Raise hand and be selfish

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

Each day my coach makes it a point to talk to me and I cherish those conversations with him each day while I gather some good matter from him especially when I am confused, lost on solution / direction or share something critical. And, this is a routine since about last 10 years.



Once, in a discussion he mentioned that I am not selfish enough. Not selfish enough!!. Did I hear it right,  I was anxious to listen more in that conversation. What he narrated defined another dimension of being selfish for me.


He reminded that I had mentioned about my love for sports, as my favourite time pass, I watch all types of sport – singles, doubles and multi-player matches, I liked them all. I watched matches when low and lonely as they kept me away from negative thoughts. I realised, that’s right, I had spoken about it to him.


I loudly said: “Yes, what about it. Each sport, game and match are different. I have seen players so engrossed, focused and have just one thought during the game, that they play their best to win. They are so positive.”


My coach said, “They are selfish, they are filled with selfishness to WIN.”


Now, I was confused, selfishness in a player. Something was not clear here. A negative trait amongst sports persons on the field.


He continued “During the practice and while in the game, players sweat but nourish themselves, they fall but get up and continue to play, they get bruised & hurt and they recover to get back into the game, they are penalised sometimes they return to be within the boundary, they tremble but hold their position, they get angry and throw their racquets but continue to play thereafter, they punch, jab and hook but they reconcile, they have challenges but they continue to practice, practice to win themselves and for the team they play for, they lose but play another game with a motive to WIN.  My coach had given me another dimension of SELFISHNESS. I continued tossing this narrative for very long that am I not being SELFISH enough.


Months passed and then I chanced up on a quote from The Dalai Lama –

“If you would like to be selfish, you should do it in a very intelligent way. The stupid way to be selfish is … seeking happiness for ourselves alone.… the intelligent way to be selfish is to work for the welfare of others.”


The same day, I applied for a be a volunteer and it been ten months now in this role.  

In today’s age people need to be asked for volunteering, raising hands is not a normal anymore, there are exceptions. People love to say (show) that they are busy, despite possibilities of sharing minutes each day to contribute for the cause they believe in.

I had read and was told that people who volunteer are motivated, motivation is an inside job, so is ‘focused to win’ and ‘being selfish’. Volunteering, motivation, selfishness, and winning are all connected, is it no more a hypothesis. Being volunteers, we have met our objectives several times, the growth, happiness and realisation has been immense. This feeling is not just mine, despite their silence, I have seen similar status with other volunteers too.


I have realised being selfless is smartest way to be selfish.


Happiness, realisation and growth through volunteering are very specific to individuals, hard to share and express it with certain words. It is an experience.


Those who Raise hands get EMPOWERED and they ENRICH themselves. 

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