Reflections on The Art of Selfishness by David Seabury

Reflections on The Art of Selfishness by David Seabury

Fill your life with confidence and success!

I recently came across this very interesting book thanks to the inimitable Derek Sivers. I was intrigued at the title, and quickly googled it and downloaded a copy. I think it may be out of print as a book now.

Here is the back cover blurb:

ARE YOU SHOCKED BY SELFISHNESS? Then you are just the person who can most benefit from mastering the art of selfishness – because you probably allow yourself to be made the victim of people who use the word “selfish” as a weapon to compel you to do what they want…

~ The Art of Selfishness by David Seabury, Back Cover

The inside cover continues exaltingly with:


This book will help you to know what to do when people create “obligations” and try to force them onto you.

~ The Art of Selfishness by David Seabury, Inside Front Cover

Women, particularly are affected by the people pleasing dynamic, as many of us have been primed from an early age that we are the ones who serve: cook, clean, do laundry, and in the 21st century, do all this at the same time as work a job and look after the kids. Superwomen? Or just people who have not yet learned to be selfish enough?

It is my firm belief that each and every one of us has a calling in life.

We were born for a reason, and our inner self knows this reason. We are called through our joy to some particular activity or domain. And when we do not respond to that call we become depressed or upset, and we may not even know why.

There are many reasons why you may dim your full light as an adult. You may have had some traumatic experiences in childhood that made you retreat into yourself and decide that it was too dangerous to really be who you truly are. Shame is something that needs to be looked at and investigated. There is no shame in recognising that you hold shame in some part of your being, but you do need to fully face it and fully accept it in order to be able to let it go.

I recognised a kind of whirlpool of shame in my own being, and wrote a song, Temple in the Rain, in Bali a few years back, in part to bring to light and exorcise my own shame. In the end, it doesn’t matter too much why it is there and where it came from, just that you are able to find a way to let it go. The Temple in the song, is the love of a friend, who in fully seeing me and receiving me, helped me to let this shame go.

Essentially, if you are not Selfish, in the way that this book advocates, you will not be embodying your truest self, and therefore others will not benefit fully from the gifts you have come here to give. This way of turning it around and seeing that your hiding of your full self is actually depriving others of your light and your gifts, is a good way to get over self-consciousness. It’s not about you, per se, it’s about sharing who you are.

Another way of looking at this that I like is that your gifts are not your own – they were given to you – for you to give to others. And it is in the act of giving that your gifts fully come into their own. And like love, the more you share of your natural gifts and talents, the more they grow.

Your ideas, for whatever it is: a family, a new house, an adventure, a new business, a new job – are your inspiration, your magic. 

Ideas are magical. They lurk in the strangest places, and often the simplest of them can transform all life around them. Benjamin Franklin sent up a kite; a French painter thought it might be nice if he could capture on paper the picture his eye could see; Einstein had the curious notion that light somehow was bent as it travelled through space – and the lives of untold millions were each affected personally by these ideas as if someone had reached out and touched them directly.

~ The Art of Selfishness by David Seabury, Forward

They come from who knows where because they are the whisperings of your he(art).

They are directing you to your next incarnation.

How will you grow and develop once you decide to do that thing?

How will you feel when you take the first step to making it happen?

Who will the next version of you be?

The magical thing is that through fully embodying our ideas, through acting on our intuition, those whisperings of our he(art), we will always enrich the lives of others as well as our own. One great example of this is the as yet little known English / Australian writer and teacher Mary Bennett, who my mother, Sue Taffe has recently written a book about. Aptly titled ‘A White Hot Flame’, Mary used her passion for writing to write many letters, articles and protest statements to make Australians aware of the treatment of the Aboriginal people. Her passion for writing was fuelled by her passion for justice for the native people of Australia. She was able to fully embody both and have a great impact on many lucky people who were in her orbit.

A poet like Emily Dickinson, who is essentially – writing only for herself (most artists create for an audience of one) – also through a dedication to her inner voice impacted the lives of millions, even though in her own lifetime she was largely unknown. Her dedication to excavating her own well of poems and retrieving so many gems, meant that after her death millions of readers can continue to enjoy the beauty and depth of her words.

The great thing about this Art of Selfishness book is that it uses case studies drawn from the psychology practice of the author to illustrate how to be more selfish and live a fulfilled life. 

Occupy Yourself

For me a big part of this Art of Selfishness is really occupying yourself.

You remember the Occupy movement a few years back that was a response to the American government bailouts of big banks at the expense of honest citizens who had been scammed out of their houses?

So, like Occupy Wall Street – is about taking back the power from the immensely powerful banks and the corporate governments who back them up, Occupy Yourself is about taking back your own power by sitting deeply within your own being.

Because you cannot hear that soft sweet, loving inner voice of your intuition if you are running from yourself: You really need to have an intimate and a deep relationship with yourself first, which is why meditation helps so much. 

Leave a reply