“It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.”

Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

I read a book called “How to Win Friends and Influence People” 25 years ago because I was told to. I had no interest in the subject matter. It was an assignment.

I was 16 and cared only of one thing…my own interests.

I’m re-reading that book today and have had several small epiphanies as I have progressed through about half the book.

Over the course of my 41 years, I have realized this; I have to be READY for the information or learning experience that presents itself to me.

If certain, potentially wonderful information doesn’t meet me where I currently am, it’s lost.

1*oXOTdkhdhpfVGQpK2jukag - How to be Selfish, the selfless way

But very often, over the course of time, that information will resurface and BAM! I’m stopped in my tracks by the relevance it has to my experiences and my world view.

The SAME information with a wildly different impact.

One of those moments came when reading and really trying to understand the aforementioned quote. Here it is again.

“It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.”

I have to confess, this meant nothing to me and was almost insulted when I read it the first time. Coming from an objectivist philosophical background, where strict individualism is championed, my main and only responsibility, I thought, was to myself.

That responsibility was realizing and nurturing my innate abilities and developing and honing the best Matt Pirtle that was possible. I had a responsibility to do this. A covenant with myself. No one but myself.

And I believed everyone else had this responsibility too.

So, I had NO responsibility to them.

And, they had NO claim on me.

I thought that if everyone did this everyone would be happy. Or at least, I would be.

Only, I wasn’t.

There is a key human component left out of this equation… genuine care for the welfare of other human beings.

Developing a keen focus on only yourself and your personal success may improve your status, but it will not improve your contentment. It may improve your bank account, but it will not fill your soul.

Is this the secret to happiness? I think for me it has a large part to do with it.

Now, and for almost 16 years, I have the opportunity to help change folks lives. Being in the fitness industry as my profession means it’s my job to help, but there is extreme satisfaction in doing that. It’s a chance to focus on somebody’s else’s happiness every day.

This is not intended to be a guideline for other peoples lives. This is just my account of my own experiences and life reflections.

I still believe in the responsibility to yourself to become your best you without relying on or expecting help.

But along the way I got help nonetheless, and it carried me in certain phases of my life.

It’s time to pay it back.

Be driven. Be responsible. Be compassionate. Be human.

It’s your turn.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

Emergefitnesstraining.com

Matt@emergefitnesstraining.com