Stuck on Selfish Pt. 1 – Relationships vs Career

Walk with me into any pre-kindergarten classroom around the country. I guarantee you that there will be a group of children playing with a pile of blocks, maybe Lego’s. Do you remember when you were that age? Building towers was like an art form. All of your pieces had to be placed strategically to create whatever masterpiece you had in your mind that day, be it a castle or a bridge or just a really high tower. Do you remember what it felt like when some other child came by and tried to add to your work? You were probably already done building whatever you were building, but because you were so protective of your blocks, you told them that you didn’t need any other piece they had,  knowing good and well that you really could have used that connector. It didn’t matter that you may have needed the piece that they were offering, or that sharing that one piece could bridge the two creations to make something even greater. No, you just didn’t want them to touch your stuff, because its yours. There’s no rhyme or reason behind it, other than the fact that you’re a little kid, and you don’t know anything but what makes you happy. I’m sure you also remember what your mother had to say about this matter.

“Let someone help you sometimes…you can’t do it all by yourself baby”

But WHY?

Many adults still don’t understand the concept of sharing, because they don’t see the purpose of anything that doesn’t benefit them on the surface. For that reason, many of us are extremely selfish.

While we could discuss many aspects of the problem with self-motivated activities…today I’d like to present the career vs. love debate. There is something uniquely negative about our generation’s tunnel vision-like obsession with professional success. But can you blame us? In a world of ME ME ME, its hard to grasp the concept of a WE. I read a quote recently from Nicki Minaj that really summed up what I think are the sentiments of many young professionals, especially young professional women:

“I have no romance in my life at all, and it’s not important to me right now. I have love for people who are on my team that I see every day and for my family, that’s what makes me do what I do. I also have love for people that I interact with. If I have too much of the romantic love, I feel like it will distract me. Right now I feel like a robot.

Raise your hand if you can relate. I see you. I raised my hand too, as I have said these exact words…recently.

I highlighted her last statement to make a point. There is no denying that romantic love can throw you off of your game, distract you and keep you from doing the things that you want to do, if you let it. Being a robot, can be just as detrimental. At least in Nicki’s case, she hasn’t disregarded the love of family and friends to focus on her career. Unfortunately, many people do. Because we tie so much of who we are into what we do, it’s easy to drop relationships that aren’t directly tied to our professional advancement. The sad thing is, once that professional success is attained, you wind up alone…cold, and unable to enjoy the fruits of your labor. At that point are you really living? To live doesn’t mean you’re alive. (Nicki said that too.) In the end, it’s all about balance, an area in which all of us who “grind” could use a tune up.

Here’s the thing about being unselfish with your heart and your time. If you do it the right way, you will help yourself. People are generally good natured. Of course there are bad apples, but those people around you that you know have your best interests at heart want to celebrate with you in your triumphs. They also form a nice cushion to fall on when you fail. It makes people feel good to know that they have in some small way contributed to the success of a friend, family member, or lover.

Lets go back to that classroom where we began. Your blocks, for this demonstration, are the steps to your success. Your friend might not know all the work it took for you to place those blocks in the right positions, but they just might have the piece that could help you achieve the final product that you’re working toward. If you don’t share, you’ll isolate that person…and you might never get that piece. As people, we thrive on community. So no matter what you say, you need someone to help you get to where you want to be. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to create a hero. Let people seed into your success. It will keep you humble, and take you places you would never get to on your own.

Have you ever felt like you were in “robot mode”? Are you in it now? How did you find your way out of it?

Talk to me.


4 thoughts on “Stuck on Selfish Pt. 1 – Relationships vs Career”

  1. I think maybe I need to be more in robot mode! I am the type of person who was an only child for several years (my brothers are 8 and 16 years younger than me), and I longed to share things with people. I taught Sunday School, I give talks about college, I have been in a committed relationship for over three years–and my book still isn’t written, I’m still not published, I am still not working for myself, and I’m still in debt.

    It’s a really hard balance to strike, but balance is so important in our lives. To me, I try to motivate myself to work hard so I can have more to “bring to the table” and share with others more so than I work to define myself with the work I do.

    Very thought-provoking post!:D

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