Selfishness

Exploring Egocentrism: Pathological Tendencies of the Human Mind

Egocentrism

(Photo Credit: YouTube)

In an epoch where selfishness pervades the land, the use of reason is seriously waning, the value of critical thought is fading, and mendacity has become almost normalized, this piece offers you new vocabulary words to understand what’s at the core of the aforementioned: egocentrism. We must fight the human mind’s proclivity to favor the egocentric. Engage with the following vocabulary words to expand your analyses of egocentrism.

Egocentric myopia: the natural tendency to think in an absolutist way within an overly narrow point of view.

Egocentric memory: the natural tendency to “forget” evidence and information that do not support our thinking and to “remember” evidence and information that do.

Egocentric righteousness: the natural tendency to feel superior in the light of our confidence that we possess the Truth when we do not.

Egocentric hypocrisy: the natural tendency to ignore flagrant inconsistencies—for example, between what we profess to believe and the actual beliefs our behavior implies or between the standards to which we hold ourselves and those to which we expect others to adhere.

Egocentric oversimplification: the natural tendency to ignore real and important complexities in the world in favor of simplistic notions when consideration of those complexities would require us to modify our beliefs or values.

Egocentric blindness: the natural tendency to not notice facts and evidence that contradict our favored beliefs or values.

Egocentric immediacy: the natural tendency to over-generalize immediate feelings and experiences, so that when one event in our life is highly favorable or unfavorable, all of life seems favorable or unfavorable to us.

Egocentric absurdity: the natural tendency to fail to notice thinking that has “absurd” consequences.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Memory Will Protect Your Heart

 

Sad Black Woman

(Photo Credit: Ex-Superwoman)

Psychology teaches us to judge people by their previous actions. While one should forgive people, and forgive them immediately, don’t forget their track record. Even when you’ve just met a person, evaluate his or her words and assess his or her fidelity to those words. Unless you have some type of mental condition adversely affecting your memory, it offers great power to protect you from heartbreak. Listen carefully to what people say and closely observe whether they deliver on what they communicate.

One of the central reasons why an individual must engage in close analysis of what others communicate and their corresponding actions is selfishness often enters the equation. People’s selfishness can have devastating effects. Although you cannot guard yourself against all acts of others’ selfishness, valuing the power of memory permits you to diminish opportunities for falling prey to such selfishness.

It’s okay to trust people—just exercise good judgment. As much as possible, make sure the people you trust have a track record that merits trust. Words alone are meaningless. What real evidence is available to help you determine whether to trust someone? If you ask that question each time you make a decision, you will greatly ameliorate your outcomes.

Memory, an invisible best friend often neglected, is waiting to collaborate with you to defeat those who would attempt to do you harm. Let memory guide your thoughts, your actions, your values, your principles.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Don’t Invite Disloyalty to Your Doorstep

Disloyalty

(Photo Credit: Bole Gain India)

The waning embracement of loyalty is becoming ever so lucid throughout America.  When you fail to be loyal to your family and friends, you invite disloyalty to your doorstep.  The costs of being loyal are significantly less than the repercussions of being disloyal.  Often those who are disloyal to their family and friends are governed by a spirit of selfishness.  This spirit of selfishness frequently defines those who are disloyal.  Most folks willing to be disloyal will try to make everything about them.  If you, therefore, have friends and family members who attempt to make everything about themselves, then they have great potential to be disloyal to you.

Although it can be quite emotionally painful to have someone you trust be disloyal to you, it can be empowering: You have a chance to learn his or her real name: Enemy.  Once you discover his or her true name, treat the person accordingly.  The discovery of disloyalty will remove the blinders from your eyes about the person.  This will enable you to invest your time in people who genuinely love and support you. Even when people painstakingly endeavor to conceal their disloyalty, disloyalty has a way of being revealed to you.  Disloyal people tend to have disloyal friends, family members, and associates, and those individuals often—without the least thought and regret—communicate the disloyalty to the victims.

While it can seem easy to respond to this piece by saying, “Don’t trust everyone,” some of the victimizers can be people you’ve never had any reason to suspect of being disloyal.  You should not immediately blame the victim.  It’s not healthy to go around distrusting everyone but it’s wise to keep your eyes and ears open.

Should a family member or friend be forgiven for being disloyal?

Forgive everyone for everything.  The disloyal will inevitably receive justice.  You will recover from the pain disloyal people have inflict on you—just don’t let that pain stifle your progress.  Find the strength to overcome this pain or it will accomplish just what your enemies hoped it would: destruction.

