When Is Rational Self-Interest not Selfish?

Rational Self-Interest

I was sitting on a tarmac recently (I was actually in a plane), attentively listening to the flight attendants as they mimed the safety protocols in sync with the disembodied voice vibrating through the plane. They ended the ‘Sudden Loss of Cabin Pressure‘ section as they always do, “If you are travelling with children, secure your oxygen mask first, then assist your child.”

I’ve been flying commercial flights for 35 years and I’m quite sure that I’ve heard some variation of those words on every flight that I’ve been on. Of course it’s logical and makes common sense: you need to put your mask on first so you don’t pass out while you’re fumbling around trying to help your child. Once your mask is secure, you’ll be in a far better position to help your child and anyone else that needs it.

This act of helping your self first is not, as it may seem at first, selfish. Rather, it is actually an example of a form of Rational Self-Interest, originally identified as such by Ayn Rand.

This applies to many areas of our lives. I’ve seen many examples of people who give so much of themselves to others that they neglect their own needs, and become sick, or stressed out, or cynical,

It is important to remember, especially if we are the type that is inclined to help others without regard to our selves, that by taking care of ourselves, we will have much more to give to others and will ultimately last longer, achieve more, and be of greater service to others.

The attached video link is an entertaining presentation of the airline safety protocols that includes the appeal to Rational Self Interest near the end.

#AynRand #RationalSelfInterest #Achievement Protocol

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