Putting others first

How many times have you been told to put others first before you think about yourself? I’m sure many of us have been taught to adopt this logic in our daily life, especially from friends and relatives. In his book, @bbblackwell responds to this kind of thinking calling it a “disastrous to humanity”.
In our modern day world of comfort and convenience, we have lost sight of the many fundamental truths of mankind; the most instrumental of which is self‐regard as a primary motivation. If taken to its logical conclusion, the premise of putting others first would be disastrous to humanity. A hunter, who killed and butchered his prey, then gave all the food away so that others may enjoy a bountiful meal, leaving none for himself, would only be of use to society for a few days, after which point he would be dead in a ditch for lack of sustenance. He could not procreate to further the species; he could not provide further benefit to the tribe; and he could not contribute to the advancement of humanity. If everyone operated on this same notion, then as the hunter delivered the food to the tribe, each person would sacrifice their own needs and pass all the food to the next person in line. The following person would do the same, and the next person the same, until the whole tribe was engaged in a perilous game of hot potato whereby the food gets passed around until it becomes rancid, and every member of the tribe falls dead from exhaustion and starvation.
Sacrificing your own needs so that another can benefit is no more appropriate than improving your own situation at the expense of another’s well‐being. If we relate this idea to mathematics (numerical logic), it becomes quite clear. Let’s denote each person in a given social interaction with the number “2” and allow the equation “2 + 2 = 4” to represent the interaction between two people, with “4” symbolizing the result of that interaction. If we lessen our own position to improve that of another, then “1 + 3 = 4” becomes our new equation. We have been depleted, the other has been improved, but the end result is the same; we have not added value to the world. Likewise, the selfish approach whereby we improve our own position at the other’s expense creates the equation “3 + 1 = 4” and again, we’ve added no value. In these terms, it is clear that not only is there no difference in the fundamental quality of these two equations (one is not more beneficial than the other), but also that whether we act from selfish or self‐sacrificial motives, no net improvement can be made overall.
To create an improvement, and offer benefit of any kind, we must add value to the equation. We can better ourselves alone, but without depleting others, as in “3 + 2 = 5” or we can better others without depleting ourselves, such that “2 + 3 = 5” and in either case we have added value and achieved overall improvement of some sort. Do you see how even by creating benefit for ourselves alone, we have added value to the whole, even if we did nothing to directly improve the situation of another? After all, we are a human on this planet just like the other person, and whether we derive the benefit or they do, humanity is uplifted to and equal degree. Of course, the optimal social interaction, in all cases, is win‐win. If we can improve both parties, then the resulting “3 + 3 = 6” would represent the best case scenario, but even if we spend part of our time focusing on ourselves alone (and this is the preferred course of action, as we will discuss imminently), we can contribute to the betterment of the whole. Of all possible approaches, proceeding with the intent to create value by improving oneself while not depleting another is the most efficient and effective, for the following reason: it is the only approach offering total benefit, and over which we have complete control. — Brian Blackwell (Bodybuilding & Beyond)

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