Deb Sofield


The Emotion of Greed

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This is the last part in my series on Emotions That Are Causing You Great Harm, and I am going to finish with one emotion that is as dangerous as the one I started with. If you will remember, that was anger, because anger is a cancer to your soul and does great damage to others. So I want to talk about one more emotion that can wreck your life and that is greed. And that’s my theme for today.

Let me do a quick rundown on the emotions I’ve spoken about in this series. If you want to learn more or hear them again, please go to my website,, and click on BLOG and you can see in written form my opening show conversation.

You can also go to iTunes, click “podcast” and type my name (deb sofield) in the subject line at the top, and all my shows will load. The last 8 are this study of emotions.

I started the series with the emotion of anger, and then I talked about the pain of personal shame. Shame is a Failure to Meet Your Own Standard of Behavior. And then I spoke on jealousy, that green-eyed monster that will wreck your perfectly happy home and make you (a normal person) become insane with rage. Then the emotion of worry and I added that worry is a useless emotion, because worry keeps your focus from real things. And then I talked about scarcity, the idea of having less than you feel you need, and how that fear will affect your judgment in all areas of your life if you are not careful… I added the emotion of frustration to the list, because if you have unresolved problems or unfulfilled needs you must step up and make a change for your best life. And last week I spoke on the emotion of fear and the damage fear can do to you if you’re not paying attention to the signs that fear is controlling your life. So, this week, my final study of an emotion that will wreck your life is greed.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes greed as “a selfish and excessive desire for more of something than is needed.”

I also want to remind you that in the Bible greed is one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Recently, I was having lunch with my friend whose name is also Deb, and I asked her (because she is very wise lady with a good name) what emotion had she seen that totally destroyed people she knew and, without batting an eye, she said, greed.

This was interesting, because that was the one emotion that I wasn’t sure I wanted to delve into because it is so messy to me.

If you’re like me, you grew up knowing the value of a dollar and went to work at a young age to make as much money as you could, but there is a difference between those of us who work to make a good living and those who—in a sense—cross that invisible line, the line that is always just one more job away and in pursuit of that next all-mighty dollar. Many times people will leave family and friends behind in the excessive desire for more of something than is needed—again, the definition of greed.

I have no idea how much is enough for you, but I want to caution you about a few issues when it comes to this emotion of greed. Without a doubt, the idea of making good money or finding opportunity starts out innocently enough for you and your family, until one day it stretches across the line, and then greed looks back and erases that line and never looks back again, only forward with one goal in mind—an excessive desire for more.

Before I continue, let me stop here and ask you to please give me a fair hearing today on this topic, and if what I say about greed applies to you or if you are wondering if you are a greedy person, well, you’ll soon know. And since you’ll know, you’ll have a choice to stay the same greedy person that you’ve become, or you will realize how far you’ve allowed yourself to go down into the black hole of greed, and perhaps you can find forgiveness and healing to undo the damage you’ve done. If you are strong enough, maybe you can even backtrack from this destructive path.

I see greed when people purposefully don’t share with others so they will be the only one to benefit or, better stated, they have an attitude and selfish desire that It’s all about me. I saw this with a friend once who would never tell anyone where she got her clothes altered, because, she said, she never wanted to have to wait for the seamstress who had to do work for others when she needed something done. She just wanted the lady for herself, which is psycho when you think about it, because the seamstress would go out of business just working for one person. Selfish, greedy, unbecoming—those are just a few of the words that describe this bizarre behavior when someone shows a selfish and excessive desire for more of something than is needed. Friends, if you think it is all about you…you are greedy.

I had a friend who had a great doctor, and yet he would not tell anyone of the great physical success he had since he didn’t want to wait to be seen when he was ill. When I hear stories like that, usually the person is “joking” (and I put that in quotes to draw attention to it), but they’re not. They are greedy, and what really is damning is that in their greed they cause harm to others. I think it is inexcusable, and what is odd is that if someone did that to them—not tell them of a great doctor or amazing seamstress—they would be screaming about how unfair and unkind and greedy that person is, but somehow, when they are in control, they are proud of their secret… and that is just crazy behavior.

I also see greed when people cherish things more than people or relationships. This greed really hurts family and friends, because they don’t understand the need to have more than you’ve already got since you’re probably on top of the world as it is. Once again, it never starts out that way, but, over time, when you spend an inordinate amount of time on the boat, the car, the computer or any other job or hobby that takes valuable time away from family and friends… admit it, you cherish things more than relationships. And the question is, “Why?” Because at some point you’ll have it all—all by yourself—and, really, that’s no fun. Let me remind you that the joy of life is in sharing the wealth—the opportunities and ideas—so, as they say, all boats rise. It’s safe to say you can’t take it with you, so why are you investing your extra time and energy on material goods, when you could be investing in people?

Now don’t tell me you’re doing this for your family—that’s a lie that you’ve told yourself. You’re working more hours and more jobs and more of everything to provide more for you, to meet this insatiable desire to be king of the hill, man about town or the beautiful social butterfly. Just own up to it, if it is the truth. Good luck with that greedy behavior. It’s never going to be enough, and you living in your own head, well, that’s going to be a lonely place, and your only hope is to buy your new friends. When the money runs out, so will they.

I also see greed in what I call living life as a spectator. I find it greedy when people just want to watch and not pitch in and help. Have you ever had friends or co-workers who just wanted to come to the party or meeting but would never join in the conversation, saying that they were just listening? I find that, many times, it is a calculating demand for attention, but without being an active participant. These people never do their part, but expect everyone else to do the work, and then they want to benefit from the work of others. That’s the old want something for nothing attitude that no one admires. It’s not professional, and not appreciated by those who are doing the heavy lifting. Nowhere in life does it say you get a free lunch—you’re not that special. Get off your high horse and get to work, pull your weight, be a part of the team and not on the sidelines. It’s a greedy, selfish attitude only wanting to jump in and lead the parade when the sun is shining. Hey, guess what? All your former friends know you do that, and we’re still not impressed (no matter how wealthy you are). When you live life as a spectator, you’re a leech—a greedy, non-working, blood sucking leech (that’s a disgusting visual—sorry about that, but that’s what you are). I hate it for you.

Okay, so if any of this reminds you of you, you’ve got a problem, my friend. You are greedy, and that is ugly with a capital U.

So, now you have to make a choice: You can continue on your greedy path of a selfish and excessive desire for more of something than is needed. Or you make a u-turn…You’re in the driver’s seat.

Today you have 3 choices: Starting today, you can share with others so all will benefit. You can figure out how to cherish people and relationships more than things. And you can stop living life as a spectator, and join in and be a part of the solution.

With all the good you can bring to the table, I can almost guarantee you would be welcome with open arms—the arms of the friends and family who would like to have you back from the edge of your self-made disaster.

Choose wisely, my friend, your future depends on it.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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