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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

Greed Is Something We Should All Strive For

Greed Is Something We Should All Strive For

Most of us don’t want to be called “greedy.” Nobody wants to be the person who fills his plate and leaves others hungry or the person who waits for relatives to drop dead so he can get an inheritance. Greed reveals a darker side of human nature.

There are 2 sides to every coin, though. Could there be a positive side to being selfish?

Greed exists for a reason

When someone is uncomfortable with personal security, their anxiety may manifest as greed. This anxiety may stem from trauma or neglect. For example, a person who grows up not having enough to eat may hoard food and overindulge in adulthood.

In addition to anxiety, many greedy people have self-esteem issues. A child who doesn’t get enough attention grows into the adult that must be in the limelight. People who are insecure about their purpose in life sometimes tie their self-worth to having an abundance of items. Stuff is no substitute for being loved, but the person may feel a temporary sense of comfort from material possessions.[1]

With all the negativity in the news, people feel threatened more than ever. You may have noticed an uptick in greedy behaviors as we all grapple with uncertain times.

We can understand why someone behaves this way, but it doesn’t make us like greedy people more. Even if you know why your friend always takes too many slices of pizza, you’ll still be hungry.

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Taking too much harms others

Taking more than you need might not sound bad, but greed ca be negative for others. Look at what happens when the weather service forecasts a major storm. People panic, and instead of buying what they need, they clear the store shelves. The people who arrive late aren’t able to buy anything because there’s nothing left. Greed may be great for the economy, but it doesn’t do much for the human beings on the losing end.

Broadly speaking, when people fixate on hoarding objects or satisfying a desire for more stuff, they miss out on the richness of life. The person will almost never be satisfied, and after they get what they want, they’ll be on the prowl for the next big thing.

Many people realize they’re being greedy and hide who they are. A person who craves having power may become a politician. To do this, he may have to deceive others and craft a persona that will afford him what he wants. He may say–and even believe–that he wants to help others. He may champion the underdog and speak out against the power-hungry even as he lusts for power himself.

Greed doesn’t have to be terrible

Greed can serve a positive purpose in some contexts. One positive is that it’s a form of motivation. Greed inspires people to push for better social and economic outcomes than they have.

Altruism is a better force for creating positive change, but it takes time to develop it. Greed readily dovetails with consumerism. Our society is built on and supported by greedy behavior, whether or not we like it. The quest for more and better stuff has driven societies to the highest levels of achievement.

Societies that try to function without greed and hierarchy dissolve into chaos. Having a hierarchy naturally causes inequality, but people with more power often take actions that improve our lives.[2]

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Over two centuries ago, Adam Smith, economist and philosopher, explained that individuals who acted out of self-interest would be supported by the economy and make society better. The greed behind capitalism may seem unattractive, but the results are often desirable.[3]

We saw examples of this prosperity in the US in the 1980s and 1990s on Wall Street. Productivity was high and unemployment rates were low. The stock market made many investors wealthy.

When the dotcom bubble burst and the value of shares dropped, people realized that greed has its limitations. In 1999, American households had a net worth-to- income ratio of 6.3. It has since fallen to 5.3. Even though we’re still doing better than our long term average, we’ve seen a decrease in quality of life across a large portion of the middle class.

Optimistic investors feel that this is part of the natural ebb and flow of the market, but perhaps this downturn was a warning about going for things well outside of our means.

Can it really be bad for us to recognize our limits and live in accordance with needs instead of wants?

Use greed to your advantage

1. Recognize the root of your greed.

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Greed may be a sign that you have some insecurities to work through.

Someone who constantly has to shop may be trying to fill an emotional void or insecurity with stuff. If you find yourself loading your shopping bags every week, think about why you’re doing it. You may even need to seek professional help to deal with these issues.

2. Use greed to drive change.

Greed motivates you to climb the socio-economic ladder.

