Why putting yourself first, means you come last

It's all about me

“At the end of the day, I need to do what’s best for me.”

I’ve heard this phrase from more people than I care to remember. Usually it’s in justification of doing something they know will have negative consequences to those around them. It’s a cliche which perhaps confers a sense of acceptability about their behavior. You’ve got to ‘look after number one’ haven’t you? Everybody does… don’t they?

Well no they don’t. And the sad truth is that I’m sure they probably know it, and the cliche is cold comfort. It’s a rare circumstance where personal gain can be achieved over a sustained period by doing a disservice to others. Sure, there might be a short-term advantage in putting oneself first. You might get that promotion if you claim all the praise, or take the days off when your team needs you most. But it’s unlikely to last – memories are long for such self-centered discourtesies, and it’s these that impact reputations.

There is more to life than a better title or a bigger paycheck. The strength of our relationships is more valuable than both I would warrant. Nothing destroys those relationships faster than looking after number one. It’s time to rewrite that misleading maxim:

“At the end of the day, what’s best for me, is what’s best for us.”


I write about digital communications and personal performance. Please feel free to follow me on Twitter at @morganm or subscribe to this blog here.