Giving blood


I give blood every 12 weeks at my local Red Cross blood donation centre. According to Red Cross a blood donation could save up to 3 lives. Which makes me feel good about myself. Which is why I do it. And why you should consider doing it too. To feel good about your self.

If that sounds selfish it’s because it is.

Last year I was looking for ways to feel good about myself, that actually did do some good. Turns out most things that we do to feel good about ourselves, actually have very little benefit. Recycling is a good example. We feel good about it, because we think we’re doing something good, but (with the exception of some metals) recycling is mostly useless. The main benefit of recycling is that people feel good about themselves. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Other examples of mostly useless things we do to feel good about ourselves include food drives, fun runs to raise money, awareness campaigns (think pink) and clothing drop-offs.

But if you want to do something that actually helps, consider giving blood.

Peter Singer first put me onto this in his book on Effective Altruism, and although he refers to it as being altruistic I have no such illusions. I’m as selfish and self-absorbed as the next person, but I want to be efficient as well. Finding something where I can selfishly feel good about myself whilst actually doing something useful at the same time is a hard ask. Blood donation is a rare find. Embrace it.

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