After reading this piece, let your loyal family members and friends know how much you really appreciate, love and support them.  Being a victim of disloyalty offers you powerful insights about why your loyal family members and friends are so valuable.

As a quick reminder to disloyal people, your actions can cause those same evil seeds you planted in one place to sprout at your doorsteps.  You do reap what you sow.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Being Vain is Evil

Vain People

(Photo Credit: Fess Fitness)

It’s important for people to understand that being vain is evil.  While one might like to think that those who are vain cannot hurt anyone but themselves, this cannot be further from the truth.  Those who are truly vain are egregiously selfish.  Vain people make everything about them.  They see nothing and no one as more vital than themselves.

You have to be really careful about being even the slightest bit materialistic.  Even being the slightest bit materialistic can cause you to focus only on yourself and overlook the needs and feelings of others.

You know you’re recklessly vain when you want people who are going through serious hardships to concentrate their attention mainly or solely on you. Even when you are recovering from a tragedy, some vain people will be upset with you because you didn’t make them a priority.  This type of thought and behavior is dangerous.

Truly vain people are not concerned about the welfare of others.  If everything’s okay with them, then they could really care less if things are going wrong with others.

A number of vain people like to camouflage how selfish they are by promoting themselves as being selfless.  They may also involve themselves in social justice efforts, charities, and etc.  What’s crucial to understand about this, however, is they lack an authentic commitment to those aforementioned things. In involving themselves in these things, their primary motivation is self-aggrandizement.  Don’t automatically assume that those who are advocating selflessness are actually selfless.  It may simply be a cheap ploy to get all of the attention on them.  You can properly determine this by examining a person’s record when it comes to charitable efforts and causes.  Look for real evidence of a person having made a sustained difference in the lives of people.  Make sure that person didn’t cut and run from those he or she was supposed to be helping.

When vain people no longer have any use for you, they will no longer have anything to do with you. They will try to veil their selfishness by saying, “Sometimes, people just grow apart,” or “Sometimes, it’s best not to try to fix some relationships.”  What they are hiding is the truth, though: they can no longer find any ways those persons can benefit them. This leads them to casting those people away. When the persons make efforts to expose their selfishness, the vain people tell lies on them and say that they are envious of them.

Again, while you may think your selfishness is not hurting anyone, your selfishness hurts many.  Learn to see that life is about more than you.  Stop always making everything about you.  If you don’t discontinue being vain, your current world is going to crumble right before your very own eyes.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bye! You’re A Burden Anyway

Girl Bye

(Photo Credit: Meme Crunch)

Do you have people in your life who like to pout like they’re little kids when they don’t get their way?  Do these people try to make everything about them?  Have you ever thought about whether these people have any true value in your life?  It may be time for you to remove yourself from these people completely.  What kinds of benefits do you receive from being in relationships with people like this?  None.  To stay in relationships with people like this is to continue to remain just as foolish as they are.  Although it’s difficult to end certain relationships, there comes a time when you have to eliminate pointless relationships.

What is a pointless relationship?  A pointless relationship is a relationship where one person never gets any benefits from the relationship and the other person obtains all of the benefits.  This type of relationship is unfair and unhealthy.

Being in a pointless relationship wastes your time, results in an undue amount of stress, and leaves you with a sense of emptiness and unhappiness.  You have the power to get yourself out of these types of relationships.  Once you sever ties with those who you’re in pointless relationships with, you will see just how great of a life you can live without them.

Although you may use the “friends” label with people in your life, are they really your friends?  Do they really encapsulate your ideas and ideals of what friends are supposed to be?  Do they give you more pain than pleasure?  If your “friends” are giving you more pain than pleasure, it’s time for you to acknowledge that they’re not friends—they’re burdens!

You must begin to value yourself in such way that allows you to eliminate those in your life who are simply a waste of your time.

When you talk with certain “friends,” do they always find a way to dominate the conversation and/or make the conversation all about them, never giving you a minute to get a word in edgewise?  It’s time for you to realize that these are selfish people.  In the conversations that you’re having with your “friends,” are those conversations mostly about the things they want you do for them?  Again, it’s time for you to admit that these people are selfish.

Selfish people are burdens and they always make the relationships they’re in pointless.

The funny thing is selfish people will often try to threaten not to be your friend any longer and/or stop communicating with you for a period of time and ignore you, as their attempt to punish you. When they do these things, you need to push them completely out of your life.  They’re the ones who really lose when they do these things; they’re the ones who are constantly dependent on you.

