This post explains why I give away my most valuable, non-renewable resource—time—even though I’m a typical human being and, therefore, greedy.
I won’t go that far. Unfettered, “Greed causes the inevitable irrational exuberance that creates asset bubbles. Then still more greed blinds investors to the warning signs of collapse. In 2005, they ignored the inverted yield curve that signaled a recession, according to Kimberly Amadeo. Earlier this year, she noted that blind greed lead to the financial collapse of 2008.
Corruption is also the natural result of people trying to bypass legal restraints to get ahead at any costs. Greed leads to entitlement and an elitist mentality unless it is balanced. But balanced with what? And how?
Making Greed Good
We are all greedy. It’s human nature to want and to want more. In fact, one definition of economics is a system for satisfying unlimited wants with limited resources. Those unlimited desires can inspire us to go to work each day, to build a business, to grow an economy, and to improve the lot of all those around us—if they are balanced by a moral compass and a social conscience.
The balance of these conflicting drives has been called enlightened self-interest. When people do good things, I believe they benefit directly from those actions—even if the benefit is only feeling better about themselves. In fact, I’m a little uncomfortable if I can’t determine how people benefit from the actions they take. Call me cynical.
Enlightened self-interest is one leg of the win-win scenario. It is much more beneficial to built long-term, mutually beneficial relationships than to “crush the other side and take the benefits.” And doing good in the world creates “a rising tide [that] lifts all ships.”
So next time someone comes to you for mentoring—or any other kind of help—don’t just think about the immediate cost. Yes, your time is limited and you need to be judicious about how you invest it. But take a longer view, despite the Keynesian observation, “In the long run, we’re all dead.” You’ll feel better about yourself at the very least. And, who knows? You might lift all ships.Hermann says please like and share!