I Hate Being Poor and Selfish

Jason Weiland

At almost 52 years old, I am tired of being selfish. I'm also tired of being poor.

Now, I am not an inherently self-interested person. In my family, I rarely ask for anything. I prefer to provide for them, and my main focus has been on what I can do to make their lives better. Yes, there are things I want for myself, but on the master list of life, I usually fall at the bottom.

But it wasn’t always like that.


Photo by Kat Yukawa on Unsplash

When I was younger, it was all about me. I’ll admit that some of my selfishness couldn’t be avoided, because my mental illness dictated that I focus on myself and my moods if I wanted to survive. But beyond that, I was very aware of my own wants and mostly acted in my self-interest.

Even in my business life, I made decisions based on what would benefit me the most. It’s human nature, isn’t it? Even the businesses I’ve created and the startups I’ve been a part of were exercises in self-absorption.

Is it possible for me to change the entire way I look at life and business and still support my family as I begin my new endeavors — even thinking about what I can do for others instead of what I can do to line my pockets?

Is it possible to change? I ask because what I’d been doing was not working.

Writing is Teaching Me to Look at Earning in a Different Way

I’ve been writing for some time, bouts of creativity sprinkled throughout my life between nervous breakdowns and hospital visits. But it wasn’t until I published my first story on Medium.com in October of 2018 that I became serious about it.

I’ll admit that I jumped feet-first into writing because I wanted to make money, and that was the first mistake I made. I came full-time into writing, only thinking how much money I could make and what Medium could do for me.

And I floundered. I came into this thinking I was already a professional writer, and if others could make thousands, then I could do the same. It didn’t work out that way.

It turns out that my writing had plenty of room to improve. It was garbage. I had the basics down but wasn’t connecting with my audience because I was only looking at the money and didn’t think I needed to get any better.

After hitting the bottom and almost quitting, I decided I need to make adjustments.

First, I needed to better myself as a writer. I studied the people who were successful at reaching an audience and set a goal to improve on one simple thing every day. I took a deep-dive into best practices and started taking a few chances. I looked for my voice and held on when I found it.

Even today, a year or so later, I work to make my voice stronger and stretch to connect with my reader. I’ve become a much better writer, but I know I have a long way to go, so I keep working hard.

After that, I needed to change my reason for writing. I was a selfish writer, always trying to bully my way to better stats and a bigger check at the beginning of the month. I was focusing on the money, and not on what I could do to make the reader’s life better.

I had to change everything, starting with my shitty attitude about making money.

The Change Has Been Refreshing

Now when I sit to write and brainstorm topics, I don’t think about what will perform better or what could go viral. I don’t think about the tags that are more likely to get me curated or published.

The first thing I think about now is how I can add value to someone else’s life.

What has value is showing people that even if, like me, they were selfish in their approach to life and work, they can make necessary changes. That’s why I decided to write on this topic today.

I write for the audience now, and when I think of new ideas, businesses, startups, and projects, I first figure out the benefit to others before I think about money. I first think about the value I can add to someone else’s life before I think of my own.

Altruism is the belief in or practice of, disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others. If we view our work and life from the angle of wanting to help others first, everything that we want will likely come to fruition as a result.

I believe, with every fiber of my being, that I won’t truly be happy and fulfilled as long as I remain selfish and only think of myself. For me, if I think back to the times in my life when I was satisfied, it was when I was busy doing something for others

What’s in it For You?

Look, you may be different. Maybe you thrive when you look out for yourself. Maybe putting yourself first makes you more competitive. Perhaps you got where you are today by putting yourself first.

If not, you can become more altruistic in the following areas:

In Writing

Don’t think about what your writing, side hustle, or job can do for you; work to add value to others' lives. Write and create it because you enjoy it. Hustle because you want to share your knowledge and experience with the rest of the world. If you only want to make money, soon enough it will become a chore, and the audience can tell when you are just going through the motions

In Business

Think of the benefit to others that your product or service will offer before you start thinking about the dollar signs. If what you offer is superior to other offerings, you will make money, so always be looking out for what you can do to help your customers live a better life. If you do that, success will find you sooner rather than later.

In Life

Think about other’s needs before you fulfill your wants. Look around at the people close to you and make sure that you don’t leave them behind on your quest for success.

Be altruistic and don’t toot your own horn. Do things simply because you are a good person, not because you want others to recognize what a wonderful person you are.

If you are unselfish, the money will come. If you focus on providing the best, either to your reader or to a customer, you will make money.

I’m done being selfish in my life, writing, and business. Are you?

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Writer and advocate interested in mental health, health, family, culture, creativity, and success.

Los Angeles, CA

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