During a follow-up doctor’s appointment for my broken foot, I learned that a bunch of the fine orthopedic specialists at SOAR Medical – surgeons to many Bay Area sports teams and injury-prone klutzes like me – are heading to a country in Africa I’ve never heard of on a medical mission.
Not only is it a godsend for top surgeons in their field to volunteer their literally precious time and experience for trips like these, it’s an enormous sacrifice on their part. Not to mention that they operate under harsh and stressful conditions. Maybe not as bad as M*A*S*H but you get the idea.
The thing is, you never hear about that sort of thing because, unlike self-centered narcissists who are constantly posting selfies on Instagram and tweeting every random thought that pops into their self-absorbed little heads because they actually believe the world revolves around them, true givers don’t talk about it or tweet about it; they just do it.
That’s how you can tell the difference between a selfless person who really cares about people in need versus a self-obsessed, self-involved, self-important, self-serving, self-promoting egotist like, well, Elon Musk. Of course I’m no shrink, that’s just my opinion, I mean that with all due respect, objects in mirror are closer than they appear, and all that.
Instead of just doing what he could to help the boy’s soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand, Musk tweeted every step of his brilliant mini-sub idea to his social media minions – including pics of the sub being tested and his trip to deliver it – and when it proved useless, Musk went on a defensive and offensive Twitter rampage blasting the rescuers.
Not to pick on the Tesla and SpaceX CEO, but his apparent attention-seeking behavior is such a stark contrast to how truly selfless people act and such a powerful example of what I’m talking about that I just couldn’t pass it up.
Just to be clear, there are times when it makes sense to bring attention to a cause, as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation does about their humanitarian efforts. Their selfless promotion brings in necessary funds from other high net-worth individuals like Warren Buffet and Mark Zuckerberg. That’s different.
Look, this is pretty straightforward folks. If you want to help people, you don’t talk about it, tweet about it or post selfies about it; you just do it like the surgeons at SOAR and the dozens of experts and divers who risked their lives to save those kids in Thailand.
If instead you feel compelled to tweet about it, then act out like a petulant little child – questioning rescuers’ expertise and authority and calling them sick names – because they said, “thanks but no thanks” and maybe called you out on your true motives, then the only person you really want to help is yourself.
It’s a pretty clear distinction. The irony is, people like Musk get big heads when their hordes of followers hoist them up on impossibly high pedestals and bestow them with Godlike adoration. Of course, fame and fortune doesn’t have that effect on everyone – just those with narcissistic tendencies who need their egos constantly pumped up like a leaky tire.
Image credit Steve Jurvetson via Flickr