When you think about the virtues you most appreciate about the people in your life, selfishness likely doesn't top the list. Yet, the healthiest, most vibrant people possess a good dose of this often-disdained character trait. That's according to 28-year-old entrepreneur, investor and author Jack Delosa, who dropped out of university at 22 to start his first business. After mastering the ins and outs of business on his own, he founded The Entourage for people who want to learn the fundamentals of business from people who have actually successfully run companies, not professors standing behind lecterns. The Entourage is now Australia's largest educator of entrepreneurs with a global community of more than 80,000 of them. It's also branching into Southeast Asia and in 2018 will be accredited to offer bachelor's degrees in business and entrepreneurship through live workshop environments, online classes and one-on-one mentorships.
Here's why he says selfishness is the key to being the best version of yourself, which can lead to success in business and life.
You need to have something inside to give.
While every human being starts life utterly selfish and unaware of anyone else's needs and desires, many people mature and exist at the other end of the spectrum in a state of perpetual selflessness. But people who constantly give their time, attention and energy to others often burn out or get sick. "Some people then reach a point where they identify that in order to give more to the world they need to have more inside of them–knowledge, experience, insight, love, happiness, all of that sort of stuff," he says. "And the more they look after themselves, the more they can offer to those around them, and the larger the contribution and legacy they can leave for the world at large."
Self-love is not conceit or arrogance.
Rather, it's treating yourself with kindness in the same way you would treat the people you love. For instance, when your best friend makes a mistake would you berate him? Would you constantly remind her what she has yet to achieve? Would you tell someone that others are better, smarter or more successful? Of course not. "Self-love is simply forgiving yourself for the past, being present and grateful for who you are today, and being optimistic for your [future]," he says.
Staying true to your values can be a kind of selfishness.
Delosa in November spent time on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands with the island's owner, Richard Branson. The day Delosa landed on the island the Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo spaceship crashed, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. Branson traveled to California, spent time with the staff and families, comforting them and communicating that the work to make commercial space flight a reality would continue. Then, he returned to Necker Island.
Delosa says Branson explained he did so because good leaders deliver the messages that need to be heard, but then get out of the way so people can do what they do best. "Secondly, he said 'The reason I came back to Necker is I because I told you guys that I would,'" Delosa says. "So it was a lesson in leadership and integrity [about someone who has] the knowledge, experience and insight required to build great businesses and leave a legacy, while also honoring their own personal integrity and their personal values along the way."