6 Ways to be Selfless in a Selfish World

The world seems as if it is in its most selfish era ever. It appears people care about each other less and are more motivated by extrinsic factors. If there isn’t anything in it for them, they are happy to shut their eyes and pretend nothing is wrong. How often has your house alarm gone off recently and nobody has called? It’s a small thing, but the tiny gestures are the most telling.

Sadly, selfishness can creep into your life very quickly. As soon as friends, family and the general public show us it’s okay, we are desensitized to the problems and don’t analyze them deeply.

If you want to be selfless, or less selfish, in a selfish world, it’s time to make a change for the greater good. Here are six options.

Turn The Other Cheek

Selfishness stems from negative experiences. When someone slights you in some way, it makes your blood boil and you think you need to set the record straight. Often, getting even means cutting off your nose to spite your face, and the two parties aren’t the only ones that suffer.

Stopping it at the source is essential, which is where turning the other cheek comes into play. People that can let things go tend not to lash out or seek revenge, and this allows them to do kind things even for those who haven’t been polite in return. 

One of the most obvious signs of selflessness is helping those who have hurt or insulted you. Keep a note of them, by all means, yet don’t wait for the right moment to get even – take the high road, instead.

Photo courtesy of StockSnap via Pixabay

Perform Acts Of Kindness

By performing acts of kindness, you can bring a little bit of joy to a person’s life. And, there’s no need to go overboard and buy them something expensive. Costly gifts usually paper over the cracks. The trick is to perform an act that is free yet means the world.

The best one is offering a smile. As soon as you smile at someone, you make them involuntarily smile back because it’s infectious. A smile is also a mood booster as it causes the brain to release endorphins, which make the body feel happier and lighter. In a matter of seconds, the random stranger feels better about themselves. And all it took was 26 facial muscles.

Give To Charity

While being selfless is a do-it-yourself kind of thing, there are levels. You do what you can from the ground floor, but other organizations go the extra mile for the greater good. They are called charities and they are the experts, so a smart move is to give them your money and let them spend it as part of their budget.

It’s tempting to see this move as a selfish one because it’s easy, but the reality is different. It’s selfless to give money to charities and give them control over your actions. You could do it yourself and take the credit; however, you forfeit all positive PR when you leave the decision to a charity of your choice. That’s pretty selfless.

Giving money to those less fortunate than you isn’t a selfish act whichever way you decide to do it, so don’t let selfish people project. They want you to feel bad because they aren’t pulling their weight and it cuts to the bone.

Photo courtesy of Voltamax via Pixabay

Change Jobs

The majority of jobs help the person who is employed. With a nice paycheck and good out-of-work benefits, you are the one in the driving seat. By changing positions and companies, you can add an extra element to your career: helping others. 

According to Rutgers University, homelessness is on the rise and millions of people are in poverty. But, by enrolling in a course committed to social work and administration, you can focus your efforts on helping this demographic bounce back. Or, there is a group of people who need medical aid. Whether they can afford insurance or not, the fact that you’re a nurse means you’re dedicating to their cause. There are tons of accessible undergrad and postgrad courses if you want to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Remember that you can do it remotely or at night to avoid disrupting your home life too much. Life Hack has advice if you want to know how to juggle everything successfully.

Photo courtesy of Raw Pixel via Pixabay


Hearing is one of the five senses, yet most of us don’t do it effectively. We hear; we don’t listen. Listening is a selfless act because it means you have to put your troubles in the background. Once you commit to understanding another person’s problems, you automatically demote your importance to try and help them make sense of things.

Of course, listening correctly isn’t a walk in the park or else everyone would do it, so you need to focus. Paying attention to what they are saying and their body language should ensure that the message sticks. Mind Tools also encourages offering feedback. That way, you can actively work through the issues and troubleshoot them in real-time.

Last but not least, try and enjoy the process of helping others. When you do that, listening is easy.

Treat Others With Compassion

Because when you do, you encourage them to do the same. If the world could be more compassionate, society would be ten times nicer and half of the problems wouldn’t exist.

In the beginning, people won’t respond how you want them to, but that’s why you need to keep going. Selflessness doesn’t happen overnight, and you will have to walk a long and tiring road to get to the finish line. 

In the end, it should be well worth the effort when you notice the shift from selfish to selfless.

Author: Urban Ponder Writing Team

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