Selfish Goals vs Service Goals


Hey friends,

I recently listened to Simon Sinek’s interview on Diary of a CEO, and it made me rethink how I set goals.

There seems to be a distinction between Selfish Goals and Service Goals:

🤑 Selfish Goals are things you want to achieve for your own benefit. Like becoming a millionaire (to have a nice lifestyle), or getting six-pack abs (to feel more attractive).

🥰 Service Goals are things you want to achieve to help other people, like setting up an anti-malaria charity, or making enough money to provide for your kids.

The problem is, selfish goals don’t satisfy us in the long run (Btw, when I say ‘selfish’ I don’t mean in the nasty way, I just mean ‘benefitting myself primarily’, no moral judgment attached to that).

Super-successful athletes seem to dedicate their whole lives to selfish goals (like winning Wimbledon or getting multiple Olympic gold medals). But once they’ve actually achieved those goals they often get depressed.

They realise that:

  1. They’ve lost their sense of purpose. They’ve achieved their finite, selfish goal – what now?
  2. They don’t have many deep relationships, because their whole life was engineered to achieve that selfish goal. The relationships they have built (coaches, friends, maybe family) are focused on getting them what they want.
  3. They also realise that, while chasing selfish goals is pretty adrenaline-inducing, actually achieving them isn’t that satisfying because no-one really shares in your success.

That last point is really important. We’re social creatures that get real, lasting satisfaction from actually helping and being valuable to other people, not just winning a bunch of medals for ourselves.

Also, the writer Mo Gowdat makes the point that service goals can be energising even if you don’t succeed. Like, his big goal in life is to make 1 billion people happier. Now usually, my inner Stoic would say – huh, that sounds like a goal I can’t control, something to avoid. But because it’s a service goal, Mo says it feels motivating, not demoralising, to set his aims high.

So how has this changed my goal-setting?

Well, over the last few years, I’ve essentially set myself Selfish Goals. Making money, becoming a NY Times bestselling author, growing my audience. My business has always been about, in this order:

  1. Making money
  2. Helping me live a fun life
  3. Helping other people.

But now I’m making a conscious effort to reverse that order, because helping other people through making amazing content might – weirdly enough – be the best way for me to live a fulfilling life.

Have a great week!

Ali xx

🎉 3 Million Subscriber Giveaway

After 5 years, 448 videos, and 200 million views, my YouTube channel has just hit 3 million subscribers. So I’m doing a big giveaway to celebrate 🥳

The main prize is my Productivity Pack, worth over $2000. It includes a MacBook Pro, AirPods Max, Kindle Paperwhite, 1-year subscription to Audible, my full Essentiali collection, and a lot more.

There are also x5 Productivity Sets up for grabs, which include a Kindle Paperwhite, stack of my favourite books, and some Essentiali stationery.

The offer ends on Monday (00:00 CEST, 13th June, 2022), and you can sign up with this link: You obviously don’t have to re-join Sunday Snippets to be entered into the giveaway, only accept the T&Cs.

🧠 Heights – Invest in your brain

I like to dabble in angel investing. And one company I’ve invested in (and am super excited about) is called Heights. They make a braincare supplement that helps you feel more alert, energetic, sleep better, etc, and has all the nutritients your brain needs to thrive.

Heights want to build a braincare community, so they’re doing some crowdfunding: inviting their customers and fans to invest on the same terms as some of the best entrepreneurs and angel investors in the UK. They go live to the public tomorrow, so this is a heads up: if you’re keen to check them out as a potential investment, here’s the secret link to their private campaign.

They only launched on Thursday and smashed through their £1M target in 15 minutes, so they’re closing up this week. Obviously do your own research, and know that, like with any investment, your capital would be at risk. If you haven’t tried Heights yet, you can get 10% off with my code ‘aliabdaal’ at checkout.

This isn’t a sponsored message or anything, it’s just a heads up in case you want to dabble with angel investing like I do.

♥️ My Favourite Things

🎧 Shortform Summary – Storyworthy by Matthew Dicks. About the power of asking yourself ‘what was one story-worthy thing that happened today?’, and witing it down in 2-3 sentences. If you do this consistently, you’ll build up a massive library of memories, get better at telling people about your life, and maybe start living more intentionally.

📚 Book – Animal Liberation by Peter Singer. I just recorded an episode of my podcast Deep Dive with the philosopher Will MacAskill, and this book was on his recommended reading list. It’s basically an argument against exploiting animals (aka ‘nonhuman animals’). “They may not be as intelligent as us, but they certainly know pain, fear, loneliness and love. They too can suffer, and they too can be happy.”

📱 App – one sec This app lets you set up a 5-10 second timer for opening potentially timewasting apps like Instagram or TikTok. Basically, it forces you to take a deep breath and ask ‘do I really want to do this?’ before jumping in. It’s free, but if you want the pro version, you can use the code ALI15 to get a 15% discount (I messaged the developer on Twitter to say kudos, and he very kindly set that up).

📝 Article – The Arc of the Practical Creator by Laurence Yeo. A great, comprehensive article on how to quit your job and start a creative career. Lots of cartoons and graphs.

✍️ Quote of the Week

Master: You feel inferiority because you have fallen for the false game, my student. Student: The false game? Master: Yes. The false game is to give legitimacy to the notion that there is a hierarchy of importance among human beings..

From A Master’s Secret Whispers by Kapil Gupta. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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