Is it better to be more selfless or more selfish? If you’re like most people, you probably treat one of these behaviors as the more preferred way to act. But have you ever considered that in either case, someone gets reciprocally dismissed? Those too selfless can leave others enabled while devaluing themselves; those too selfish can leave others neglected while isolating themselves. Is there a healthy balance . . . perhaps a middle ground?
Like many people, Sarah Shepherd discovered that her desire to lead a good and virtuous life eventually proved too selfless to meet her aims for health, work, and money. And like many people, her selflessness is often contrasted against a standard that this is a better state than selfishness.
However, perhaps both selflessness and selfishness carry the same ailment and cure—that you are always an aspect, never an entity.
In this episode, we’ll find out more about what this means and how considering oneself ‘always an aspect, never an entity’ is a fundamental precept of transactionalism: We are never separate from the environments (or transactions or processes) that we occupy.
Our Guru Talk includes a segment from our 2018 Annual Member Conference in Los Cabos, Mexico which presents a deeper dive into the philosophy that guides this thinking as well as some revelations from the too-selfish end of the selfless-selfish spectrum.
For the past 12 years, Sarah Shepherd’s company, Circuit Rider of Colorado, has served dozens of local special districts, governments, and non-profits, specializing in natural resource conservation with a team-building approach of “Shared Leadership for Local Governments.”
Motivated by the vision of non-violent communities through individual empowerment, Sarah co-founded IMPACT Personal Safety of Colorado (2010) and served as Executive Director until 2016. Sarah remains a board advisor to IMPACT. She has served as President (2014-2016), legislative policy advocate, and member of Board of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault since 2013.
Sarah is an Ariel Fellow with a degree in “The Great Books,” Philosophy and History of Mathematics, from St. John’s College in Santa Fe and post-grad work in Philosophy of Aesthetics from the Marchutz School in Aix-en-Provence, France.
It’s been Sarah’s privilege to study with Influence Ecology since 2012.
Sarah Shepherd on LinkedIn
Suzanne Pool on LinkedIn
David Cottrell on LinkedIn
Transactionalism: An Historical and Interpretive Study by Trevor J Phillips
Transactionalism on Wikipedia