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Three Things That Sound Bad But Can Actually Be Good For You


Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tambako/ / CC BY-ND 2.0

“It is neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.”
William Shakespeare

Some things are often deemed to be bad. Some things are often deemed to be good.

Here are three things that may sound bad but can actually be good for you. Three things that I have learned to make better use of or strengthen a bit since that would help me out. Think about them. Then add and subtract as you see useful for your life and situation right now while using your own common sense.

1. Selfishness.

Selfishness is rarely seen as something positive. The word may fill your head with images of greedy and soulless Montgomery Burns-like people.
However, personal development is in a way pretty selfish. You are trying to make yourself and your life better. But the thing is that by focusing on helping yourself first you can become stronger and help others in a better way too.

If you just focus on other people and not on yourself then you risk burning out. Or people may take advantage of you as you set no limits or boundaries. You become the “nice guy/girl” who is always out there to help people but think little about yourself which in the long run can become pretty unhealthy.

And selfishness and helping others often go hand in hand anyway. I did for example improve my health and increased my energy levels last year. This also gave me the extra energy to work on an free ebook – that will, if everything goes as planned, be up on the blog very soon – besides writing the usual articles. So that is a win-win.

2. Lazyness.

Being lazy isn’t all that bad. Being lazy about stuff that is irrelevant or not that important will help you quite a bit to free up time and minimize unnecessary stress. Getting the most stuff done isn’t the best option. Getting the most important things done will improve your life and world the most.

So, as I wrote a few weeks ago, set limits for checking inboxes, Twitter etc. Use your laziness and come up with ideas on how to make things as simple as you can in your daily life. Find the smartest path instead of thinking there is some reward for doing things in the most roundabout and complicated way.

This also makes it easier to really relax when you relax and work in focused way when you are working. Be smart and balance life and take advantage of laziness instead of making things into an unnecessarily big struggle.

3. Ruthlessness.

Adding a bit of ruthlessness has, in just the right amount, been very helpful for me. It allows me to cut out the unnecessary instead of wimping around and trying to everything to fit in somehow. If you have problems with putting a stop to something or making decisions then a little bit more ruthlessness may be what you need.

Because at some point you have to make harder decisions and cut out stuff you may not want to. Otherwise you won’t be able to find the time and energy you need. This may mean to skip some social engagements or cutting down on the TV-shows you follow from 10 hours a week to 2 hours a week. Not always fun, but you have to be the boss of your life. You have to make the decisions and say no both to yourself and to others if necessary.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Surge January 28, 2010, 9:51 pm

    Or another way to put this post – “every good thing, in moderation.”

  • aDeeb January 29, 2010, 9:37 am

    For years I have argued that being lazy is a right.
    Finally someone sees that light!

  • Paul January 29, 2010, 10:03 am

    Successful people seem to be selfish, rough and ruthless. But mostly they’re not. The reason is that they have to protect their achievements, money and maybe to most valuable TIME. If they would be mild they would never be successful, distracted by hundreds of people and thousands of things.

  • Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D. January 31, 2010, 5:54 pm

    Thanks for emphasizing the importance of taking care of yourself. That’s what this blog says to me. Looking out for ourselves, prioritizing and sticking to a goal are essential to success. I especially loved your last point about saying “no” to yourself and others. The way I look at it, however, is that when you say “no” to things that interfere with your plans or people who seek to rob you of energy, you are saying “yes” to yourself.

  • Michelle I Taming Time Management February 4, 2010, 1:17 am

    Great article.

    Women especially struggle with being too selfless. By insisting on being selfless many women end up burnt out, fatigued and wondering why there life is so hard. (Not saying some men aren’t selfless, but it is more common in women). By taking a dash of selfishness, along with a spoonful of ruthlessness selfless people would get the time out they are desperately in need of.

    Case in point:
    And selfishness and helping others often go hand in hand anyway. I did for example improve my health and increased my energy levels last year.

    When teaching people how to manage there time better – I always strive to emphasize that “Personal Down Time” is a very important part of a happy, healthy persons schedule.

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