Genuine Interest vs. Selfish Interest vs. Enlightened Self Interest

Do you genuinely care about other people? Or only when they can do something for you?

This topic came up the other day while I was considering my own difficulties in selling my services.  I created my company because I really want to make a difference. I feel like I have a moral obligation to share my knowledge with others because, if you know how to stop bullying, it’s immoral not to share that knowledge with others.

The problem is that it costs money to distribute this knowledge AND, people don’t value what they get for free. I gave away over 13,000 copies of my book. I got zero reviews written from that give away, which likely means, thousands of people downloaded my book with great intentions, but were too busy with life and never got around to reading it and so haven’t benefited from it and my attempt at massive knowledge distribution failed miserably, despite impressive give away numbers.

Asking people to pay for knowledge, on the other hand, makes them value it more and actually learn what you have to teach. Almost all the reviews of my book are from people who actually bought it and so were invested in learning from what I have to teach. The downside is that I reach fewer people that way, but the people I do reach actually take the time to learn. Altruistic intentions aside, what good is mass distribution if the knowledge goes unused and unlearned?

The other reason to charge for my books and programs is that I need the money. I do have bills to pay and even free distribution on the internet costs money (hosting, advertising to let people know your resource exists, etc), not to mention the time required to get this knowledge created, formatted and distributed precludes me from having a regular day job. So I have selfish reasons for wanting to distribute my knowledge in addition to the genuine reasons I have for wanting to distribute it.

The problem is how to balance my selfish reasons (I need the money) with my genuine interest (I want to help as many people as possible).  The solution is obviously enlightened self-interest.   The problem is how to make sure I stay genuinely interested in the people I want to help and prevent myself from drifting into selfishness.  This problem is especially acute when I’m trying to make a sale to a company interested in my workplace bullying programs that is worth a lot of money and that could potentially make a huge difference in my family’s finances.

It’s not easy to do. But paradoxically, I do find that the more I am able to remind myself that I’m offering my programs, not to make money (though that is nice), but to truly help other people, the more successful I am at getting the sale.

Remembering that other people are truly human too? Priceless.

1 comment:

  1. Doh - forgot to mention - here is a free online program for HR professionals on how to create sexual harassment trainings that actually work - if you work, please share this with your HR team and encourage them to take this course and learn what it takes to tackle this problem effectively. And yes, I realize, it's yet another free course, but ... who knows, they may end up hiring my company to provide your company's next harassment training and wouldn't that be nice!


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