Who among us has the strength to oppose petty egoism, those petty good feelings, pity and remorse?”

Ivan Turgenev, Novelist

Pros and Cons of Egoism

advantages and disadvantages of egoism

Egoism is quite widespread in our nowadays society. Many people just take care of themselves and do no longer care about others anymore.

Even though egoism can lead to many problems, it also implies some benefits.

In this article, the pros and cons of egoism are examined in detail.

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Advantages of Egoism

  1. Egoism can maximize your chances for financial success
  2. Egoism can help you to reach your goals sooner
  3. Can help to increase your productivity
  4. Egoism may raise the overall awareness of people
  5. Promotions may become more likely
  6. May improve your motivation to work on yourself
  7. You can figure out your strengths and weaknesses
  8. People would learn to provide for themselves
  9. People may gain a higher level of confidence
  10. Acting egotistic on an individual basis may even benefit our society

Egoism can maximize your chances for financial success

One important advantage of egoism is that it can help you to maximize your overall chances for financial success in life. If you always only take care of your goals and neglect everyone else, chances are that you will be able to focus on your tasks as best as possible, which will substantially increase the chances to be financially successful.

This is especially true if you own your own business. In such a case, it is crucial that you focus on yourself and work harder than the competition. In some cases, also only a few businesses will survive in the long run and if you want to be one of them, you have to be ruthless and act in an egotistic manner, even if this means that other businesses will go insolvent.

Egoism can help you to reach your goals sooner

Egoism will not only increase your chances for financial success, it will also give you the opportunity to reach your goals much sooner. If you always have to take care of others, you will have to spend plenty of time on things which actually don’t bring you closer to your goals in life. You will improve the lives of other people, yet you will miss the opportunity to invest this time into yourself.

Hence, it will take much longer until you fulfill your own goals and dreams. In contrast, if you act in an egotistic manner, you will likely reach your goals much sooner since you can invest all the time you have into yourself and will become good at things much faster.

Can help to increase your productivity

Another benefit of egoism is that it can significantly improve your overall productivity. If you can focus on yourself, you will notice that you get much more done each day compared to a state where you will get distracted by others all day long.

Hence, if you want to maximize your productivity, you have to get to a mental state where no outside forces can bother you and where you focus solely on the task you carry out right now.

Consequently, if you really want to use your time as efficiently as possible, egoism may also help you quite a lot in this regard.

Egoism may raise the overall awareness of people

Many people also sleepwalk through life and behave more like machines than like humans. They get up in the morning, shower, go to the workplace, come home tired, eat, sleep and repeat this sad circle. Many people don’t even realize that this is not the only way to live and I bet many people would be far better off doing other things they like more.

However, many people hate their jobs, but still continue to work in those jobs since they think that is simply the right way to go. Egoism can help you to get out of this sad routine since it may give you the strength to no longer care about social norms anymore and to do what’s best and most joyful for you instead.

Therefore, egoism can also help to increase the overall awareness of people regarding what they really want to do with their lives and let people act according to that instead of complying with rather useless social norms.

Promotions may become more likely

If you work in the corporate world, egoism can also help you to get promoted sooner. You need a certain level of assertiveness if you want to get promoted in a corporation on a regular basis. If you are too soft and care too much about others, chances are that your colleagues will be promoted instead of you if they know how the corporate game works.

Consequently, if you want to maximize your chances for job promotions, you may want to focus on yourself first and act in a rather egotistic manner.

May improve your motivation to work on yourself

Egoism will lead you to a state where you do no longer care about others too much. Hence, since you will spend so much time on your own and use your time solely to accomplish your goals, you will also develop a high level of motivation to work on yourself.

Chances are that you will use every opportunity to become better since you will be your own mental point of origin and improving yourself will become a main priority for you.

In turn, if you continue to improve your skills, chances are that you will become quite good at many things pretty soon.

You can figure out your strengths and weaknesses

Another upside of egoism is that it can also help you to figure out who you really are. Many people don’t even know what they really want in life. They also often have no clue regarding what they are good at and where they can improve quite a lot.

Since you will spend plenty of time on your own and focus on yourself, you will be able to  better understand your strengths and weaknesses and once you understand where you are really good, you can focus on those areas and get assistance for things you have no talent at all.

People would learn to provide for themselves

Throughout the history of mankind, people had to take care of themselves. Our welfare state is a quite young concept. A few centuries ago, nobody had social security, health insurance and so on. People had to look after themselves and had to work hard in order to provide for themselves.

