Are Selfie Selfish ?

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Each generation witnesses some very peculiar trends, some of them turn out to be fads, while some others take shape of institutions and get debated over a longer period of time, while a few translate into pillars of our culture and get passed onto generations. Each of these are termed as healthy by some while others may not agree to the same.

So the question that arises is, why this new trend of Selfie (A selfie is a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone.) be perceived as Selfish by some? Isn’t it a harmless activity of appreciating oneself and something which gets over in few seconds?

While some of us agree it to being a harmless self-indulgence, others believe it is the beginning of setting a mindset of ‘me, myself and I,’ which in short puts Self before Others all the time. It also reflects a dangerous mindset which may arise with time of a belief that I am the center of the universe and nothing else matters. It may also give rise to a feeling of falling in love with oneself so much that you aren’t open to look into others perspective about yourself.

So what is this idea of 25th Hour in a day? In simple words it is taking out 60 minutes in the 1440 minutes we have in the day for yourself. These 60 minutes you create for yourself and no one else. These 60 minutes can be in one go or a maximum of 4 parts of 15 minutes in a day (Get up 15 minutes earlier, spend 15 minutes of lunch time with yourself, take out 15 minutes when you leave the office and 15 minutes before you finally call it a day).

The debate is on with many believing that social scientist are getting paranoid unnecessarily over this.

As people champions, should we be alarmed or stay silent and be an observer? For a moment if we believe that this is the starting of self-indulgence then there is a need to be alarmed because this could be start of an unhealthy trend and some of those reasons are amplified as below :

  • We live in an ecosystem and not by oneself We live and work in groups and not as individuals so how can self-indulgent people make good team members or work in an ecosystem which is inter and intra dependent. There are very few roles which expect contributions in individual capacity with no dependence, while more than 90% roles operate in an ecosystem model.
  • We are emotional fools with elephant memories As Humans we may believe we have evolved to great lengths but somewhere deep down we are still struggling to come into terms of emotional maturity. We are still driven by deep emotions either ways and have a real elephant memory wherein we neither forget nor forgive so easily. During the self-indulgence phase many of us believe we are invisible and don’t require anyone around and thereby start negating members around knowingly or unknowingly, and these members may not take the same kindly and repay the same at some point of time. From an organization perspective this is the beginning of collapse of collaboration and team work.
  • We are social animals As species we are very social in nature, we like to interact, communicate, converse etc. in small or large groups. There could be days when one may want to spend time all alone but that is once in a while, most of the other times we want to be with others. Self-indulgence behavior shuts down others from approaching as it shouts “I, me, and myself” all the time. Without knowing we seclude ourselves and thereby create an island. Many a time before you realize the need for others in your life, it could be too late. People with these frustrations often become toxic employees at workplace.

Selfie isn’t bad at all but a signal for us that there is a need to be identified and appreciated by people around us.

As organizations and societies are growing only larger and more complex, the individual identity is getting lost and this feeling is being vented out in forms of selfie , etc.

As people professionals we need to pause for a moment and build a culture of Social Organization which would enable a new healthy thought process. Some of the elements of this are:

  • Create Avenues for Social interactions as part of billing hours
  • Create an environment where you tell employees it’s ok to be vulnerable once in a while (even a superhero has bad days)
  • Encourage Socialisation in Cafeterías and other places with ice breakers from time to time
  • Encourage employees to say those Magic words (Please, Sorry, Thank you etc.)
  • Encourage Social Clubs
  • Create an environment wherein it is ok to walk and say ‘I Need Help’

Obsession for Selfies are Selfish in a way if we see them in a broader context of Need for Attention and Identity, it is an SOS which calls for our attention as People champions and Social scientist if it sustains or aggraviates from its current form. In this age of ever changing dynamics let’s hope this is just another passing fad.


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