Does It Pay to be Greedy?

It’s okay to be stupid if you’re not greedy. It’s okay to be greedy if you’re not stupid. But it’s never okay to be greedy and stupid.

George said that’s why he’s never been greedy. A man has to no his limitations!


Bridge over troubled waters

But greed is a bit like confidence and cockiness. Picture a bridge … on this side of the water, we’re confident. But cross the bridge and we’re cocky. We adore confidence; we despise cockiness. And this bridge between the two can be very short. Of course, some people go way over to the other side. 

That’s also true with greed. There’s a short bridge between ambition and greed. It pays to get right up to the bridge … that’s where you’ll find bigg success.

But don’t go over it … that’s where mistakes are made.

This applies to our businesses, our careers, and our personal finances. If your goal is to achieve bigg things, you have to think and dream bigg.

But don’t cross the bridge, because greed is like a drug. Once a person starts, it’s hard to stop. Once they’re in deep, they start to do stupid things because they have to feed the addiction … the greed.

In this context, stupid means that someone isn’t thinking logically. They’re letting emotions rule the day, not making decisions based on the facts. They start thinking like a gambler, just rolling the dice and hoping for the best. 

A recent example

A great example is the most recent real estate boom. George has a friend who invests in real estate. During the boom, George saw some market data about returns on real estate investments. He didn’t think it made sense because the returns were projected at a lower rate than the known cost. So George asked his friend about it. His friend had an explanation that still didn’t make sense. They went around a few times. Finally George’s friend said that you had to count on someone being a bigger sucker than you (those are George’s words), but his friend confirmed it.

Look at what’s happened – a lot of people have lost small (even large) fortunes because of untimely real estate investments. We know the rest of the story. It all came crashing down.

What Warren Buffett says about greed

We’ve said that it’s okay to be ambitious, but don’t be greedy. But it appears that Warren Buffett may disagree with us. Warren Buffett, of course, is the great investor and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. He says,

“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”

So, according to Warren Buffett, there are times when it pays to be greedy. And apparently it pays well because he’s built his career (and his fortune) on being greedy when others were fearful. 

So we say it’s okay to be ambitious, but don’t be greedy. Warren Buffett says you should be greedy when others are afraid.

What do you think … does it pay to be greedy? Leave a Comment to share your opinion.

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4 replies
  1. Pat Drake
    Pat Drake says:

    I have seen many people motivated by sheer greed and it always got them in the end. We recently had to terminate a recruiter because this was her motivation. Didn’t care who she hired – just wanted the bonuses. Unfortunately, such thinking hurts the company and it certainly hurt her resume.

    Reply

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  1. Does It Pay to be Greedy?…

    We have our opinion about greed, but Warren Buffett may disagree with it. Who do you agree with?…

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