In an event such IgniteAlgarve where people want to promote the initiative it is normal to talk about the actions that should be taken in order to achieve success. People speak about the five rules to venture, the 10 steps to enrich, the 7 keys to be the best at what you do or how to be the greatest on our street. I wanted to talk about an attitude that is in disuse but is a valuable key for what one wants to undertake to thrive and to the community in general to follow the same path. This may be the most lame speech among all motivational speeches, but someone has to do it.
We live in a selfish society. I think that’s clear, isn’t it? Being selfish is wanting the best (or as much as possible) for his own. I remember the slogan that says:
If I do not care for me, who will care?
However, being selfish tends to negative effects on society. I think that at one end it’s a reason to facilitate corruption, it promotes the growth of crime rates, it is for this reason that the necks of soda bottles are increasingly larger … for consumers to drink more at a time and have to buy more. 🙂 For our own will we would have great jobs and businesses able to sell a lot of and make a lot of money. We would live in a mansion, have several cars, a boat, travel and have much fun. Leisure and indulgence would not be a problem or have limits! Society’s paradigms educate in this sense…
The point is that this lifestyle often has consequences and these consequences usually fall on the subsequent generations.
My generation is suffering the effects of the selfishness of the previous ones. And the generation that is emerging now will suffer even more! Each Portuguese born today inherits an immediate debt of € 18,000. Apart from the debt that he might receive as an inheritance to pay the loan from his parents’ house… If this is not selfishness, tell me what it is!
But just think: We live in a spherical planet that works with several laws, one of which says that everything here is attracted to stay as close to the ground (the law of gravity) and the other says that nothing is produced, nothing is destroyed, everything is transformed (Lavoisier’s law). So when we have a population that is continuously growing (we have reached 7 billion people), I think that living in a selfish society becomes a paradox! It is impossible to accumulate more and more if we need to distribute more and more!
The overall attitude will change if the individual attitude changes…
I was looking for a word to describe the attitude of not being selfish. The dictionary says the opposite of selfish is altruist, but that is not what I’m seeking. An altruist is a person who only seeks the good of others. And we should say that a person is altruistic when he is well, then he can worry about others. The word I was looking for is unselfish! It is not trying to find only his own sake, but also looking for the good of others. It’s compressing in a single word the expression that is already said for many centuries on this planet:
Love your neighbor as yourself.
But how does this happen in practice?
Take the action of venturing as an example:
Portuguese people have to venture, is the alternative they have to being able to generate income.
How does unselfishness aid entrepreneurship?
Firstly, at the definition of the mission itself.
Why does a person undertakes a certain activity? He can do it with the selfish motivation of making money. Money money money. What matters is to be opportunist at all times and not wondering about things like sustainability, customer satisfaction or the consequences of his activities. It is all about thinking of him first and wanting to earn as much as possible in every existing opportunity.
On the other hand, his actions can be undertaken with an unselfish attitude. In this case the entrepreneur will make a question: How do my skills, gifts, talents, training and experience can be used to create quality products and services that can meet the needs those who are around me? It is an attitude of serving.
This is nothing more than going to the essence of marketing. This functional area of business was born to answer this same question.
Second is synergy. I need and want to venture, you need and want to venture… After all there is a significant part of society in the same situation.
A selfish attitude will make us want to pursue our objectives on our own and without anyone’s help so we can keep all the results for us. The problem is that many opportunities are achieved only as a team and alone is complicated to get there..
An unselfish attitude will pose the question: “How can we serve us to each other?” There may be joining efforts and sharing resources. Some opportunities can only be taken in advantage if joining efforts. Two together make more than each one alone … This is called a synergy.
This requires sharing ideas, which is often difficult to do. We tend to keep our ideas to us as if in the intangible format they were worth something and we’re afraid of it to be stolen. The truth is that a stored idea that is never put into practice or is carried out only by one person is worthless or has a very low value.
And finally there is one area where I think this attitude is even more important. It has to do with the financing of entrepreneurial activities. As an entrepreneur, to put my idea to work I need a plot where to plant something, or I need machines, a van, software or anything else that can be translated into money.
With a selfish attitude I’ll think I’m worthy of the resources that I want and I’ll think others have to facilitate it to me. So I will apply for nonrefundable grants because I don’t have to be accountable to anyone. The problem is that these subsidies are running out!
On the other hand, an unselfish attitude leads me to think that if there’s someone willing to help me with what I need, I have to be aware that I will need to compensate this person. We cannot approach people who have the resources with the following thought: “I need something that you have”, but with an attitude of: “I want to bring return on something you have, and if you trust that to me I will work to have a certain return enough to pay me and to pay you.”
If we think of putting ourselves in the shoes of customers, suppliers, investors and even others in the same situation as us, there will be long-term benefits for all. In the ideal situation, the entire society would be unselfish and have their own initiative to facilitate resources to those who need them. As this is scarce, the attitude of each one makes all the difference!