Last Updated Jun 2, 2011 2:55 PM EDT
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.
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