You have to take some responsibility for how you have allowed these selfish people to maintain relationships with you.  For whatever reason(s) you continue to stay in relationships with these people, you’re the one who has to break the chains linking you to them.

When selfish people in your life ignore you, stop communicating with you for a period of time, and/or threaten to stop being your friend, you should be happy because these burdens are being removed from your life.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Self-aggrandizing Help

Selfishness

(Photo Credit: The Cheap Place)

Even though we’re still early in the 21st century, it’s increasingly becoming a century saturated with pervasive selfishness.  One of the most frustrating things about the great selfishness I’ve witnessed in the present century is how many people will “help” people just to get people to praise them.  Numerous people pretend to provide others with genuine help but they’re really camouflaging their real dominant motivation: self-aggrandizement.  How can one tell when someone isn’t genuine about the help they offer to others?  One of the ostensible ways to discern deceitful help is to take an opportunity to witness a person in action assisting others.  When a person isn’t truly committed to helping others, he or she will pass off much of the work to others to help the people he or she is supposed to aid—while taking full credit for the results and the work itself.

Too often people are more interested in posting on Facebook and Twitter what they do for people than they are in investing the necessary time to improve the people they’re aiding.  Most authentic providers of support don’t even privately and publicly promulgate what they do for others.  When you’re a natural supporter of people, you don’t need any public credit.  The appreciation and gratitude you receive from those you help should always be sufficient.

One of the primary reasons why I love the 1950s – 1970s is these are decades in the 20th century where people were truly committed to helping one another.  They understood the conditions of Jim Crow demanded they work together to assist one another in engendering the change necessary to break the back of Jim Crow.  I’m not nostalgic about these aforementioned decades—just pointing out that my true selfless spirit is a more apt fit for those decades than it is for this century’s reckless selfishness.

Those who are phony supporters and helpers of others will try to defend themselves against those who are willing to expose their treachery by arguing that the exposers are really the ones who don’t provide authentic support and aid to others.  True providers of authentic help and support have people who are willing to express their gratitude about their help and support.   They don’t have to go to others to complete the unfinished work that phony supporters and helpers didn’t desire to do.  You will, therefore, never be able to mar the record of a genuine helper.

The bible addresses those who give for the wrong reasons as being purposeless and unrewarded by God.  The only people feeling empty about their giving are the ones who aren’t committed to being real givers.  If you’re going to help others, help them.  Don’t waste people’s time by using them as just statistics you parade around to glorify yourself.  One of the chief reasons why self-aggrandizing people want others to see them as true givers is they’re overcompensating for myriad things they lack.  Being falsely perceived as a true giver is a way to blind people from the reality that one isn’t what he or she presents himself or herself to be.

Remove all of the facades and genuinely help people.  Resist the growing impulse in the 21 century to be recklessly selfish.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison                

Being Overly Self-Focused

Without a doubt, there’s a level of self-focus we all need to have to be successful in whatever we are doing in our lives. However, you have to understand when your level of self-focus becomes so extreme that it causes you to misjudge others. When you are overly concerned with yourself, you can fail to put things and people in their proper contexts. Some people have a way of making everything about them. Everything is not about you! Many things go beyond how you view and feel about them. When you limit your thinking predominantly to how you view things and rarely critically consider the views of others, you will end up being perceived as overly dogmatic and not a person to be taken seriously. Most people don’t want to be around individuals who are excessively dogmatic and who make everything about themselves.

If you would consider the things others may possibly be going through, it can better inform your judgment about what they say and do. When you disagree with others, do you ever give any meaningful consideration to trying to understand their arguments and rationales? If you would do this, then you might find out what are the significant factors that contribute to their arguments and rationales. Even if you still disagree with their arguments and rationales, you might gain a better understanding of how they arrive at their arguments and rationales. You may learn more about their arguments and rationales, and you may also learn more about your own arguments and rationales through engaging them more about why they say what they say and do what they do. For many people, however, they have an unwillingness to take the time to do this and don’t have the predilection to do this either.

Overly self-focused people are not able to see the pain, frustration, pressure, and struggle of others. They simply turn a blind eye to other people, especially when they are successful or things are going well for them at a particular time. One of the things that can be most repugnant about overly self-focused people who are successful and/or who things are going good for them at a particular time is how they will look down upon and viciously critique you when you’re are experiencing some difficult times and circumstances. The only thing they want to be clear is that the focus should be on them. They have no true concern for you.

