Some lessons are so important that they withstand the test of time. Remember Aesop’s fable The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg? It’s about a countryman who had a goose that laid a golden egg each day. Unfortunately, the greedy countryman grew impatient because he wasn’t getting rich fast enough. So he killed the goose, hoping to retrieve all the eggs at once. When he cut it open, not only weren’t there any eggs, but the precious goose was gone forever. Selfish people are losers.
Have we learned anything from this classic fable? Based on our actions, the answer is no. Just as the countryman killed the goose, selfish people are so greedy and short-sighted that they make decisions against their own interests every day.
Selfish people are so blinded by their greed they can’t see that they’re hurting themselves.
9 Reasons Why Greed Is a Losing Proposition
Some folks are so greedy that they refuse to spend the time, money, or effort in areas that don’t produce an immediate pot of gold. Here are 9 examples:
Taking things for granted. Instead of appreciating the wonderful things in your life, you fail to show gratitude, and put all those things in jeopardy.
Letting your assets deteriorate. Instead of keeping equipment in good working order, you scrap preventive maintenance to save some money, and end up rendering it unusable.
Maximizing short-term profits. Instead of focusing on long-term customer relationships, you try to make a quick buck, and jeopardize future business.
Failing to invest in people. Instead of investing in employee training, you slash the budget, and end up with an incompetent workforce.
Ignoring things that you can’t see. Instead of building healthy relationships, you think only of yourself, and lose the confidence, trust, and respect of others.
Spending more than you make. Instead of accumulating assets that provide returns “forever,” you squander the capital, and forfeit that income.
Breaking someone’s heart. Instead of showing loyalty and commitment, you cheat on people, and wreck your relationship.
Surrendering control of your destiny. Instead of owning your life and controlling your future, you shirk your responsibility, and let yourself become dependent on others.
Selling your soul. Instead of living with honor and integrity, you do something underhanded to make easy money, and flush your reputation down the toilet.
The Moral of This Story
Value every golden opportunity. When you have an asset that keeps on giving, nurture it so that it never loses its value.
Discover the real value of money. Money should never become the cornerstone of your life nor should it define you as a person. It’s not what you have, but who you are that counts.
Know the meaning of enough. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. Base your satisfaction on what you have rather than on what you don’t have.
Remember, money is only one form of wealth. You’re rich when you discover that some of the best things in life — deep relationships, abundant memories, peace of mind — are free.
Treasure things you can’t see. Some of life’s most precious assets are intangible. Examples include trust, loyalty, love, honor, and your reputation.
Invest in your personal growth. Unless you learn something new every day, you’ll become obsolete.
Raise good kids. As Frederick Douglass, the American statesman, said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
Be grateful and give thanks. When you take things for granted, you place them in jeopardy. Therefore, don’t get upset after you lose them; appreciate them beforehand.
Invest in your future. Everything you do today will impact your tomorrow. Ready or not, the future will happen.
Create Your Own Fairy-tale Ending
Selfish people are blinded by their greed and their appetite for more. They cut corners, take shortcuts, and refuse to make the sacrifices required to succeed. They don’t think about, nor do they care, how their actions affect others. They believe that if they act this way, they’ll get what they want — and that’s the only thing that matters to them. The result, however, is just the opposite.
It doesn’t matter whether you want to grow a business, build trusting relationships, or lead a happy and successful life — you’ll never get what you want by being greedy and selfish. It may sound trite, but success comes from living with honor and doing what’s right. Period. When you live a principled life, you don’t have to be malicious, unscrupulous or self-centered to get what you want — as you sow, so shall you reap. What’s more, you’ll receive one of the greatest gifts of all — self-respect. No amount of money can buy that. You earn it by living a life that makes you proud.
Do You Think Selfish People Are Losers?
Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information.
The Many Faces of Greed
Being Generous Doesn’t Cost a Penny
Do You Take It for Granted?
Are You Grateful?
Does It Pay to Be Ethical?
Karma: Make Your Own Luck
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I agree selfish people lose out on the important things in life that really matter, but not financially.
Most of the self made rich I’ve met in America stuck me as very selfish. The reason I think is simple: To get rich (financially), you have to think about how every transaction or business deal benefits you personally. That’s not to say they can’t be generous or give back time and effort to the community from time to time. But the majority, most deals, the core of what they really do is based on getting and attaining wealth, not giving back.
It’s extremely difficult to add morality to the exercise of running a business and have one that’s financially successful. I think the best we can do as business owners with a conscience is to have ethics. Maybe not to sell cigarettes or things that are outright bad. But to add considerations of morality into every business decision becomes exhausting.
Business is based on fulfilling wants, giving people what they want, but not really what they need. If my customers want cheap soda in 32oz Styrofoam cups, which is bad for the environment and bad for their health, well, is it selfish to sell it to them? If you run a gas station and take away junk food and soft drink sales, there goes about all your high margin revenues.
The problem with not being selfish, is that if you’re not selfish, you’ll starve and go broke. Then you become a victim. Then it’s as if you own life, wellbeing, and finances are not a worthy cause. Not to say too much selfishness and greed isn’t bad for ourselves and society.
Frank Sonnenberg says
I hear what you’re saying. My guess is that many people would agree with your sentiment.
I’ve experienced first-hand that being selfish in business is a losing proposition. I was a founding member of a marketing group in a highly competitive marketplace — the New York metropolitan area. We catered to large, well-respected companies, many of which you’ve heard of. We didn’t just talk about putting the customer first. We demonstrated it day in and day out. For example, instead of billing clients for the hours that we worked on an assignment, we gave them an estimate beforehand and honored the quote. (The way we saw it, companies that bill by the hour get paid more for being inefficient.) Moreover, if the assignment came in under budget, we often passed the savings on to the client. Conversely, if we exceeded the client’s estimate, we ate the costs. In addition, instead of spending money on our marketing, we found ways to add additional value to our existing clients. We didn’t do that to generate business, we did it because that’s what we’d want if we were in their shoes. Did that cost us? You bet. But the goodwill that was generated and the trust that was built was extraordinary. In fact, business with existing clients exploded and spread to other organizations through word of mouth. Last but not least, whenever our folks had any downtime, we did pro-bono work for not-for-profit organizations. I could go on and on giving you examples of how doing the right thing came back to us, but I think I made my point. I believe that doing right by your customers can have a significant impact on the bottom line. But we didn’t do it for that reason. It just worked out that way.
Thanks for taking the time to write.