Be Selfish and Do Great Work

by Emily Jasper on December 31, 2010

I am here to tell you something: It is perfectly fine to want to do good work.

I commend you for it.

You should not be afraid to be great. You should not be afraid to apply your abilities and produce. People should not cut you down when you can succeed. You should not be considered a fool when you choose not to cut corners. The world should be thankful that you want to strive for more, not to serve everyone else, but to demand more of yourself.

It is perfectly fine to do good work. I challenge you to do great work.

One of the things that has shocked me over the years is how jaded the world has become. When there is a business scandal, we don’t even consider it a scandal anymore. It’s considered a sign of the times. People mock the idea of ethics as something we shouldn’t even bother with, people will act unethically anyways. It seems like an uphill battle to perform well when someone above, beside, or in a different industry from you can demolish your work in an instant. Let’s just get through the days.

I don’t think I’ve ever believed that.

Perhaps it’s an old-fashioned idea, but I have always been taught that you should continually strive to do your best. What makes that idea so compelling to me is that I work hard not for everyone else, but for myself. I just finished Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, and the characters from that book would call me selfish.

So let’s be selfish this year.

I see the news reports and while many of us think that we might be free and clear of the Great Recession, there are threats of more struggling to come. If you are still struggling and expect the future will not be easy, then now is a time to be selfish. Work, push, strive towards greatness. If you are sitting pretty, strive towards greatness yourself. Your selfish desires to achieve can serve those you may wish to help. But if you aren’t taking those steps, don’t pray for someone else to take them for you.

Strive towards greatness. Start today.

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