Greed doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor. There are many ways that greed rears its ugly head every day. Here are 8 ways to spot greedy people:
Life’s a spectator sport. “Bystanders” who do everything they can to get out of work are greedy people. While colleagues work at a frantic pace, selfish people work hard to avoid working at all. They spend their days moving piles of papers on their desk while they watch everyone else go crazy. These guys wouldn’t lift a finger if their life depended on it. When a job is complete, however, you can bet they’ll be first in line to claim the rewards of the effort made (by someone else).
It’s all about me. A Christmas Carol is an 1843 tale about Ebenezer Scrooge, a stingy and greedy businessman who has no place in his life for kindness, compassion, charity, or benevolence. In modern times, you’ll find that some wealthy business executives receive an obscene year-end bonus and lavish company benefits while telling employees that the company hasn’t done well enough to support annual employee raises. Why? “Because I’m worth it.” But catch them in a down year, and don’t be surprised when they ask others to “share the pain.”
You’ve got my vote (as long as it doesn’t affect me). Greedy people have strong opinions about issues but expect others to shoulder the burdens. These hypocrites believe that our country should go to war, as long as we send someone else’s kid; the deficit should be reduced, as long as it doesn’t affect their pet projects; taxes should be raised, as long as the additional taxes don’t affect their personal pocketbook.
Something for nothing. Greedy people are first in line to ask for more but last in line to make the effort required to earn the rewards. Instead of adopting the view that everyone benefits as the pie gets larger, they view the pie as a constant — there’s only so much to go around. They feel they deserve a larger piece, even at someone else’s expense, and they’re going to take it.
Takes all kinds. Greedy people take things that don’t belong to them even at the expense of friends or colleagues. This can take the form of bluffing their way to an unwarranted promotion or accepting credit for someone else’s idea. They reason that if these losers aren’t smart enough to take the spoils, then the losers don’t deserve them.
Gaming the system. Greedy people look for clever ways or loopholes to outsmart rules and regulations, designed to protect the system, for personal gain. Although their actions may be entirely legal, greedy people evade their responsibilities by offloading the costs to others. Examples include companies that incorporate in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying taxes and politicians who waste hard-earned taxpayer money by conducting “official business” at resort destinations.
Robbing someone’s confidence. Some people bring out the best in others while selfish people focus on themselves. Greedy people make themselves feel better by tearing down other people rather than by helping others feel good about themselves. Greedy people have the ability to suck the oxygen right out of a room.
Borrowing from the future. Greedy people care about their needs today and kick problems down the road. They put band-aids on problems rather than solving the root cause; they buy things that benefit their organization today rather than investing in its future; they borrow to fund their buying addiction and stick others with the bill. Rather than taking the easy way out, parents, political leaders, executives, and the rest of us have a moral responsibility to provide a legacy for those who follow.
We are such a competitive society. We measure success by finishing in first place, making it to the top of our game, and having better toys than our neighbors. We value instant gratification by encouraging people to consume rather than to save for a rainy day. We idolize people who drive expensive cars, wear the latest fashions, and live in luxurious homes. Greedy or not, we all help perpetuate the addiction. When do we ever stress the importance and value of generosity over material wealth? Think about it: If enough people make a small gesture for someone else every day, we could transform the world. Do you spend more time giving or taking?