Dear Ian and Wayne,
Please realize that there is a qualitative difference between the 2.
First of all, see this in yourself and then see this in other people. Work with selfish people, that is your best chance of attaining greatness in your life.
It might sounds like a negatively associated word, but there is much more truth to being a ‘selfish’ person. Typically a selfish person has standards, uncompromisingly high personal standards. so they will do what they can within their power to adhere to the standards. More often than not, these individuals know the importance of working with other people to help them maintain these standards. And people around them will enjoy the high standards these selfish people bring about.
Selfish people will appear to make use of other people to get things done, but those people selfish people made use of, also stands to benefit from the collaboration. One cannot contribute effectively to a team unless that individual can effectively contribute to his/ her own cause. And the first step to doing so is to have clear personal standards. And selfishly stick to that.
Selfish people are not the most hardworking people, then again, who wants to be hardworking? Like any lazy person, a selfish person will find the shortest point between point A and point B, because it is often the best way to get things done. The difference is that in the process, a selfish person established a procedure that others can follow, or will be aspired to follow.
A selfish person is often a leader, someone who has an uncompromising opinion on some things. Sometimes, people will get inconvenienced by their selfish standards, but the long-term benefits often outweighs the shortcomings. A selfish person do not aim to please anyone, but will not go our of the way to piss someone off. He will do his own things, so that he /she benefits first, then others. If you don’t happen to benefit from his standards, then that is too bad, next time then.
A selfish person can play well in a team, provided the team’s goals are generally aligned or can help enhance the selfish person’s personal goals. You can expect a selfish person to do a lot for the team quietly and walk away from the glory with a small grin of self-satisfaction. If it so happens that the team’s goals is not aligned, the selfish person will not hesitate to remove himself from the team so that other better fitting individuals can contribute to the team. A selfish person can work alone, but more often than not, he/she do not have to.
Self centred people on the other hand are easy to spot! They usually find the easiest way out, which might appear to be out of the same reason as a selfish person. But people often get sacrificed without an opportunity for recourse in the process. they will find the easy way out, using other people to do so. And when things go wrong, one of the 2 things they will commonly say, “It’s not my fault!” or ‘It’s Tom, Dick and Harry’s fault!” Getting self-centered people to own up for their mistakes will be equivalent to finding that iceberg that sank the Titanic.
Self centred people have a less robust and rigorously tested personal standards, so they like to hide behind ambiguity and thrives in the grey. They are everybody’s friend and at the same time, they feel the loneliness inside of them. They are unable to connect with people, play well in a team because their own internal standards ware wobbly. They cannot attract people to them, because the internal leadership is missing. They seldom stand up to a difficult situation and will be the first to cheap shot in a fight or runway, then blame the other person for it. It might appear that self-centred people wants to be team players, but when it comes to work, they will spend a token effort in the team and when its time to claim the glory, they will be the loudest cheerleader for the team. A self-centred person feared to be alone but will be the last to admit it, he/ she will hide behind a face of bravery.
So when you are wise enough to discern this, find out if you have been selfish or self-centred.