Thursday, August 30, 2012

Selfishness vs Selflessness

This has been something that I've been thinking about quite a lot recently. Having to make a decision between something that's more selfish, versus something that's more selfless.

A small example of this was a recent purchase that I was eyeing. The Pintsize, Winslow and Reynardine plushies were on TopatoCo and since HY was coming back to Singapore, I thought I'd get them shipped to him and he could bring them back.

Thing is, the total cost of the three plushies was USD54 and I wasn't too keen on forking out so much money on a couple of soft toys. At that moment, I received a notification from Kiva, a microfinancing site, that said I had USD90 in repayments in my account.

Cha-ching! I could just have withdrawn that money into my Paypal account and used it to buy my plushies! After all, the money in my Kiva account was *my* money and with a few clicks of the button, I could buy what I wanted.

The tradeoff though, was that I wouldn't be helping anyone who needed help this month. Selfishness versus selflessness. I could relend the money and help three others!

The debate went on and on in my head. Buying these plushies would show my support for these web comics! Win-win, right?

Eventually, I decided that I didn't need the plushies and that I could support the web comic artists some other way (ad clicks? Who knows how they make money.) I relent the money on Kiva.

But decisions like these aren't always so easy to make. Sometimes the tradeoffs are much larger or more personal. And it's not always so straightforward either.

At the end of the day, I guess it's like what they say in that serenity prayer. Having the serenity to accept the things one cannot change, courage to chage the things one can, and wisdom to know the difference.

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