When Gordon Gekko, the main antagonist in the 1987 film, Wall Street declared in no uncertain terms that “Greed is good!” people flocked to the theaters. And cheered.
Please don’t base your belief system on a movie line that might have been memorable and entertaining, but is dead wrong.
Greed is like a cancer that when left untreated can destroy individuals, families, businesses, governments, and economies. Greed makes financially ignorant people putty in the hands of the consumer credit industry.
My own ignorance about credit and debt and my skewed logic that somehow I could have all that I wanted now and it would somehow work out in the end, set me up to be greed’s dream client. Credit was my accomplice. And choosing that course in my life landed me in a pit of financial despair.
It took me 12 years to ruin my life, and 13 years to come back. That’s 25 years just to get back to point zero! I shudder to think of the all of the opportunities that were forever lost in my life at the hand of that monster, greed.
I’m a lot wiser now, as a result of the hard lessons that experience taught me. If you don’t have 25 years to learn these lessons on your own, save yourself the cost and the trouble by learning them from my mistakes. Dump your greed now. How? Here are four simple steps:
Develop personal compassion
Putting others’ needs ahead of our wants takes our eyes off of our selfish desires. It softens our hearts and fills us with compassion for the needs of others.
A heart filled with gratitude expresses itself with generosity. Generosity kills greed. As you acknowledge all that you have in light of the needs of those around you, you’ll find yourself feeling genuinely grateful in ways you may have not experienced before. Generosity will become the natural outflowing of your grateful heart.
Put others’ needs ahead of your wants
Take some of your wants and find someone who has a real need. Take the money you would have spent on those wants and give it to the need instead.
Make giving part of your personal money management program.
Can you imagine what could happen in our neighborhoods if every person reading this gave some of what they have—money, time and talents—to meet the needs of others? We would start a revolution!
Just imagine living in an environment that is void of greed. It can happen, I know, because I have experienced it. I’ve seen gratitude in operation in my own community and I cannot describe the joy and contentment this brings.
Here’s what I’m asking you to do, right now. Think of five friends you can share this column with. Then do it. Now.
Driving greed from your life will change your heart and it just might do the same in theirs.