We’re all greedy. The difference lies in the degree, motivation, and area of our greed. Some people are greedy for success; some people are greedy for fame; some people are greedy for recognition; some people are greedy about money. There are a lot more things that make people greedy.
Nevertheless, I have found one common thread behind all sorts of greed. And, that is impatience. It is what makes us miserable in our own eyes, and in the eyes of everyone else who isn’t on the same level as us. Imagine this – you’re greedy for fame, and you try your best (including using unethical means) to collect all the fame you can get. In your eyes, you’re well justified, because, after all, you’re working hard for it. But, get this, if only you were patient and continued doing the right thing, you’d have gained fame nonetheless! It could have just been longer to achieve. Greed makes us lose sight of where we actually stand, and therefore makes us vulnerable.
Another example is money. One scenario is my parents giving me money for something. I could be greedy (not always bad) and impatient (always bad), and use various means like tantrums or arguments to get it, or I could do what I am doing, justify it, and get a lot more money from them than originally desired. Of course, I am now too grown up to be greedy about money with my family, or even friends, but the example holds true. In my experience, greed coupled with impatience only make us achieve less, albeit very quickly. We are delighted to get something so soon, but it actually reduces our gains compared to having waited a little longer.
I started thinking about this as I was imagining typical management follies committed by greedy managers. It all made sense.
Click here for a very nice description of the “personality dragons”.
I end this post with this very good dialog that takes place in a 2003 episode of South Park:
- Randy: There’s more to life than profits
- Indian Chief: Really, Like what?
- Randy: You know, like slurpies and stuff.
It is upto you to interpret “slurpies and stuff”!