Enlightened Altruism

Helping others is often the best way to help yourself. We're actually happier ourselves by focusing on the happiness of others. We're happier when we spend on others instead of ourselves.

But even in business relationships, it's in your self interest to help others. There are compounding returns on your integrity and reputation (Almost all value in life comes from Compound Interest)). If others can trust that you'll treat them fairly and kindly, they have a huge incentive to work with you. Making Friends and Helping People is True Networking.

If you really want to be successful, especially as just a person on the internet, by far the best thing you can do is genuinely help people for free. Your improving reputation and popularity here is infinitely more value than any small amount you could be charging for this help as a nobody.

We are highly reciprocal animals, so you may as well act as if Karma is basically real. Even if it that wasn't true, it sounds a lot more pleasant and meaningful to try to help the people around you instead of always competing with them, and that alone also aligns the selfish with the selfless.

This is of course sometimes not literally true, but it's also good to specifically seek out situations where you can play long-term win-win games where this will be true. Friends, relationships, business partners that you can trust.


The most truly selfish action is the genuinely selfless one.


The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

People are oddly consistent. Karma is just you, repeating your patterns, virtues, and flaws until you finally get what you deserve. Always pay it forward. And don’t keep count.

I love working with Elad because I know when the deal is being done, he will bend over backward to give me extra. He will always round off in my favor if there’s an extra dollar being delivered here or there. If there’s some cost to pay, he will pay it out of his own pocket, and he won’t even mention it to me. Because he goes so far out of his way to treat me so well, I send him every deal I have—I try to include him in everything. Then, I go out of my way to try and pay for him. Compounding in those relationships is very valuable.

I have great people in my life who are extremely successful, very desirable (like everybody wants to be their friend), very smart. Yet, I’ve seen them do one or two things slightly not great to other people. The first time, I’ll say, “Hey, I don’t think you should do this to that other person. Not because you won’t get away with it. You will get away with it, but because it will hurt you in the end.” -- Eric Jorgenson, The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness, loc. 905-8

Radical honesty just means I want to be free.

Figure out what you’re good at, and start helping other people with it. Give it away. Pay it forward. Karma works because people are consistent. On a long enough timescale, you will attract what you project. But don’t measure—your patience will run out if you count.

Related: You should always be honest, It's in your best interest to act with integrity