Sage Advice 55: Treat Thy Self Before Thy Neighbors

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about how often I don’t think about myself enough. It’s difficult to stand back from a busy life of telling people what to do and to take a moment to tell yourself what to do.

Some people think all I do is think about myself; all they see is me talking, thinking, and caring about me. They don’t understand my charity! It’s frustrating, to be so kind yet so unrecognized. I think it’s important for me to explain my design for philanthropy.

It’s quite complex, but I’ll hold your hand through it. I don’t take the traditional route of helping others; I never get involved with soup kitchens, donations, or any kind of manual labor. To make it simpler, if it requires me to break a sweat or leave the house, I’m not lending my extremely effective helping hand.

But just because I don’t do what most people do to help others doesn’t mean I’m not being generous with my time and effort. I take part in what I call Negative Efficiency Charity (NEC). Essentially, every moment I don’t actually do anything to benefit anyone other than myself I count as a moment where I’m not bothering someone who desperately needs help and attention.

What’s worse than being homeless? How about being homeless and having some guy tell you that you’re homeless. Reminding people that their lives are terrible is a good way to make their lives more terrible. As such, I don’t help people who would qualify for such terribleness, thus lessening the chances that they will be reminded that everything about what’s going on in their lives is horrible.

So the next time you’re thinking of volunteering at an old folks home or a children’s hospital, just remember this: if you think about yourself more than others, others won’t be forced to think about themselves nearly as much. Creating a delusion for those in need is the key to a true life of charity.


-Matthew Fugere

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