Selfish to Selfless

Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life's deepest joy: true fulfillment.
-Anthony Robbins

There was a time in my life when my thoughts and motivations centered on getting high. I was a junkie. Most of my energy and efforts were spent trying to fulfill my immediate desires. I took what I could get from the world and offered little or nothing in return.

Consequently, I lived in misery. My obsession to fulfill my desires with immediate bliss did nothing but drain happiness and bliss from my life. My family and friends who loved me found that their love was squandered.

Anyone who has lived with or loved an active addict knows that addiction brings nothing but pain and misery for everyone in or near the addicts path. Addiction is a void that consumes everything it touches.

The addict lives on the extreme selfish end of a continuum between selfishness and selflessness. Consequently, they live in misery and bring misery to anyone they touch.

On the other end of this continuum are those who live in service to others: those who give what they can give and ask for little or nothing in return. People who spend their energy and efforts letting go of their own desires are the ones who find themselves living in bliss.

Most of us live somewhere in between these extremes. We fit giving and service into our lives wherever we can, and we spend the rest of our time chasing our desires. Yet, the irony applies to us all. Just as the miserable drug addict feebly chases pleasure, the more we focus and obsess over our desires, the more misery we find in our lives. And, as we let go of our desires and offer ourselves in selfless service to others and to our God, the more pleasure and bliss we find in our lives.

My path through drug addiction to a meaningful life of spiritual growth has made this dichotomy clear. Being of service to others is one of the most significant actions I can take to not only relinquish the pain and misery of addiction, but also to bring joy and meaning to my life that surpasses anything that I would have every thought possible.

The path of selfishness is anything but self-serving. Rather, it leads to self-loathing, which leads to self-destruction and desperation, which in turn, leads to deeper selfishness.

The path of selflessness is not sacrificial. It is the path of fulfillment and bliss.

About the author


I am Danny Kohn, writer and designer for this site and owner, software engineer and consultant for Inspirations Software Design. My three greatest passions in life are sharing time with my family, software design and sharing inspiration with others. I have the incredible privilege of being able to spend a significant amount of time every day doing each of those three things. I am a single father of Tristen, our 6 year old son. It has been such an incredible joy to watch him grow up and learn so much. Everything he does and says overwhelms me with adoration. We have a wonderful evening ritual of reading books together in a beanbag chair. Nearly every night, we have a laughing attack together. I smile and giggle constantly in his presence and feel truly inspired.

Permanent link to this article: http://beinspiredeveryday.com/2008/12/09/selfish-to-selfless/


  1. Faith Hoffen says:

    Wow, that is right on! Keep up the good work!

    Faith Hoffen

  2. Christopher says:

    Thank you for talking about your drug addiction in the hopes that others can benefit from your sharing. Keep it up and here is toward a more selfless future.

  3. Becky says:

    I have recently begun on my journey to true selflessness. I thank the universe every night for three things, and try every day to do at least one nice thing for someone, expecting nothing in return.

    I suffer from depression, so being selfish comes with the disease, but I find that I am much happier and can deal with the little setbacks a lot easier when I simply give service to others on a daily basis.

    Thanks for the post. :)

  4. Ola says:

    I can relate with your experiences and the joy of your new life. I have spent the greater part of my life on the selfish end of the continuum and the transition to a selfless living has been tough to put it mildly. Recently, I started feeling some extraordinay sense of joy, peace and contentment, often in a rush and only to disappear and return later. This is good as it marks a positive shift in my mind and chiefly my attitude toward others and myself. It has been very tough, at times impossible but my faith in Jesus and Bible teachings has kept me up even when at my lowest. I think I am coming out of the woods, and I pray for peace for anyone earnestly looking for it.

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