The unhappy person can change their life. If you’re unsatisfied with your quality of life, your desire to accumulate things could be a sign to get a better job or capitalize on an idea.

3. Sharing is caring.

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If your desire for more things ends up making you wealthy and successful, use your power to look out for others.

When you’re top dog, you have a great opportunity to give back. Look at the philanthropic work people such as Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey do because they have the means.

Following these steps gives you a chance to reflect on yourself and affords you a opportunity to make the world better.

Flip the notion of greed on its head

Most of us possess a basic drive to want things that we don’t have. Instead of viewing this as a negative mindset, see it as an opportunity to improve your life and the lives of others.

Featured photo credit: The Digital Artist via pixabay.com

Reference

[1] Psychology Today: Is greed good?
[2] Time: Greed is Good: Science Proves It
[3] The Economist: Is Greed Good?

More by this author

Anna Chui

Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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Last Updated on April 8, 2021

How to Overcome Fear and Find Success (The Ultimate Guide)

How to Overcome Fear and Find Success (The Ultimate Guide)

Take a moment and imagine what your life would be like if you had no fear. What would you do if you knew how to overcome fear? It’s not difficult to imagine that it would alter your life significantly.

I believe that fear is the single biggest obstacle that holds people back from fulfilling their potential and becoming the best version of themselves. Fear of failure, fear of abandonment, fear of success, fear of not being good enough

The question is, where does it come from?

Neuroscientists claim that humans are the most fearful creatures on the planet because of our ability to learn, think, and create fear in our minds. We scare ourselves by imagining the worst possible outcomes, assuming that we are protecting ourselves from imminent danger.

You make the choice to be a victim of your fear and anxiety or to push them aside and be courageous.

In this article, we’ll look into the root cause of fear and how to conquer fear to realize our potential.

What Is Fear, Really?

This acronym best reflects what fear is[1]:

Learn how to overcome fear with the fear acronym

    Fear is an emotion created by your mind based on real or imagined threats. Fear may be completely founded in reality, or not. It may also manifest as anxiety disorders in some cases, as anxiety is based on worries or fears about the future.

    These imagined scenarios of perceived threats end up feeding your fear to the point where it becomes all-consuming. Often, these scenarios never happen.

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    The real issue is not the fear itself, but rather how we hold it in our minds.

    How to Overcome Fear

    Overcoming fear may sound easier said than done. When you are in the thick of fear, it’s hard to see a way out. The good news is that, because you are the root cause of your fears, you are also the solution to them.

    1. Identify Your Fears Through Writing

    There are times when I’ve felt afraid but couldn’t identify why. If you keep your fears inside, you allow your mind to control how you feel.

    In order to prevent this confusion from happening in the first place, identify what your fears are before moving on to learning how to deal with fear.

    What makes you feel afraid?

    Instead of just thinking about these things, write them down. When you write down your fears on paper and actually question them, it forces you to analyze why you are afraid. Questions are designed to trigger your fears and bring them to the surface.

    This isn’t a comfortable process, but deep inner work never is. However, if you continue to keep your feelings in the dark, the scarier they will be, and the more disempowered you will become.

    Once you identify the type of fear and the experience that you associate with your fears, you become armed with the power to take action to change them. Eventually, your fears become smaller and smaller, and your strength gets bigger and bigger.

    As you’re identifying what your fears are, you can try Lifehack’s Free Life Assessment. It will help you identify which areas may be causing you more fear and which you can fall back on as strengths.

    2. Practice Gratitude

    If you want to learn how to overcome fear, gratitude is key. From personal experience, I have learned that it’s difficult to experience fear and gratitude at the same time. They are literally on opposite ends of the continuum of the human experience.

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    When you are experiencing difficult times in life, it’s easy to drop into fear and overwhelm. In that energetic space, it can be hard to stay grounded.

    Developing a gratitude practice allows you to not drown in fear. It doesn’t mean that you won’t still feel it, but the blow will be lessened, thereby allowing you to see the brighter side of struggle.

