Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Look after yourself first

"It is easier to do one's duty to others than to one's self. If you do your duty to others, you are considered reliable. If you do your duty to yourself, you are considered selfish."
- Thomas Szasz, Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry at the State University of New York Health Science Center

In small business there is a maxim that everyone who takes a course is advised to follow: Pay yourself first. While it may seem as if there are more important bills to pay, paying yourself first gives a good indicator of the health of the business as to whether there is still enough money left to pay the other bills. This grants that the business is far enough along into its business plan that the owner should be about to be paid.

We are taught that looking after ourselves first is selfish, egocentric or narcissistic. However, that only refers to an excess of looking after ourselves first, maybe an obsession with ourselves.

If we do not look after our own welfare, our own health, our own income, our own family, we will not have the ability to look after others, eventually. This is part of the survival instinct for most people.

Of course we should be compassionate and help those whose needs are greater than our own, who have been dealt misfortunes, who need a hand back up out of the hole they have found themselves in. Helping others is part of the grand scheme of why we are a social species on earth.

However, there are some who look after the welfare of others to a great extent, even exclusively, without giving thought to how this affects their own lives. These people have confidence that they will be looked after by a higher power that they depend on.

With rare exceptions, these selfless creatures survive and thrive. Mother Teresa is but one example of such a person. Many others toil in relative anonymity.

We each need to make up our own minds where our priorities lie. And how much we can depend on ourselves to live the life we profess to believe in.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to give you options.
Learn more at http://billallin.com

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