4 ways selflessness transforms families, communities and workplaces

Being selfless is a powerful way to change the world around you

There’s so much in our world today that seems to reward a focus on ourselves, whether it’s likes for our selfies, heart emojis for our Instagram stories or videos that go viral. But the benefits of selflessness go far beyond the momentary happiness we might get from online attention. And the results of selflessness can be seen and felt by our families, our coworkers and our communities.

And to be honest, it will feel good to you, too.

So how, exactly does selflessness transform the people and places around us, including where we work and live? Here are four ways.

1. Teamwork makes the dream work

How is the atmosphere at your workplace? Is there a lot of unhealthy competition, maybe some backstabbing and gossip? When you focus on selflessly supporting the team at work rather than getting ahead yourself, the collective group rises together. This can improve productivity, reduce frustrations and speed innovation at the office because everyone is working together toward a common goal. In the end, when you find you need someone to give you a helping hand, you can rest assured they’ll be there for you, because you had their back.

2. Selflessness is a core trait of effective leaders

When you bring selflessness to the workplace and into the community, the pressure to get the standard rewards for climbing the corporate ladder dissipate. Instead, you have the joy of watching others thrive with your help and potential mentorship. When others see how hard you work for the whole group, it builds trust. Selflessness is an important leadership quality, so, who knows? You might just get that promotion or get hired at that awesome organization, just for doing the opposite of looking out for #1.

3. Selflessness builds communities

When you serve in your community, you help lay the foundation for a strong, vibrant future. Whether you are volunteering at sunrise to pass out water at the local road race fundraiser, serving as a tutor to someone who is struggling in school or giving generously and anonymously to those in need, you have a direct impact where you live. That impact lasts for years to come. So when that local park is built, or the soup kitchen expands, or the student you helped graduates, you can feel good knowing you played an essential role in it.

4. Selflessness strengthens relationships

Selfishness has a toxic influence in our homes. It can cause conflict, spur arguments and destroy families. It can erode the trust and love in a relationship. And it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of fighting for what is best for yourself—because so often we are told that our happiness as an individual is what’s most important.

But, is it?

When we serve others in our home selflessly, maybe by offering to do chores that aren’t ours to do, by taking care of our pets with love and compassion, by caring for a sick sister or making dinner so mom gets the night off, it can shift an entire family dynamic. Suddenly, those who feel they’re carrying too much of the burden realize they’re not alone. Those who are suffering with illness can take the time they need to heal. Those who need a listening ear, know they can trust you with the worries that weight them down and that you will selflessly take the time to listen.

Selflessness: how you can create a better world

There’s a lot of temptation to be selfish in this world—to take what we want when we want it and not give a thought to the impact it might have on anyone else. But being selfish is an empty and lonely road. On the other hand, selflessness enables you to support and strengthen the people and places around you, creating a seismic shift toward goodness in all aspects of your life. In the end, you’ll have stronger relationships, better communities, helpful and happy teammates and a brighter collective future.