At their core, overly self-focused people are imbued and defined by an egregious all-consuming selfishness. Again, you should have a certain level of self-focus that is going to help you to become successful and stay successful. The problem with your self-focus emerges when it reaches a level that no longer allows you to see, hear, and understand anything or anyone but yourself.

There’s a healthy level of selfishness to have, but don’t make everything about you.

Always take a moment to self-critique yourself to make sure that your self-focus is not reaching an extreme level, a level where it’s becoming an egregious all-consuming selfishness.

Sometimes we can get a little busy with focusing on ourselves that we forget about the people around us who we love. The people who we love, however, should not be placing too much of an undue burden on us. If you’re overly self-focused, then you will think any request from a loved one is an undue burden. Moreover, if you are overly self-focused, you will think any request you make is an undue burden or will be perceived as an undue burden.

Even when overly self-focused people give to others, they find a way to make that giving all about them. They promulgate to everyone that they gave to you and what they gave to you. Many times, they disclose their giving to you to everyone in mean-spirited ways.

Revolutionary Paideia will continue to passionately advocate for people to not be consumed by selfishness. You should never let selfishness define you. Let love, compassion, generosity, and community define you. Plato says it best, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Selling Out to Gain Favor

It’s tremendously disconcerting that people are willing to try to undermine people who are genuinely supportive of them and who they have developed a special bond with in some way. Some people simply don’t care who they have to hurt to get what they want. Some people are willing to disassemble a special bond they have established with others just to mollify their own selfish interests. You could have shared information in confidence with someone and that person can be so consumed with selfishness that he or she will not mind divulging that information to others just to gain favor from those who will be interested in the information and/or who can benefit from the information.

Have you ever shared information with another person who was in the same or similar position as you and the both of you exchanged information that was not to be revealed to anyone else? To gain a job, a vote, friends, acceptance, and etc., has anyone ever used this information against you to receive a quid pro quo from those who don’t support you? Well, if this has never happened to you, you need to know that it can happen and it does happen.

When individuals have not accomplished anything, that is, have no genuine achievements, and are seeking to obtain something to requires genuine accomplishments, you have to watch these individuals. People like this just might sell you out and/or attack you to secure the favor of the people who will be judging their record, a record that doesn’t feature a single authentic accomplishment.

If you have ever been sold out by someone, you need to know that this person will not prosper forever. This person is going to suffer greatly for the wrong that he or she has done to you. What these type of people don’t understand is the people who they have malevolently obtained favor from recognize what type of human beings they are to do what they did. When you are willing to sell out your friends, supporters, family, and others who you have a positive relationship with, this means that you have no morals and standards.

Selling out those who are on your side evinces that you are an empty human being trying to fill yourself up through what you sold people out for to get. The answer to ending your emptiness will not be in what you have gained; the answer to ridding yourself of your emptiness will be in eliminating your selfishness.

When things get to happening to you and nothing seems to go right for you, think about the people who you have sold out to conciliate your selfish interests. You better learn that people will retaliate and will do things to you that are far greater than what you have done. If they do retaliate against you, then you have no one to blame but yourself.

Therefore, go ahead and celebrate while you can and for as long as what you gained lasts. Your celebration is going to be anti-climactic. You need to remember that the people who you sold out have information that they can use against you—don’t forget that! Enjoy your ephemeral and nefarious celebration!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

End One-Way Street Relationships

I hate to be the one to tell you but you’re not going to be able to fool people forever. A person does not have to be the most intellectually sophisticated individual to recognize a pattern of being used by you. People will eventually recognize when you only communicate with them when you want something from them. Folks will start to notice that you only respond back to their text messages, Facebook messages, tweets, emails, and phone calls when you want something. In due time, people will see that you make everything about yourself. Many people who like to try to get over on people will only be upbeat around them when they are planning to ask them to do something for them.

It’s amazing how people will become your best friend when they want you to give them money and/or sex. It’s just a harsh reality that some people will be in your life just for what they can get out of you and from you. Now, I’ve written about these people who try to use you in Don’t Be A Leech!, and told you that you have to get rid of people who don’t value you in Spring Clean, but we need to explore why we continue to maintain relationships with people who just use us.

What is it about us that allows us to maintain relationships with people who use us? For the purposes of this article, when I refer to the word “relationships,” I mean relationships of all types, including friendships, marriages, intimate relationships, family relationships, business relationships, and etc. One of the dominant reasons why many of us, in my opinion, continue to maintain relationships with people who just use us is we are just selfless. This selflessness, however, can lead us to blindness for a certain period of time. The blindness that we experience for a certain period of time can cause us to intentionally or unintentionally overlook deliberate attempts by people to use us.