Even though it should not be the goal to get back to the conditions that had been present in the Middle-Ages, people should not entirely lose the inner motivation to take care of themselves.

Instead, people should make sure that they don’t need the support of anyone to accomplish their goals and therefore, a certain level of egoism can even be beneficial for your society as a whole.

People may gain a higher level of confidence

Egoism can also help people to become more confident. If people focus on themselves, they have a higher chance to improve at things in a rather short period of time. In turn, when people see those improvements, they gain trust in their abilities and in the long run, people will become more confident, which is crucial to succeeding in various parts of our daily life.

Acting egotistic on an individual basis may even benefit our society

There is also a scientific concept that claims that when everyone acts in an egotistic manner, our society would even benefit from it since this would lead to the most efficient economic outcome for all of us in the long run. Hence, individual egoism may also profit everyone of us, at least in a theoretical framework.

Disadvantages of Egoism

  1. You may lose many friends if you are too egoistic
  2. Conflicts with your family
  3. People may not help you in difficult times of your life
  4. Egoism may lead to loneliness
  5. You may not find a purpose in life
  6. Can hurt the social cohesion in our society
  7. We would lose what makes us human
  8. Egoism may not be mentally healthy
  9. You may develop a lack of empathy towards others
  10. Quality of group work would suffer
  11. Can lead to a state with insufficient welfare
  12. Discrimination of minorities
  13. Helping others can make us happy
  14. Your partner may leave you sooner or later
  15. Egoism can lead to serious pollution
  16. Short-term gains vs. long-term losses
  17. Egoism can contribute to many environmental problems
  18. May contribute to global poverty
  19. Egoism may not be sustainable in the long run

You may lose many friends if you are too egoistic

Apart from the several benefits of egoism, there are also many problems related to this concept. One disadvantage of egoism is that you will likely lose many friends over time.

In fact, if you spend your time alone and just work for projects that benefit you instead of helping out your friends in difficult situations of their lives, chances are that your friends may no longer want to spend time with you in the long run.

Therefore, if you want to keep your friends around you, you should make sure to keep your level of egoism at bay.

Conflicts with your family

Egoism can also be rather harmful to the relationship between you and your family. Quite often, family members will ask you for support and if you are not willing to help them since you currently want to spend your time on your own projects, chances are that your family members will become quite annoyed with you over time.

In the long run, you may also lose the connection to your family if you behave too egoistic since your family may simply no longer want to care about you if you don’t provide any value for them.

People may not help you in difficult times of your life

In general, if you behave too egoistic on a regular basis, people will also no longer help you out in case you urgently need them. For instance, if you never helped people when they had to move to a new home, chances are that you will also not get any support in return.

There are various other occasions where you might need the help of others and if you behaved too egoistical in the past, chances are that people will no longer be there for you in times you would need them most.

Egoism may lead to loneliness

Another problem of egoism is that it might lead to significant loneliness. Over time, many people will simply no longer want to hang out with you since people feel when you just care about your own goals in life.

Hence, if you are a person who loves company and needs to be surrounded by other human beings on a regular basis, chances are that you should limit your level of egoism to a reasonable level so that people still like to hang out with you.

You may not find a purpose in life

Even though you might have many goals you want to reach in your life, egoism may make it hard for you to find your true path and purpose in life. In my opinion, egoism will lead you to a state where you can be financially successful, yet you will often lack real joy in your life since you will not be able to share your success with others.

In fact, helping people out in difficult situations of their lives can really give humans to find a purpose in life and if you don’t help people at all due to egoistic motives, you may miss out on an important chance to find true meaning in life.

Can hurt the social cohesion in our society

Egoism can also lead to a rather unhealthy state in our society where nobody cares about each other anymore. If everyone behaves in a fully egotistic manner, chances are that people will spend all their time on their own things and if someone needs help, others will likely not be willing to help him or her.

Do we really want this kind of society? I don’t think so. Hence, we should limit our level of egoism to a certain level so that we still have time left to help each other out in case of emergency.

We would lose what makes us human

In fact, egoism can also lead to a state where we lose the features which make us human. As humans, we should have an inner motivation to support each other and to back each other in case of problems.

However, if everyone acts in an egotistic manner, we will no longer support each other and therefore, we will lose part of what makes us human.

Egoism may not be mentally healthy

Since egoism can lead to significant loneliness and social isolation, it will likely not be healthy for most people in the long run. Humans are social creatures and if we solely focus on ourselves instead of hanging out with other people, chances are that we will suffer from serious mental illness in the long run.

Thus, although you might have many important things which you have to take care of, make sure that you spend some time with other people and help them out in order to stay mentally healthy in the long run.

