You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity.
— Marie Curie

Everyone needs help, but rarely do we think that the best way to help each other is to be constantly working on improving ourselves.⠀

It's kind of like when an airline tells you, in a case of lost cabin pressure, to put your own mask on first before helping others.


If we could detach ourselves from the initial, panicky and anxious, emotional response, we'd be able to make clear logical decisions about the most effective and efficient ways to help others. ⠀

Let me challenge you with a troubling scenario.⠀

Any loving parent would argue that helping their children first is the better course of action. But what if, because you spent so much time struggling to get oxygen, your body slowed and you just managed to cover your child and yourself before needing to take some deep breaths. ⠀

Now, there are other children without masks on, maybe a family is larger than usual and the parents haven't had the time to cover all of their kids yet, or maybe the children are travelling alone. ⠀

Because you prioritized your own child, you are now short of breath and unable to help them. ⠀

On a personal scale you were selfless, but on a global scale you were selfish.

Although it's a difficult subject to ponder, adopting this degree of global selflessness or altruism is what Marie Curie or the Stoics are referring to when they say, "we must focus on ourselves first."⠀

Remember though, it is only in order to help others better. ⠀

See if you can catch yourself in those moments of emotionally clouded judgement. Slow things down and "hit the biggest domino" so that every following event is much easier to handle.⠀

The same goes for business and productivity. It's a universal concept.