There’s a clear difference between people receiving from you because they are in need of your help, but that’s completely different from people who just are taking advantage of your selflessness and willingness to help them because they know the vulnerabilities of your selflessness.

When you are selflessly giving to people, make sure that you get something in return from them—that something can be as simple as a “thank you” or acts and/or words that evince gratitude.

Lately, I’ve witnessed how I will do substantial things for people and will not even receive any responses from them, not even responses that tell me “thank you” or that they received what I sent them. Some people seem to think that it’s my job to help them, and when I try to see if they received what I’ve sent them, I will not even get a reply from them via text message, email and/or telephone. Now, I want you to bear in mind that many of the substantial things that I have done for them involved me staying up all night to complete. I very much appreciate these people for giving me an education that I could have never obtained through my undergraduate and graduate training.

What I’ve learned is that you cannot allow yourself to become a blind giver. You have to be a wise giver. When you allow yourself to become a reckless giver, you open yourself to allowing others to exploit you. I’ve learned from those who have used me that you have to do a simple evaluation of everyone who you help. If these people are not giving you at least a sincere “thank you” in return for what you do for them, then please disassociate yourself from them. You don’t have to have a major altercation with them. All you need to do is don’t answer their phone calls, text messages, emails, and etc.—much in the same way that they have done to you for certain periods of time until they needed something else from you.

Don’t you just love when people try to act like they didn’t get your text message, Facebook message, direct message on Twitter, phone call, and/or email, but you see that they have tweeted several times since you contacted them and/or have updated their Facebook status after you have contacted them?

I urge you to discontinue relationships with people where they are just using you. These types of relationships simply bring you down inevitably. Don’t let your great selflessness turn into unintentional or intentional blindness. When people fail to demonstrate how appreciative they are of you when you clearly deserve appreciation, then remove these people from your life. At the end of the day, you cannot let your selflessness turn into stupidity.

For those readers who know me and you think this article is addressing you, it probably is. If I don’t tell you first, just ask me and I will let you know. I don’t do third person—never have and never will. When have you known me to hold back anything that I have to say to you and/or about you? Exactly!

Love responsibly. Give responsibly. Help responsibly. Be responsible.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Open Letter to NFL Owners

Dear NFL Owners:

The purpose of this missive is to implore you to end your attempts to gain an even greater share of revenues at the expense of millions of fans across the nation and globe who love and enjoy National Football League (NFL) athletic competition. At a time when we face great global economic turmoil, you are not showing fans any remorse by being avaricious. As you continue to look to mollify your own selfish interests, you only cause global morale to sink further. While I am not willing to completely agree with some players who claim that you are treating them like “modern slaves,” I do posit that you do economically exploit the professional athletes who work for you. It’s a derisory postulation for players to try to present themselves as “modern slaves” when they are millionaires. This faulty argument made by some NFL players, however, does not let you off the hook.

You make significantly more money off of the labor these professional athletes provide for you. It’s only greed that continues to motivate you to want more and more money for yourself. When people are struggling just to put food in their mouth, you are thinking only about how you can obtain more money to purchase yet another yacht or luxury automobile.

For many people across the globe, the only luxury they have is pulling up a chair to their television and watching an NFL game on Sunday. Because you cannot let your selfishness and insatiable appetite for money go, you are threatening to take away this luxury for people across the globe.

Do you not care anything about the health of your players? By extending the regular football season two games, this increases the likelihood of your players incurring season-ending injuries. The current 16 game regular season is already arduous enough for athletes. To help you to pay for your huge stadiums and bring in more ticket revenues, you would rather mortgage their health. Have you no scruples? The health of NFL players is more important than your bottom line.

You should go back to the negotiating table with NFL players with a serious mindset resolved to reach an equitable agreement with them. Have you ever heard of equity before?

If you prevent people across the globe, especially the American people, from watching their favorite athletes on television and in person, they will make you pay by turning a blind eye to you when football begins the next year that you come to an agreement with the players. Consumers will remember that when they were hurting the most, you took away something that offers comfort to them. I hope that you don’t think that consumers are unsophisticated and gullible. They know that you are responsible for this lockout.

Make a commitment today to reach a solemn agreement with the players, so that football fans can have an assurance that they will be able to witness another great season of NFL football. You may think that you are going to war with the NFL players, but you are really going to war with the fans, and I’m confident that we will inevitably have the last word with you about what we think about your conspicuous selfishness. Do the right thing!

Sincerely,

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison