Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

A Surprisingly Satisfying Alternative to Self-promotion

It was bound to happen, I suppose. All this talk of platforms and tribe-building finally got to me. I’m sick of it.

Yes, I still believe in sharing messages deserving to be heard, but now I see the unfortunate byproduct of beating this drum. I see the nasty nuisance of incessant me-first mentalities.

And I’m about to quit the Internet because of it.

Self Promo

Photo Credit: Helga Weber via Compfight cc

The timelessness of selfishness

Maybe it’s always existed — this obsession with “me” and “mine” — or maybe I’ve finally tuned into it.

The truth is self-centeredness has always existed; it’s part of human nature to put yourself before others. People don’t always act out of self interest, but they often do.

And now that everyone has a megaphone and a brand and feels like they have something to say, things are getting noisy.

Can you relate?

Maybe you’ve been frustrated with me for doing the same thing. If so, I apologize.

This is tempting (but don’t do it)

The fact is life is hard, and it can be tempting to look out only for Numero Uno. But that kind of thinking can also get exhausting. Who wants to only help themselves? It’s often an exercise in futility.

As I’ve said before, we find our purpose in life not by staring at the mirror but by looking out the window.

In this competitive world, we can give into the temptation to seek first our own desires and put other people second. It’s quite easy (and normal). But in doing so, we miss out on a beautiful, satisfying part of life.

What we miss is something so simple that we often neglect it or downright forget to do it. So… what is it?

Helping people.

That’s it. Just reaching out and serving someone without agenda or hidden motive. Just. To. Help. To see someone else’s dream come true. It can be a lot more fun than tweeting out yet another one of your articles or trying to earn one more pat on the back.

The benefits of being generous

Here’s what happens when we promote others instead of self:

  1. We earn trust. People like people who care about other people. So the irony is the more generous you are, the less selfish you have to be.
  2. We are humbled. Often, in looking at what other people are doing, I realize my own work isn’t as good as I thought. Promoting others helps me get better.
  3. We feel good. Knowing we did the right thing goes a lot further than you might think. It can cure creative blocks and rejuvenate a tired soul. Plus, it’s quite a rush.

Are you tired of all the self-promotion? Try being counter-cultural. Try serving someone else for a change. It may be all you need to get refreshed.

What do you think about self-promotion and helping others? What does this mean for you? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • S V Divvaakar

    Hi Jeff, I’ve been following your posts with interest. This one certainly inspires but also presumes that one has matured , evolved to be able to feel the altruistic streak. I completely agree, self promotion can tend to get very artificial beyond a point. Keep the good work going. May the tribe grow!

    • John Hanright

      I think one mistake often made is that of blending altruism with cooperation and collaboration. The two are very distinct and separate, although they are not mutually exclusive. We can work to put your message, view, product, or creation by collaborating with others with the same or similar interests. In the same way, we can, and should, show altruism, closely related to compassion or charity, every day, regardless of circumstance (i.e. the homeless man or woman on the curb, a person literally trading work for food and water). I see some YouTubers in positions of influence and sway and just sit back in wonder. Instead of or along with asking for people to “Like, Comment, and Subscribe” and buy their “merch”, why wouldn’t they ask the people (i.e. the viewer, who has contributed largely to their success) what their own aspirations, dreams, passions, and ideas are? Just a thought.

  • Kathy

    I realized a month ago I don’t want an audience. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but the amount of work involved was more than I was willing to give. I want to experience my life, not have it analyzed by the world. I hope you find the balance you seek.

  • Shiryn

    Hi Jeff, I was always shy person all my life, minimizing my worth. It was going on and on and on, untill I got very bad experience from subscribing to some Internet course. I always thought that people who put themselves as a guru on Internet have some realization of truth and have something important to say if they charge thousands dollars for that. But after subscribing and going through such a course, I see that people who are on ego trip and very immature in their awareness put themselves as a Guru on Internet. Of course, at the end I told her that she is faking and I lost my money. But the result of this is I see that I should not put myself less than all these Gurus. They are not better than me, rather I underestimated myself. I went through so much things in life, but was humble enough to look for other Gurus to learn from. But actually what I found out is Guru is inside me.
    And it’s my duty to stand up and make my voice loud to say the truth. And give a help for those who can listen. Thanks. Shiryn

  • semika

    this is the real truth.now a days all of us self promote ourselves and in the process we hurt others ,not caring for their feelings.so bitter and we need to respect others as well,need to think that not everyone can co exist if we keep on thinking of ourselves only.

  • It’s sad that with so much information at our fingertips, a smaller world thanks to the internet that it’s the same mindset everywhere, the same bog-standard blah-blah. Everyone is saying something, but nobody is listening. What happened to originality?

  • Charlie Solano

    Internet is made to help people and self promotion good at times but our main motive should provide good info to others.

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  • This is one of the key reasons I stopped reading Michael Hyatt – I like him, but it is just so tiring to be hearing ways to be me-focused. Me me me me – sick of that. Thanks for this reminder.

    • Hm. Well, I don’t know about that. Mike is a friend and one of the most generous, helpful people I know.

      • Walter

        I wasn’t referring to Mike, but rather, his blog. As I said, I like Mike. Just wish his blog was more other focused and had more depth. Mike has a lot more to offer because of his experience and wisdom. I feel like it is sound bites and tended to make me hyper focus on myself. But I totally agree about Mike himself.

  • Another great post!