Greed is Good: Why You Need to Tap Into Your Inner Gordon Gekko

Greed is good. Embrace it. Love it. Live it. In fact, greed may be the one thing that can save us. Don’t believe me? Greed was the foundation for this country. The brave souls who risked their life to settle in a new country did so out of self interest. Our forefathers recognized the importance of self-interest in the Declaration of Independence where they emphasized our unalienable right to pursue happiness.

Greed is good not just for your own life but for others as well. By elevating your life, you can radically elevate your family’s life, your community, and yes, even the world. Mother Teresa was greedy — she had an unquenchable thirst for serving the poorest of the poor. Missionaries are greedy in their quest to spread their religious beliefs. You just need to get greedy. You need to focus so intently on what it is you want that your desire seeps out of your pores.

But not all greed is created equal. The greed that nearly brought the world economy to a screeching halt in 2008 is disgusting. The greed that led to millions of hardworking people around the world losing their jobs is not “good greed.” You can (and must!) be greedy without exploiting others.

The problem is not that we’re too greedy, it’s that we’re not greedy enough! Sure, there are the occasional Bernie Madoffs and John Edwardses that lose themselves in their excessive desire — that will do anything to achieve their goal — but that’s not the issue most of us face. Our problem is that we are plagued by not caring, wanting, or being voracious enough in the pursuit of our own goals.

The solution? Stop putting yourself last and stop sacrificing your goals and dreams. Any successful entrepreneur is greedy. They have an insatiable desire to see their product come to market. They want to see their invention in the hands of as many people as possible. They want their book to hit the New York Times bestseller list. They will do whatever it takes to achieve their goal. They will stay up later and get up earlier. They’ll say no more often.

Want to lose weight? Put yourself first. Schedule time on your calendar to exercise and don’t cancel for anything. Don’t let others get in the way of your goal. I get criticized for bringing my own food to parties and events. I don’t get this. Should I just go along with what everyone else is eating even though I know it’s not best for me? If I only wished for better health, I wouldn’t go through the hassle of preparing and bringing my own food and instead I’d have a plateful of little weenies and Doritos. But I’m not simply wishful. I am greedy. Nothing is going to get in my way of better health — not even annoyed looks from the host.

The other 8 hours are the secret to improving your life. By focusing on yourself, and by elevating your own life, you are then best able to transform the lives of others. Self-focused is not selfish; self-focused is self-less. You learn this every time you get on a plane . . . “put on your own mask before helping others.”

When you invest in yourself during the other 8 hours, the life you change may be more than just your own. Now it’s your turn. Tap into your inner Gordon Gekko and relentlessly pursue your happiness.

(Wall Street image by zoonabarCC 2.0)

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61 comments

Danielle Lenz
Danielle L6 years ago

I think greed is the wrong word, but I get the main idea.

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Craig Zimmerman
Craig Zimmerman6 years ago

Hard work, creativity, and giving to others is good, but greed and selfishness destroys.

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Kiana Siino
Kiana S6 years ago

Oh dear. A lot of people seem awfully offended by the word greed. I'm not sure greed is the best choice of words here, but I'm sure if people actually read the article they would see that he doesn't mean it in the commonly used selfish way. The point is that you shouldn't keep putting yourself and your goals last. If one person becomes happier it makes the people around them happier.

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Cindy B.
Cindy B6 years ago

Aaagh, I got it! It's just a question of SEMANTICS. That was the word I blocked. Cheers.

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Cindy B.
Cindy B6 years ago

GOOD GRIEF --this is a lovely example of unfortunate word usage (and I'm BLOCKING the perfect word that describes it, damn "senior moments!").

All the guy's really talking about is sticking to one's goals, being motivated and disciplined to change one's life for the better and thereby (hopefully) to help better the world, and one's fellows, in the process. That certainly could be seen as "self-serving." After all, as the Hedonic Calculus points out, even the most selfless altruistic acts are, at their core, designed to help the doer feel GOOD about himself and avoid letting his conscience make him feel BAD about himself.

And so, Mr. Pagliarini makes some sound points. He's pretty stupid, though, to use the word GREED, as that word is laden with negatives and has been attached to very bad people whose selfishness has only made the world worse, not better. Mr. P, no matter your argument, you ain't never gonna make people warm up to the word GREED.

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Jane Barton
Jane Barton6 years ago

Ameer, the American people aren't buying the lies of the Catholic/Christian Taliban THIS TIME.
The Republican Natzis will NOT force women to pump out babies til their uteri drop. We the People will not look the other way like Germany while Hitler killed millions! Republicans,
I got news, We the People aren't as stupid as you think! Power to the People! Women Unite!
DOWN WITH THE GREED OF THE 1%!

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Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton6 years ago

Hmmmmm.....

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aj M.
aj E6 years ago

this is the most bizzare article. can't agree enough with other comments that this guy is off.

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Marianna B M.

IT IS WRONGLY PHRASED GREED IS A CAPITAL SIN AND THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH. GREED IS WRONG AND MOTHER THERESA WAS NOT GREEDY TO SERVE THE POOREST SHE WAS UNSELFISH AND GIVING LOVING ...NOT GREEDY. STUPID MORON WHO TEACH THE MESSES FOR STUPIDITY YOU SHOULD SIT THE HELL DOWN AND LOOK INTO YOUR SELF. YOUR BRAINWASHING IS CAUSING DAMAGE ON THE GUALABLE.

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Ameer T.
Ameer T6 years ago

This man is confused to the core. I bet someone at wall street paid him to make a better case out of greed. The same greed of a few that millked millions of innocent hardworking people out of their money.

But there is a lot of that going around these days. Softening up of words and changing their meaning, sometimes totally around. Like war used to be a bad thing, something that brought destruction and death and disaster and everybody condemned it because it was a wrong practice. Now war is the reason given for Peace. in fact it is synonamous with peace now. Governments keep telling us that they are going to war to bring about peace. Now everyone cheers for the warring nations. People who went to another country and destroyed peoples homes and killed their families, tortured some on suspicion, raped a few come back home and get hailed as heroes.

Or how about the freedom floatilla that was going to feed the starving children of Palestine got attacked by Israeli soldiers and the media told you that the people on the vessel bound on a mission of mercy were terrorists and the attacking soldiers were keeping the peace.

As long as you are buying BS someone is telling you that Mother Teresa was greedy and selfishness is good. War is peace and mercy is terrorism. that if the politians you are going to vote for soon turn out to be GREEDY, they are people YOU SHOULD VOTE FOR because they are GOOD.

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