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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Why It Pays to Shun Greed

“Make yourself an honest man and then you may be sure there is one rascal less in the world.” –Thomas Carlyle

People do unethical things more out of greed than anything else. It is because of greed that people cut corners, cheat and generally do things that demean their persons and put their businesses in jeopardy. Greed makes people shun ethics, bend the truth, take undue and unnecessary risks for instant gratification. It is greed that lures people into gambling and many other negative vices. Remember the parable of the straw that broke the camel’s back? That is what greed does to the greedy. The following story best illustrates the danger of excessive greed.

“A wealthy farmer was once offered all the land he could walk on in a day provided he returned by sundown to the point at which he started. To get a head start, early the next morning, the farmer started covering ground quickly because he wanted to get as much land as he could. Even though he was tired, he kept going all afternoon because he didn’t want to lose this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain more wealth. Late in the afternoon, he remembered that the condition he had to fulfill to get the land was to get back to the starting point by sundown. His greed had gotten him far from the starting point. He started his return journey, keeping an eye on how close he was to sundown. The closer it got to sundown, the faster he ran. He was exhausted and out of breath and he pushed himself beyond the point of endurance. He collapsed upon reaching the starting point and died. He did make it before sundown. He was buried and all the land he needed was a small plot.” Adapted from Shiv Khera, “You can Win”

Let me add that even though this farmer was already wealthy before this extremely greedy adventure, no portion of his wealth followed him into the grave.

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