You may develop a lack of empathy towards others

Another downside of egoism is that you may also lose empathy for others. Empathy is crucial in order to assure a working society. Yet, through excessive levels of egoism, there may be a serious lack of empathy in the long run. In turn, people will likely no longer care about the feelings of others and our social cohesion will fall apart sooner or later.

Quality of group work would suffer

If you have a job in a big corporation, chances are that you will also have to work in groups from time to time in order to make your projects successful. However, if you are too egotistic, your colleagues will notice this quite soon and may no longer be willing to work with you.

Therefore, if you want to be successful at projects which require plenty of teamwork, you may want to lower your level of egoism to a reasonable level.

Can lead to a state with insufficient welfare

Egoism may also lead to a state where there will only be insufficient welfare, social security and also a significant lack of health insurance. If people behave quite egoistic, they will no longer care about others and therefore, many people will no longer be willing to pay taxes for welfare projects of several sorts.

In turn, the poorest among us who can’t themselves may greatly suffer and may even die since they might not get sufficient welfare support anymore.

Discrimination of minorities

If people act in an egoistic manner, chances are that this may also lead to serious discrimination of minorities. Chances are that the majority of the population will simply set their agenda and if this agenda contradicts with the preferences and wishes of minorities, chances are that those wishes of minorities will simply be neglected.

Helping others can make us happy

We should never forget that helping out others can also lead to plenty of joy for ourselves. We as humans are designed to help out each other and if you help someone, chances are that you will be quite happy about it since you feel that you did something important.

Hence, if you behave in a solely egoistic manner and don’t help out others from time to time, chances are that you will miss out on a great opportunity to accomplish real happiness in your life.

Your partner may leave you sooner or later

Egoism is not only poison for our society, it can also lead you to a state where your spouse may no longer want to stay with you. In fact, many relationships end due to the fact that one partner acts too egoistic. Therefore, if you want to stay with your partner for a quite long time, chances are that you may want to limit your level of egoism.

Egoism can lead to serious pollution

Since egoism also implies that people act in their own interest instead of caring about others, it can also lead to a state of serious global pollution.

If everyone only cares about his or her own goals, chances are that people will become less likely to reduce their waste production, to separate their waste, to avoid using their car and so on.

In turn, pollution levels of various sorts would increase dramatically, which may hurt all of us in the long run.

Short-term gains vs. long-term losses

While egoism provides us with the opportunity for many short-term gains, it will quite often lead to serious long-term losses. For instance, if you act in an egoistic manner, you will reach some of your goals in life sooner.

However, you will lose many important connections, which could have helped you out in the long run. Hence, egoism is often a short-term game that leads to more harm than good in the long run.

Egoism can contribute to many environmental problems

If you only care about yourself, chances are that you will also no longer care about our environment. In turn, we as humanity may no longer be able to deal with our environmental problems in a reasonable and effective manner. In the long run, this can lead to quite unpleasant outcomes of many sorts.

May contribute to global poverty

Egoism can also lead to serious global poverty. If people only care about themselves, the rich will no longer feel any obligation to give something back to the poorest among us and therefore, people in poor countries may be left behind. Hence, also from a global social development perspective, egoism should be avoided at all costs.

Egoism may not be sustainable in the long run

Egoism is a concept that can work in the short run, yet it will often not work out in the long run and therefore, I highly recommend that we all behave in a more social manner in order to make the world a better place for everyone of us in the long run.

Top 10 Egoism Pros & Cons – Summary List

Egoism ProsEgoism Cons
Egoism may improve your financial prospectsEgoism can lead to social isolation
Can help you with promotionsYour friends may leave you
Egoism can help you in the short runYou may lose your partner
Egoism may help you to reach your goalsEgoism can make you unhappy
You will focus on yourselfEgoism can hurt social cohesion
You will figure out what you really wantCan lead to serious problems in the long run
You will have more time to work on yourselfEgoism may lead to a lack of empathy
People may learn to provide for themselvesEgoism can hurt minorities
Higher level of confidenceEgoism can lead to mental problems
Egotism may raise the awareness of peopleCan lead to loneliness

Is Egoism Good or Bad?

As we have seen before, there are many important advantages and disadvantages of egoism. In my opinion, the cons of egoism outweigh the pros from a long-term perspective and in order to ensure a livable future for the next generations, we should limit our level of egoism quite a lot and help each other out from time to time. Only then will it be possible to assure a peaceful and empathic society on a global scale.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egoism

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/egoism/

https://iep.utm.edu/egoism/

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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