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This program is part of the Thomas J. Leonard Coach Training Center from CoachVille LLC.

Other Ways of Phrasing This Principle
Put yourself first.
Stop defining yourself by your roles.

Related Quotes
From his cradle to his grave a man never does a single thing which has any first and foremost object but one - to secure peace of mind, spiritual comfort, for himself. -Mark Twain
I'm extraordinarily patient provided I get my own way in the end. -Margaret Thatcher
When we truly care for ourselves, it becomes possible to care far more profoundly about other people. -Eda LeShan
Sure I'm for helping the elderly. I'm going to be old myself someday. --Lillian Carter (at age 85)
FRED SANFORD: Didn't you learn anything being my son? Who do you think I'm doing this all for? LAMONT SANFORD: Yourself. FRED: Yeah, you learned something. -Sanford and Son

Distinctions To Draw
Selfish vs. Needy.
Selfish means that you care enough about yourself to get your needs met; selfishness is a choice. Needy means that your unmet/unknown needs drive/motivate you -- there's no choice. If you're being needy, your probably not being selfish enough. When you become selfish enough, you handle your needs.
Selfish vs. Self fullness. Self fullness is a term to describe how to fill your self/soul up from the inside, but is often used as a term or goal to avoid the confrontation/fact that selfishness is a GOOD thing. Don't hide behind self fullness; just be deliberately selfish. Animals are.
You vs. Roles. You are distinct from your roles. You may have roles, but there is still the YOU in YOU, independent of roles. Men and women often defer to or are defined by traditional roles so that that seek to fulfill the role, even if it means they don't get what they want personally. To become incredibly selfish may require an abandonment or restructuring of roles. By the way, most roles were given to us or we were conditioned to like/believe in them. Selfishness disrupts that belief, so it's controversial.
Need vs. Want. Most people have needs and wants confused/collapsed, but they are very different. When you need something, you need it in order to be fully you or in order to operate at your best. A want is simply something that provides gratification, usually temporary. Both are terrific; just make sure you label what you're wanting/needing accurately. for some people, a Lexus is a need; for others it's a want. If it's a need, GET THE NEED MET, even if it makes no sense.
Generosity as a By-product vs. Generosity as a Focus. The more selfish you become, the more generous you will naturally be. Most folks try to be generous first before they've become selfish enough. Mistake, because it's usually not sustainable, or if it is, it's highly costly to you, your life and those around you.
Wants vs. Shoulds. A want is something that you acquire that makes you feel good. A should is something that you think you must do or suffer a (perceived) consequence. Wants are selfish and can be very healthy/motivating. A should generally restricts/slows down your natural development. Some people don't think they 'should' be THAT selfish. See? It gets in the way!
Joy vs. Pleasure. Joy is intellectual excitement, emotional involvement plus physical pleasure. Pleasure is generally a mostly physical feeling.

Primary Resource:

Top Ten Ways to Become Incredibly Selfish

Additional Information:
Please first read the materials linked above, given the comments below assumes you are familiar with that content.

A. How this principle is sometimes misunderstood:
1. The word 'selfish' can cause a negative reaction in some people. They feel the word should be changed to 'self fullness' or something less direct. But direct IS the idea here. You have to get past/through the societal/parent-imposed negative connotations of the world selfish.
2. Selfish does not mean 'needy,' narcissism, or 'gimme, gimme.' These terms have been used to describe someone who is selfish, but they are not accurate and give selfishness a bad name.
3. Being selfish does not mean that you can/should become irresponsible, abandon your children or spouse or otherwise revert to six-year old behavior.
4. Selfish does not mean to focus
exclusively on yourself -- it just means that you easily can when needed or desired.

B. Why this principle matters:
1. In order for you to attract stuff, there has to be a you. Some people aren't selfish enough to have developed a complete sense of themselves. The understanding and practice of this principle will strengthen this part of a person.
2. The other side of selfishness is generosity. (I mean other side, not opposite.) So, to get to the place of true generosity, I feel that one gets there via selfishness (and the principle of Reserve).
3. As you become selfish, you'll probably notice more about the type of person you've attracted. Usually, folks have attracted people who need them to NOT be selfish; in other words, need people. See how the cycle is perpetuated?

C. What you may encounter along the path of applying this principle.
1. People will get upset with you and call you selfish.
2. You will feel guilty about being so selfish.
3. You will over react and become (really) too selfish. Not to worry, you'll find a natural middle/balance with this.
4. You will get upset with people who have 'used' your selflessness. You'll now be able to see this clearly.
5. You will feel yourself wanting to become more generous, while being selfish. Yes, you can do/be both.

D. How you know you're making progress with this principle.

1. You are able to put yourself first, when usually you would put others first. You'll start to grin about this.
2. You attract others who have made it through the same process/principle. They've been waiting for you!
3. You find yourself needing less from others. This, because you'll be getting some needs met by simply being selfish.
4. You will 'get' the notion that "If it's good for me, it's probably going to benefit others as well." This is a biggie.
5. You will feel less pulled by roles that you've adopted or that have been given to you. You will feel independent.

Related Principles
#3. Get your needs met, once and for all.
Until your needs are met, you really will be needy and not selfish.
# 7. Market your talents shamelessly.
This is a very positive example of being selfish!
#15. Tolerate nothing.
This is often the first real, practical step on the path to selfishness.
#16. Show others how to please you.
If this won't make you selfish in a healthful way, nothing will!
#28. Be more human.
When you are real and genuine, you are being selfish.

Teaching/Discussion Questions
1. How can you be incredibly selfish and still be responsible to fulfill all your roles in life?
2. If you have a strong reaction to the word 'selfish,' why do you think you do?
3. What else do they usually call people who are selfish?
4. What motivates you in general?
5. To become really selfish, what specifically would you do or do differently, today?
6. What are the clues that indicate a person is needy instead of healthfully selfish?
7. What would a healthfully selfish person behave? What would they say? How would they react to things?

TeleClass Title Suggestions
10-days To Utter Selfishness
Mastering the Skill of Selfishness for the Hopelessly Unselfish
My Way or the Highway: How to Stand Up for Yourself In Every Situation
What Part of No Don't You Understand?: Snappy Comebacks To Use When You're Feeling Pressured
Putting Yourself First Even If It Means That Everyone Else Comes In Last: They'll Live


Copyright 1997 by Thomas Leonard and 2006 by CoachVille LLC. All rights reserved. The Attraction Principles
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