On a regular school night during my senior year in high school I came to what should have been a very simple decision of either drinking with my friends who were back from college or resting for my baseball game in which I was pitching the next day.
“Just have a couple” my friends would tell me. “You’re pitching against Stafford, they haven’t beat you guys in 10 years. My parents are gone for the night, just come over and drink tonight.”
Twenty – Four hours later, after I had given into my friends and after I had gone out and drank more than I should have on a school night, I was left scratchy my head wondering how I, an All-State pitcher lost to Stafford, a team that had never beaten us before.
It was at this moment in my life that I realized that it was my friends who were controlling my decision making instead of myself. Instead of being my own person and making decisions that I thought were right, I gave into what made my friends happiest.
See, in high school I was not worried about getting good grades and getting into a good school. Even after being an All-State pitcher two years in a row, I did not think about working hard and making myself a better pitcher for college. I needed to do the things that would make me a better person, rather than worry about how my friends saw me as a person.
I believe in being selfish, because at the end of the day only you can make the decisions that will determine your future.
Selfish is defined as devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.
To many people selfish is a word that would be negatively associated to someone. However, like most words in our language, being selfish can have multiple meanings. I see selfish being broken down into two meanings.
There are those who are interested in what will benefit them the most in any small or large situation and there are those who are only interested in what will benefit them the most towards the big picture. One is interested in the small and irrelevant things in life, while the other is only interested in the larger and important aspects of life.
In other words there is a difference between taking the last piece of cake before Grandma has her first helpings and skipping your best friend’s graduation party to prepare for a big time job interview.
I believe that being selfish at the right moments and in the right context will make you a better person. In the real world you are going to have to do what others ask for you and sometimes you’re not going to be able to do everything you want.
However, there comes a point in life where you have to put up the stop sign and say I’m going to do things my way, because that’s what I believe in. If you want to live the life you desire, then you have to ask yourself what is best for you.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.