Monday, June 27, 2011

Charisma & the Virtue of Selfishness

Dear Mr. Brown:

I either read or saw a video where you promoted the importance of being selfish to acheive success. How do you reconcile people being selfish and charismatic at the same time? Is this an oxymoron?

Theresa Wildenmore
Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear Ms. Wildenmore:

Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, I have talked about being selfish to achieve personal and professional goals. Unfortunately, people connote selfishness as a negative term. Researching the lives of acclaimed individuals from Alexander the Great to Barack Obama has led me to believe that raw, unadulterated ambition by men labeled charismatic is steeped in selfishness. Reportedly, basketball great Michael Jordan said you had to be selfish to achieve greatness, but become less selfish as one achieved their goals. I am not sure how that is done authentically. Microsoft’s Bill Gates was ruthlessly selfish and ambition according to various reports. However, his philanthropic initiatives are unparalleled on the world stage. Does Gates give to worthy causes because he has achieved his aspirations and can afford to do so? Or is his giving a ploy to encourage people to buy and support Microsoft products? We can only speculate.

However, I believe that you can do good and well simultaneously. Being selfish only crystallizes what your intentions are. Once you are clear about your objectives, you can align everything in your life with your ultimate goals. Historically, this is how great feats have been accomplished.

The fundamental factor that makes charismatic people so successful is the keen insight into what they are after as well as a clear understanding of human nature to get there.

Everyone has to decide for themselves what is important and what they can tolerate. To date, if I had made different decisions in life, I could not enjoy the life that I have pursued. It came with setbacks, relentlessness, and yes selfishness. I knew of no other way to effectively perform and the selfishness of other people would have destroyed me.

Edward Brown
Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute

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