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Being selfish until generosity is possible

By Brandon Luke / January 18, 2016

“Sometimes the hardest thing, and the right thing, are the same.”

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If I told you being selfish now is necessary to be generous in the future, how would you react ?

I have observed that most people I share this with can’t wrap their head around it. They feel that they must help friends and family at all costs, even when being the savior means dragging their own lives down the toilet too.

Most everyone has those friends and family that are in a constant state of disaster, they just can’t seem to get it right, relationships going bad, money problems, not being able to hold a job, or anything else on the long list of perpetual drama.

Then on the other end of the scale we have “the good friend” (or family member) this is the person who has their life fairly squared away, and they always feel the need to help others through their constant drama and distress. They pride themselves on being “the one” someone can turn to for help no matter what the situation.

Which one are you?

I am going to share a story of an individual that I know personally. She is in the real estate industry, and generally a good person. She fits into the second category that I described above.

As an individual she has two issues/goals

1. Her real estate license expired because of a training oversight, this will cost less than 2k to reinstate

2. She wants to covert her rental properties over to assisted care homes for seniors since the cash flow will be significantly higher than a normal tenant.

Seems simple enough right?


She has been unable to do this for 1 simple reason. She wants to save the day for those around her, before she has solid ground to stand on, and she is swirling around the toilet bowl, just waiting on the next disaster that will send her down the drain.

1. Her brother has an ongoing custody fight with an out of state ex, and she is supplying the cash for the lawyer, among other expenses. Lawyers are not cheap, and the stress of being involved in a situation like this is mentally taxing.

2. A tenant she tried to help out is now not paying rent, refuses to move out, and is claiming the house as his own. There is no lease in place, and a long court process to evict is in progress. This is another drain on mental and monetary resources.

3. A handyman she wanted to help out and provide some work to, is now holding her expensive chainsaw hostage in an attempt to get a date. This isn’t that big of an issue, but I decided to throw it in just because I find it funny. Never take people on dating sites seriously, or you will end up with a hostage chainsaw.

While this is not an all-inclusive list of the shenanigans going on, I feel that they are a good example of how being selfish first will allow for generosity later.

My realtor friend has the ability to generate a great amount of cash flow through real estate commissions, but she chose to FIRST funnel her cash to her brothers’ legal bills to continue the battle. This put her bank account in a dire situation.

How much could she have helped her brother if she would have first put her money into reinstating the real estate license, and focusing all her energy and attention into selling 20 houses in 6 months?

To keep things simple let’s say she was able to generate a $5,000 commission for every one of the houses she sold, making 100,000 in commissions, and after uncle same gets his cut she is left with around 60-70k.(real estate commissions are more complex, this is just for example, but a hard working experienced agent can easily generate this amount of cash easily)

So just one act of being selfish, (investing her cash and attention into a real estate license before her brother) would have spawned more than enough cash to eliminate all her family troubles, AND enough to purchase a new chainsaw so that she would not have to deal with a creepy landscaper she met on a dating website.

As you can see, I’m not advocating leaving your friends and family high and dry, but you must have the courage, and discipline to invest in yourself first. Know that the troubles of others have come about because of the choices they have made. Let them live with their choices, and fight their own battles. Sometimes learning the hard way is the best lesson of all.

I hope this example helps you focus your time and energy in a more effective way. Have the courage to say no to friends, and family so that in the future you can help them even more.

What one thing can you be selfish with today that will help you be more generous tomorrow? Share below in the comments.
About the author

Brandon Luke

Brandon Luke is a U.S. Army veteran, serial entrepreneur, real estate investor, and author who helps individuals improve their Health, Wealth, Love, and happiness though daily incremental improvement in each area.

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