People are selfish. But, being selfish, and aware of one’s own selfishness, is the key to a thriving society.

When on an airplane, they tell you that if the oxygen masks come down, always put your own on before you help the person next to you. This is a great metaphor for life.

Before we can be at all helpful or useful to others, we have to have our own house in order. People need to be grounded, satisfied with who they are and what they’re doing with their life before they can start helping others.

People love to help others. It’s human nature to want to help others.

Some see helping others as an altruistic and selfless act, while I see helping others as a selfish act. We help others because it makes us feel good. Sure, when you do something for someone else, they reap the benefits of your aid. But at the same time, you also reap the benefits of the good feelings that accompany the good deed.

I think selfishness is good because by seeking out the good feelings that go with helping others, we’re more prone to charity – charity from which everyone enjoys the benefits.

Some misinterpret selfishness as meaning one can only advance at the expense of the rest of society. But you can become a wealthy success without negatively affecting anyone along the way. One person’s success does not have to come at the price of another person’s failure. In fact, one’s success usually spells success for many – if not all.

Selfishness is one of the primal drivers of all that we do. When used for good, it gives us self-worth and propels society forward. The brilliance of our Constitution is that accounts for and channels that innate selfishness into a system that aides and advances the entire society.

Embracing and channeling our innate selfishness is one of the reasons our country is exceptional and a destination for so many immigrants.