Why Selflessness?

Why do some people sacrifice so much for others? What do they know that the rest of us don’t? While most of us would rather focus on our personal betterment without giving any thought to the collective wellbeing, some people cherish the chance to serve the larger world ahead of themselves. What on earth could make a man lay down his life for his friends? It is counterintuitive, but we get more benefits from altruistic behaviours than selfish conduct. This is because you will not get fulfillment from the things you get, but from the things you give.

A 2020 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology looked to determine if selfish people did better in life. The result was shocking. It revealed that people with selfless attitudes and conduct were more wealthy than their selfish counterparts and also had more children. We would have thought selfishness would make you richer than selflessness, however, that is not true. It is not a coincidence that the wealthiest people in the world are considered to be some of the biggest givers. Elon Musk once said he considers all his companies to be philanthropic ventures. Companies inspired by solving problems for the human race. This is different from companies created primarily to make money and build wealth for shareholders.

Imagine for a moment that you are Jesus. If faced with a choice to keep your own life, would you? In the real sense of it, you would not. This is because the significance and impact of your self-sacrifice outweighs whatever personal gain you envisage for yourself. If Jesus turned down the cross and continued his ministry to teach, heal and deliver, it could never have the same impact as it once did. At that point, he had already trained scores of disciples that could teach, heal and deliver. The most productive thing only he could do was to sacrifice himself as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Selflessness aligns you with the greater good and bestows a deep sense of accomplishment difficult to explain with words.

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