Eliminate the Twin Killers of Success Part 2
By Dr. Ron Ross
Many worthy goals, promising relationships, and terrific business ideas are ruined by the Twin Killers of Success: Speed and Greed. Last week the focus was on speed, this week on greed.
Let’s start with what greed is not. Greed is not the admirable desire to have things better tomorrow than you do today. If you want a better education, a better job, greater wealth, or a nicer home and you are willing to earn them with integrity and self-discipline then it’s not greed, it is personal growth. That kind of individual or family development is commended in every society.
Greed, on the other hand, is the selfish desire to acquire wealth, possession, or authority at the expense of someone else. For instance, a man who buys a new set of golf clubs when his children need shoes is greedy. Someone who lies about a fellow-worker to get a promotion is greedy. A corporation that puts profits above customer safety is greedy.
Perhaps the best example of greed in our modern society is the convicted former CEO of the Enron Corporation, the late Kenneth Lay. He was found guilty of fraud and conspiracy charges in one of America’s biggest corporate scandals, yet he maintained his innocence until he died. After his guilty verdict he continued to protest his innocence even though the evidence presented during his trial exposed a man of wretched material excess that included $100,000 million in personal debt. Lay defended his outrageous lifestyle by saying “It was difficult to turn off that lifestyle like a spigot.”
Now please don’t click your tongue and give me some self-righteous outrage about the “evil rich.” You don’t have to be the CEO of a major corporation to suffer from the offense. You can be the poorest of the poor and be as greedy, gluttonous, and insatiable as a wealthy CEO. Someone who demands others pay their way while they do nothing to earn a living is as greedy as a plumber who overcharges a client.
A survey by the Retail Federation revealed an increase in shoplifting and employee theft. Some $32 billion worth of goods are stolen from retail outlets each year. I don’t think it’s the Corporate Big-Boys who are stealing nine-dollar tee shirts from Wal-Mart, do you?
Psychologist Eric Fromm warned, “Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.” Greed is a universal human problem. That’s why the Catholic Church lists greed as one of the seven deadly sins.
Most of us don’t consider ourselves greedy, but don’t you agree that it is often difficult to make a distinction between need and greed? Look carefully at your personal motives for the accumulation of more stuff and the reaching for more power. Unchecked greed causes us to fall into our own “bottomless pit” and we never “reach satisfaction”.
Do not let either speed or greed, the twin killers of success, keep you stuck in the mud.
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©Copyright 2016 Dr. Ronald D. Ross