The world is full of abundance and opportunity, but far too many people come to the fountain of life with a sieve instead of a tank car... a teaspoon instead of a steam shovel. They expect little and as a result they get little - Ben Sweetland

This blog has now moved to Effortless Abundance. Please update your bookmark and rss subscription.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Is greed good?

I've just been reading a book by a guy called Bruce Sullivan. The book is called 'Hanna's Christmas Gift' and it's about how to live a better, happier and more peaceful kind of life. The aim of the book is excellent, and much of the content is also very worthwhile, but I feel that some of it really misses the mark.

He basically advocates five premises:

1. Free your heart form hatred
2. Free your mind from worries
3. Live simply
4. Give more
5. Expect less

I have absolutely no problem with 1-4. These are great aims, things we should all be striving towards. But it's a shame that Mr Sullivan has included 'expect less' in his (to quote) 'amazing principles.' Although he does say here and there that possessions and wealth are not bad in themselves, the overwhelming tone of the book is that these things lead to unhappiness. This can be true, of course, but I would make two points:

1. You can and should expect and have more;
2. You cannot tie your happiness and self esteem to (the pursuit of) possessions and wealth.

Let me elaborate.

First, life expands. Life grows. Life gets bigger. This is the nature of the universe. This is why evolution happens, why Science advances, why artists keep looking for new avenues of creativity; it is why we all want to learn more, to get more qualifications, to improve ourselves. Wanting more happiness, better health, more wealth and more success - in short, more abundance - is good. As Gordon Gecko (Micheal Douglas) so famously said in the 80's classic Wall St, 'greed, for want of a better word, is good.' It's good to want more. It's good to get more. Not to compete with people and trample over them, not to take what's their's for yourself, but to grow and expand in all areas. There is enough for everyone to have everything they want. Really there is. But you have to go about things in the right way.

Second, you have to THINK in the right way, otherwise you'll just end up with debt and pain and unhappiness. You cannot link together happiness with physical possessions of money. You cannot RELY on money to make you happy. It won't. You should be abundant in all areas, which means being happy, healthy, wealthy and successful in your personal and business life. These things are independent of each other - none depends on the others. If you choose to be happy, then you're happy. And that's that - it doesn't relate to anything else. If you choose to be rich, then that's that - it doesn't make you happy.

So greed, for want of a better word, and assuming that we are defining it as a natural tendency to grow, to expand and to become more than we currently are in all respects, and so long as we don't confuse the acquisition of money and wealth with happiness is, indeed, good.


Powered by WebRing.