Most of the science, technology and management of today is centered on making our life simple, easy and comfortable. Automobiles have made transportation easy. Computers have made computation easy. Phones have made communication easy. There is something that has made life uneasy in comparison to the previous times. The increased suicide rate, homicide rate, addictions and the prominence of mental health problems bear a witness to this unnoticed malady – the malady of selfishness. We can say something as complex when it is too dynamic i.e. it changes too rapidly that it becomes difficult to monitor and control. It is too diverse and variegated that it becomes difficult to organize and manage. Let us now discuss how selfishness complicates our lives.
The more things I get, I become more happy. To get things, we need to pay a price – the price of money, time and effort. The price often fluctuates. The price of commodities always increase. The price of luxuries always increase. The process to get something also changes. Our efforts to get do not always give what we expect. They may fail sometimes partially and sometimes fully. There are many things available in the world. It is a great effort to make a right choice of what to get. Whatever we get, comes with a hidden price tag of maintenance. To decide what to get, to get and to maintain what we get is a cumbersome and complex process. To the extent our life is centered on getting, to that extent, our life will be ridden with anxiety, complexity and uncertainty. On top of all of this, the more we get, the more we will want.
Race for recognition
The more recognition I get, I become more happy. To get recognition from someone, we need to contact them and connect to them and then impress them. This itself takes energy and effort. Different people value different things. Some value wealth. Some value fame. Some value beauty and some value knowledge. Therefore, we cannot impress everyone all the time. Our ability to impress also wanes over time. Someone else can impress people better than us. If we get little recognition, the desire to get recognition intensifies. We cannot become center of attraction for everyone. Therefore, our desire for recognition is never going to be satiated. The passion for recognition is bound to get frustrated.
If someone helps me, he is good else he is bad. Self-centered bias is analyzing and judging the world from one’s own lens. It is an illusory conception that the world needs to revolve around us. This leads to self-righteousness i.e. justifying our behavior and actions and fault-finding i.e. project failures and negative behavior on others. Others are blamed for one’s own mistakes and failures. We do not see the world as it is, but as we are. It often leads us to misinterpret what happens, makes us take things too much to heart and waste valuable emotional energy that escapes in form of frustration and anger. This cognitive bias makes us trust too much on our point of view and way of seeing the world, thinking that are the only possible. This leads us to ignore the others and underestimate their opinions, which in many cases can be enriching. We get enamored by illusory gains and fret over illusory losses instead of looking for real gains and learning from real losses.
After understanding these symptoms of selfishness, we can introspect ourselves and detect the extent of complications created within by our selfishness. The way out is to adopt selflessness i.e. to direct our desires, thoughts and emotions to something or someone outside us. It can be to a friend, family, organization or humanity. The bigger the person is, the better it is. Therefore, God is the best person whom we can focus upon. The more we focus on God, the more we come out of selfishness and the miseries and complications created by selfishness.