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A Christmas Wish: ‘Unselffish World’

Ever since receiving a copy of Unselfish World by Richard E. Sasso, we’ve been waiting for the right time to review its contents. A South Florida business executive, Sasso, President/CEO of MSC Cruises, N.A., has a 40-year career in the cruise line business.

Now, he’s dedicated himself to restoring unselfishness as an instinctive condition of human behavior.

Midway through his book, Sasso tells of arriving outside a favored bagel shop with another “regular” for a mutual caffeine fix and hastening to reach the door before her.

Noting a “look of anger on her eyes as she assumed I was rushing ahead to beat her in line, little did she know the real reason for my rush was to thoughtfully open the door first so that she could enter before me.

“Imagine her facial expression, reaction and demeanor when it became apparent she had misjudged my motive. Her expression was priceless, she seemed embarrassed to have first shown her anger. More importantly, she realized that instead of a selfish act on display, I was demonstrating an unselfish instinct, and she was the benefactor.”

That small but unforgettable instant permanently changed their daily relationship to exchanging smiles, a transformation that Sasso began to realize was a way to improve his own world. Realizing how easy it was to perform a simple act of courtesy, he became convinced that “One unselfish act every day is worth everything.”

His book challenges us “to overcome our instinct to be selfish,” adding “Don’t judge others because of their religious, political or social identities, but rather for their efforts to display unselfish behavior.”

That philosophy changed Sasso’s life, convincing him that daily acts of unselfish behavior, no matter how small, will not only change our personal world but lead to changing the world around us.

“Open your eyes, your hearts, and your minds…pay attention to your surroundings a bit more. You will notice situations that encourage you to behave unselfishly.

“Acts of unselfishness are the most rewarding things we can do…don’t do a good deed for thanks. Do it because it’s the right thing to do,” he writes.

Writing Unselfish World has become his way to spread the word and “help create an environment for you to become the most unselfish person you can be.”

His theme: “Do what you can to change your own behavior to become unselfish and also encourage unselfishness in others.” (Today, among other simple unselfish acts, his family pools money to buy Christmas gifts for others, something that had never before occurred to a busy and successful career-oriented father).

Sasso is convinced that if each of us changed simple acts of living from selfish motives to instinctively unselfish behavior, human relationships throughout our world will also begin to change.

Reading through this unassuming 84- page volume could be a wake-up call for those who hope humanity may someday evolve into a peaceful society.

So, friends, be of good cheer and begin enjoying your own style of unselfish behavior among family, friends, business associates and strangers, too.

It’s as simple as exchanging a smile.

Isn’t that what the holiday season is all about?

Note: For information, visit on-line <unselfishworld.org>.

Thought of the Day: The highest result of education is tolerance.

— Helen Keller

Richard Yager contributed to this column.

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