You’re really greedy!! Would you take this as a compliment or would you give a piece of your mind (there isn’t a lot of grey matter going around these days so try and be conservative, so as not to exhaust your resources) to people that said this to you? Or would you just stand there fuming or even try and take a swing at them (Unless you were caught with two oversized tubs of ice cream, with a spoon in each, in which case you wouldn’t really have an argument)? Even if we innately know that we often try and take more than our share, we do not want to be associated with this word.
‘Greed’ is considered to be such a negative word and in most cases rightly so.
We always believe we have been greedy for good reason, and we like to explain ourselves with jargon like ‘survival of the fittest’ (even though we are at least 30 pounds overweight), ‘jungle law’ (I’ve never actually known anyone that has seen a transcript of this legal document), ‘I worked harder’ (like we have the statistics on how hard everyone else worked), ‘it’s God’s will’ (like he shared it with us on WhatsApp), ‘my family needs this’ (while others are just sacrificial lambs), ‘everyone does it’ (because they come and tell you each time they do), ‘I had no choice’ (because Don Corleone made you an offer you couldn’t refuse), ‘someone else would have done it anyway’ (we need to beat them to the punch, don’t we?), ‘big deal’, ‘no one cares’, ‘it’s not that bad’, and a list of other innovative reasons, long enough to rival the length of the Mahabharata manuscript.
However, greed isn’t only about wanting more but is also about settling for less. People often hide their greed under the garb of staying grounded (And therefore aiming low. There is no reason why we can’t be extremely successful and yet humble), and being content. At times this need to resort to mediocrity arises from lack of ambition (we will smack our TV remote a million times to get it to function, but won’t change the batteries), at times it’s because we are fearful of the unknown (like the wife’s looks after a visit to the parlor), a lot of times most things just seem improbable because of our restricted upbringing (where we do what is told, things that are safe, and don’t ask questions), and many a time it’s just our ego telling us that we know best.
While there are many of us that truly have very few desires (especially material ones) and find joy and fulfillment in the simplest forms of living, most of us do not. We desire a lot but then are not willing to take the actions required to fulfill them (Thank God for food delivery services because we are not even willing to cook anymore). Therefore, we not only continue our existence in secret resentment, constantly telling ourselves that we’re very content but also expect our loved ones and others around us to live by this code. And a lot of these people could be dependents, with no means to go after their dreams just yet. Our homemaker spouses, our adolescent children, our ageing parents, our business partners and employees, our extended family members, our dogs, our cats, our fish, our action figures, and a host of other people we share our lives with, may have to curb their dreams because we tend to be selfish and greedy in only adhering to what we feel is right. We don’t feel we have it in us to follow our true desires passionately and aggressively, and therefore believe no one else around us should (Only we should be in charge of the TV remote or what radio station plays in the car. Only we should decide what gets made for dinner. Only we should determine how a sales pitch should be constructed. Only we should get to select what movie to watch. Only we should be the ones allowed to yell and scream when annoyed. Only we should decide who our children marry, or what career path they take. Only we should have the final word, even if reason goes down the drain).
However, greed in the right direction, with pure intent, and in the right quantities, is beneficial. In my mind, a quest for knowledge, hunger for stability, an objective to be healthy, aspiration for freedom, and above all a burning desire to contribute to the world around us, to leave it a better place after we’re gone, are forms of healthy greed. We need to find it in ourselves to aim beyond our own means and needs. We need to understand that we have the ability to impact our world positively, by feeding our minds with the right signals.
Is it enough for us just to live for ourselves, or if we are generous, for our families and friends? Or do we believe in our own abilities to liberate ourselves from our fears and limited thinking, to make a contribution to a population that can’t be counted on our fingertips, but rather is reflected in the census studies? We certainly should.
While we aim with a generous heart to make an impact in the world, we must continue to nourish our health, mind, and soul to ensure that we are fit in every way to do so. Therefore, be greedy. Go for your walks to keep yourself fit. Spend that extra time to read and learn. Meditate daily to ensure a calm and stable form. Burn the midnight oil to plan and revisit your mission every day. Network and connect with people that share your values and goals. Implement brave and unconventional strategies in your business. And even be courageous and scold your boss for his inept business practices (If you get fired you will have some time at hand to catch up on all those Netflix shows you’ve missed).
This does not mean that we don’t find quality time for our family, friends, associates, professional partners, and others in our close circle. It means we must be more efficient with our time in order to ensure that we are able to give them our time and effort and work toward our goals as well. However, we must also realize that our loved ones can be unreasonable at times and we cannot always give in to their whims. As long as we do justice to them and our vision, we have the right to be greedy, because the result of this greed will not only result in the improvement of our own lives, but those of theirs, as well as several other people around us (This does not give you license to tell them you’re busy and spend the day watching sport and drinking beer).
Whether our aim is to serve our family better, improve our organization, impact our community, better our town, or benefit millions, we need to be greedy and stay hungry for knowledge, health, longevity, and consistent growth, leading to desired results.
What’s the highest de’greed’ you can achieve?