I Burned Out on Thinking About Myself, So Now I Think About Others (Selfishly)

The words “Brian” and “Gandhi” will never be associated together, but progress has been made nonetheless. I’ve spent almost my entire life dwelling and obsessing over what I call the “selfish black hole” – the infinite universe of selfish desires, perceived imperfections, strategies for self-gain, etc. After all, I am a part of Generation Look At Me. However, at some point it just becomes too much. You realize despite your paltry life accomplishments, it’s never enough and the goal post keeps moving farther out. 

You start to wonder when will it all add up for me? When will my hard work start to pay off from a FEELING standpoint, not a bank account or wall of achievement perspective? Oh I get it; I just need to make double the income. Have double the wealth. Live in a better city. Live in a better apartment. Be in better shape. Have two percent less body fat. Have more time for myself. Have less time for myself and more time with friends and family. No matter where you go, there you are – unsatisfied, wondering about life but steadfastly sure “more” is out there that I still need and am missing. As my high school ethics facetiously taught us,

“When is enough, enough? Just a little bit more.”

-Kurt Kroesche

A realization dawns on you. What if more for you isn’t the answer. After all, the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. One day you wake up tired of being insane. Selfishly searching for a viable strategy toward happiness and fulfillment, you shift your focus outward, however slightly. We’ve all heard it a million times:

“It’s about others.”

“What can you do for other people or the world?”

“Nobody likes the Mr. Potter.” (yet I’d argue we live in Pottersville, but we’ll save that for another post). 

You finally give in. FINE. I’ll try this whole “do for others” hat on for a change. For me it started with embarrassingly small actions. But as my poster on the wall at my coliving space says, “There’s no such thing as small change.” Thank you, Ikea-level artwork. 

I texted my CrossFit buddy who busted his shoulder the day prior asking how he was doing. Just the fact that I spent 10 mins in the morning thinking about someone else in lieu of figuring out how to optimize my dating app profile is a world of improvement. 

The next day I asked someone in my apartment complex if they needed help moving anything. I knew she’d decline my offer, but I was ready in the event I was wrong. We’ll count that half-credit, but again, no change too small. 

I’m trying to rewire my neurons, transitioning from obsessing over myself to being of general use to humanity. You can join me if you like if you’re not there already, but I’m doing it selfishly to find my own little oasis of happiness and inner peace.