Life of Greed V/s Life of Generosity
“be crazy, be mad…but be REALISTIC”
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” M.K Gandhi
I wish I had that, I wish I was a billionaire, I wish it was mine…. knowingly, it’s not going to be enough at all, nevertheless, we wish for the wishes to come true, it’s like ‘The more you have, the more you crave.’ It’s so truly said in the quote above that greed can never be satisfied even if your plate is full. However, the list of our materialistic wishes is endless and there is no full stop to it. In doing so, we forget to appreciate people and life around us and tend to become a relentless avarice.
Pragmatically speaking our materialistic desires are momentary and unsatisfying. We tend to become shortsighted and try to find happiness in things rather than contemplating on the inner feelings which may lead to eternal happiness. Something which is impermanent can’t give us long term happiness, moreover when it comes to tangible things it can be precisely said that money can’t replace happiness at least, if so then King Midas (a story mentioned below) would have been the happiest person ever. It is just we have tuned ourselves to, we are happy when we get something and we become unhappy when we lose that particular thing.
One must be passionate about becoming rich but be satisfied at one point and must not accumulate wealth on people’s cost, i.e. if you earn wealth and lose your significant others it’s not a victory at all. A good leader is one who grows along with his people not alone because there is no pleasure in reaching the top of the mountain where you find yourself alone and miserable. Just 5 small practices I can suggest to dissociate greed from your life:
- Always give credit to others.
- Think about others first and last about yourself.
- Praise others genuinely and never hesitate to praise a job well done.
- Be empathetic and be realistic.
- Work one day a week without any expectation of material gain.
Happiness isn’t a tangible thing you can buy in an online sale. If want to buy something that will lead to happiness then spend on experiences (not things). The joy of buying stuff fades over time as you get used to having it. But spending on experiences will help you get closer to the people you care about, and provide you with a positive memory that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life. As Sachin Tendulkar once said that, “In the end the entire success has no value if there is no satisfaction in life.”
I have witnessed many times when I read or interact with people who have accumulated overwhelming wealth, in the beginning they didn’t care much about people instead followed unfair means to increase their wealth but now when they have earned enough money they start believing in donations, helping others, bribing God etc. just to compensate for their non-ethical approach. Since most of them are in their 60s and now they say, “I wish I was of your age, I would have done that and so on…” To establish this notion, you might have heard about unaccounted money people leave in temples; they can’t even tell God from where that money has come. They are most worried and fearful people just because they don’t want to lose that wealth. Guru Nanak Dev ji said it so right when he said — ‘Bade Bade jo disay log, unko vyapey chinta rog’. (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji) (Those who are rich they are always in tension to lose it)
On the other hand you might have seen youngsters cleaning their societies, colleges, some are willing to work for NGOs, some are offering free services at Temples and some are offering food, blankets, shelter to the needy. Not to speak much I would like to present one example i.e. Anshu Gupta who started The GOONJ in 1999, who has worked exceptionally by offering his services to the underprivileged and needy people. It recycles discarded clothes and household goods into useful products for the poor, such as sanitary napkins. It collects and delivers 1,000 tons of material every year through a network of 500 volunteers and 250 partners. It also runs infrastructure and local development projects in villages and slum areas.
Similarly there are many good examples from whom we can learn and contribute. But first we need to dispel our old habits and disengage ourselves from such greedy people and organizations we are engaged with then only we can learn to put people first. Remember, “The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.”
One can’t be a good human being if he/she can’t become a human first who has emotions, who is caring and who can sympathize with others.
What is the point of eating that food; if you do not enjoy it 100%. It’s better to have one good friend than 10 greedy people around you.
A reputed cardiologist shared a very staring statistic with me yesterday when he told me that ‘Greater than 50% of cardiac patients in his hospital are aged less than 40.’ This is the lifestyle they have been habituated to which is full of desires, greed and zero satisfaction. People have become so addicted to material things that they don’t have heart to lose a penny. Therefore, more isn’t always better, in fact it’s good to have Less stuff which leads to Less clutter and eventually Less stress in life.
On greed and wish for material things I would like to share the story of The most famous King Midas is popularly remembered in Greek mythology for his ability to turn everything he touched into gold. This came to be called the golden touch, or the Midas touch.
THE STORY OF KING MIDAS – The Midas Touch
King Midas was a very rich man. He lived in a castle with his daughter Phillomena. Even though he was very rich, Midas thought that his greatest happiness was provided by gold. His avarice was such that he used to spend his days counting his golden coins! Occasionally he used to cover his body with gold objects, as if he wanted to bath in them. Money was his obsession.
One day, Dionyssus, the god of wine and revelry, passed through the kingdom of Midas. One of his companions got delayed along the way. The companion got tired and decided to linger in the famous rose gardens surrounding the palace of king Midas. Who was later found by the king, as he recognized him instantly and invited him to spend a few days at his palace. After that, Midas took him to Dionyssus. The god was very grateful to Midas for his kindness, promised Midas to satisfy any wish of him. “I hope that everything I touch becomes gold.” said Midas. Then he would be the richest man in the world.
The god kept his promise and sure enough, everything Midas touched turned to gold. The King happily went round his palace using his new power. But King Midas wish turned against him. He found that he couldn’t eat or drink as all his food and wine turned to gold when he touched it! Midas begged Dionysus to remove the spell. The god heard Midas and felt sorry for him. He told Midas to go to river Pactolus and wash his hands. Midas did so: he ran to the river and was astonished to see gold flowing from his hands. When he turned home, everything Midas had touched had become normal again. From now on, Midas became a better person, generous and grateful for all goods of his life only after realizing that Gold is not a lifeline ever. In fact, he gave up greed and lived happily.
Inspiring stories always end well, learn to be more empathetic grow more as an individual. Learn to uplift others, by bringing happiness to others you are bringing happiness to the society at large. Promise yourself to have at lease one happy moment each day. The best feeling of happiness is when you are happy because you have made somebody else happy and it can only happen when you stop wishing for things and start experiencing, what I call ‘Happy Moments’