

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