If you’re like me, maybe you have an easier time admitting to some sins and vices than others.
A few weeks ago, there was an article online talking about how American men are finally dropping the facade and embracing accountability, many of them through mastermind groups. That’s very encouraging news, but we should be equally aware that owning poor behavior is one thing; taking responsibility for shameful motives is another.
Greed is not something I categorize as a behavior. It’s a motive, and it’s known for eliciting disgust from people who see it in action. Like pride or envy, this is an internal drive that is very difficult for people to confess.
Based on public outrage against people like Bernie Madoff, Martha Stewart or Martin Shkreli, the disgraced CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals … who wants to admit to greed? MSNBC even has an ongoing series, “American Greed,” where they target businesspeople who engage in shady transactions or cheat employees out of wages.
Greedy Joe Public
Now those are definite, extreme examples of greed, there’s no question. But if I knowmy Bible, I’m going to hazard a guess that most of the people pointing their fingers also harbor the same motive. We need only turn on the news the day after Thanksgiving to see what happens when people with a fraction of that wealth and influence get overcome by the same problem.
Which brings us to you, the reader. Would you classify yourself as at least susceptible to this insidious plague? Even if you don’t get into fistfights at Walmart on Black Friday … do you harbor lustful thoughts of accumulating possessions? Do you dream of buying the boat, the luxury villa, the sports car or the private jet?
We need to be very careful about why we want those things. So seldom do people actually own them with a perfect detachment from the message they carry. Not to mention that it’s 2020 - you can now rent most of those things to discover what many wealthy people already know … the two best days in life are the day you buy the boat and the day you sell it!
Greed Chokes When Exposed
Our online mastermind groups are a powerful antidote to greed. A member who recently achieved some professional breakthrough told me, “Big A, if it wasn’t for the fact that I have to choose between lying to your faces or being honest about what’s motivating me, I’d have nursed greed until it gave birth to sin.”
Maybe this explains why we’re so particular about who comes into our circle. We never judge our members’ motives, but we deduce a lot from their behavior. This would “thin the herd” of any master mind group. There will always be people who simply aren’t comfortable exposing their hearts. But for those who do, there’s a tremendous reward.
As if it needs saying, we love high-end experiences and white glove service at View From the Top. We are not at all opposed to the finer things in life. It’s our knowledge of how easily these things become idols to us that compels us not to trust our own eyes. As one of my business coaches reminded me, “Man’s eyes are never satisfied.”
Look With Your Ears
My friend Rabbi Daniel Lapin shouts this in his books, podcasts and speeches: responsible men lead with their heads, not their hearts. He’s not talking, by the way, about your spirit or your attitude. He’s mainly referring to our default nature, our lower self. The emotionally-driven, capricious, inner “little dictator” who wants life handed over on a silver platter without any responsibility.
Another pearl of wisdom I got from the rabbi is this: our eyes are the emotional inlets to our soul. What we see evokes visceral responses.
Our ears, however, are entirely different. Did you know that the ears play a central role in maintaining our physical balance? By interpreting the sound waves around us, the ears actually play a role in helping us walk upright. I find myself agreeing with Rabbi Lapin that this is not accidental. We are designed this way to teach us to process the world through what we read and listen to rather than what we see or watch.
All this to say, paying careful attention to the thoughts we think will help us to identify when greed is whispering. Joining an online mastermind group stacks the deck even more in your favor. Your lower self becomes very ineffective when he spends most of his time dodging prosecution from your higher self, with reinforcement from your fellow members.
Greed’s Got No Case
Whatever you might secretly desire, I want you to also take a moment to remember who you are. Especially married men with families. That was “then”; this is “now.” If you’re married and have children, there’s no getting around it. Your life is no longer strictly about yourself, your desires or your interests.
You’ve transitioned into a long season where decisions you make have immense consequences. They can affect whether you have a healthy marriage, what your kids grow up believing about themselves and the success or failure of your business.
Most men - myself included - are slow learners. We misinterpret the new “fences” in our lives as punishment. Unless we have a mentor or coach, or we’re part of a committed fellowship through mastermind groups online, these pivotal years can go horribly wrong. For many a man, that’s exactly what they do.
Greed has no place in the life of any man, but especially one worshiping God, leading a family and building a business.