    In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their physical and mental health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships[2].

    Anyone who experiences fear knows that there is almost always a story attached to whatever it is that you’re fearful of.  Fear loves to hang out with your inner critic and come up with worst-case scenarios about what could happen.

    Gratitude helps keep these limiting stories at bay when you’re learning how to overcome fear. When you practice gratitude, your brain shifts to what is currently working instead of what isn’t working.

    The act of being fearful is a future-oriented process, while gratitude is a present-oriented one. The next time that fear tries to creep its way into your head, replace that disempowering thought with an empowering one.

    You can learn more about how to replace fear based practices with more positive ones in this video:

    3. Release Control

    Being a control freak is how a lot of people manage their fears, or so they think. Unfortunately, control has no place on the path to learning how to overcome fear.

    In actuality, all that they are doing is masking their fears by trying to control everything. If you can relate, it’s time to release control. Trust me when I say that this is a losing battle.

    Fear results in controlling behavior, and when this behavior doesn’t give us the results we’re seeking, it further intensifies our fears.

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    In your attempt to control fear, you actually become a victim of it. This fear and control cycle leaves a lot of people feeling defeated. The reality is that there will always be things that are far beyond your control.

    The only way that we can move past needing to be in control is to accept that it is not always up to us. While you may be in control of your decisions, you don’t always have control over situations that you are pushed into, nor can you control how others react.

    The only thing that you have control over is your inner world and how you choose to respond to your external environment. The next time you catch yourself trying to control everything, step back and ask yourself what you are afraid of.

    Start to get curious about what thoughts are generating your fear. Curiosity and fear don’t like to co-exist. Once you let go of one, you invite the other in, which will help as you learn how to get rid of fear.

    True freedom comes from fully releasing control. When you are able to do this, you begin the process of releasing your fears as well.

    4. Recite Positive Affirmations

    Positive affirmations can be used to combat almost any negative thought pattern, which can be very helpful when you want to learn how to overcome fear. Using them to help challenge your fears can help retrain your brain and have your fears reframed as powerful statements.

    Research shows that you can actually train your subconscious mind such that it will help you to attract exactly what you desire in life[3].

    Instead of saying “I am afraid of doing this because I might fail,” look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I am prepared for this, I am ready, and I will not fail.”

    The more you use positive affirmations, the stronger they become. The best way to cancel a negative belief is to develop its positive counterpart.

    Commit to making positive affirmations a key component of your morning ritual. It literally takes one thought, repeated over and over again, to set you on the path to transforming your entire life.

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    Here are more positive affirmations you can try: 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life

    5. Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You

    Living in your comfort zone will get you nowhere in life, and it certainly won’t help you learn how to overcome fear. In my experience, not doing the things that scare you will only increase the likelihood that your fears will grow and inevitably take over every decision that you make.

    I want to encourage you to do one thing every day that scares you. It can be something small. All that matters is that you take action. Make it a habit to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

    Putting yourself in new and uncomfortable situations triggers a unique part of the brain that releases dopamine, nature’s make-you-happy chemical. Here’s the mind-blower: that unique region of the brain is only activated when you see or experience completely new things[4].

    When you condition yourself to do something every day that scares you, your fear fades away, and your courage grows. Think about it…when you face your fears, how can you fear them again? Soon enough, your confidence will skyrocket.

    Final Thoughts

    The next time that you feel threatened by fear, I encourage you to pull upon one or more of the above strategies. Change your relationship with fear. Instead of letting it knock you down, use it as motivation to grow and achieve more.

    Once you recognize that fear is not real, the obstacles that appear to stand in your way will be removed, and you will feel empowered to take action.

    Your potential in life is limited by only one factor: you. Are you ready to transform fear into action?

    More on How to Overcome Fear

    Featured photo credit: Jonathan Klok via unsplash.com

    Reference

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