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But this worship of selflessness is a mistake: selflessness is not a virtue (a principle defining the action required to achieve values).Quite the contrary, always putting others first destroys values.
To follow the principle of selflessness, you would need to give up all your values: job, clients, food, and the rest.
But life, and business, requires gaining values, not losing them.
They are broken down to us in the acronym ‘LDRSHIP’ which is short for Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage. All of these 7 values coincide with each other, and play an important roll in our Army lives.
We are all taught these 7 Army values repeatedly from day one in the United States Army. These 7 Army Values also play well into life outside the Army in our personal life.
If you give up all your values, you will die, or your company will go out of business. We can’t keep serving others if we are dead or our business is bankrupt, so the recipients of our sacrifice will not benefit from it in the long term.
This possibility has occurred to the philosophers advocating altruism, such as John Stuart Mill, who advised us to take “just enough” for ourselves in order to maintain our strength to keep serving others. When we run a company on the principle of altruism, we minimize the wealth it creates—and eliminate it altogether.Selflessness means giving up—sacrificing—your values for the sake of serving the needs of others.You should forgo a job opportunity—because there is always someone else who needs it more.They do not realize that the true alternative to selflessness is rational selfishness, which rejects any sacrifice and advocates the life-enhancing pursuit and trade of values instead.Third, selflessness has been a dominant moral ideal for millennia, thanks to the above two reasons.You should not attract the new client—because your competitor needs the revenue more.You should not eat that meal—there are others who are hungrier than you.Consider Bill Gates: by running Microsoft and creating wealth, he was benefiting others much more than he ever can through the charity work of the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation.If the selfish pursuit and trade of values (including helping those worthy of your help) is a win-win for everyone, why do people still embrace selflessness as the moral ideal? First, many find the duty to serve others a comforting thought because they lack confidence in their minds’ ability to deal with the challenges life often poses.But when a business fulfills its proper purpose and creates wealth, it benefits not merely its owners but all those with whom it trades: customers, employees, and suppliers.A wealth-creating, profit-seeking company benefits also its competitors by spurring them on to create more wealth themselves through increased efficiency and more innovative products and services. Pursuing self-interest—not selfless serving of others’ needs—is a plus-sum game in which all parties trade value for value and everyone benefits.