We all have that one friend whose three wishes involve having three more. And we’ve seen the same storyline repeatedly, whether in real life or the screen: man acquires excessive wealth and power and goes hungry for more.
He lies, cheats, and steps on people for the sake of the goal. You could be his twin brother or the best man at his wedding. He’s not sparing anyone.
Nothing will ever be enough. And yes, we’ve all been there at some point.
Among all these seven deadly sins, you have to put greed up there as one that could quite literally shed your life into fine pieces. It will blind and rob you of any semblance of logic.
Letting it consume you would be a fatal mistake. Go in deep, and you’re not getting out of there alive.
I’m starting to think that humans have greed hardwired into our systems. It’s an irredeemable trait to possess, but it seems to run deep in our psyché.
I wanted answers, so I contacted an expert who knows what they’re talking about.
Why Is It Never Enough?
We’re all built differently, and how that looks comes from a person’s core beliefs. Your core, fundamental truths. Some of them, admit it or not, border on delusion.
I don’t see anything wrong about having a drop of narcissism in your blood. Just the right amount to make you aim for the stars. Or, at the very least, make you get off your ass and do something with your life for a change.
But if and when you get to the top – with all the fame, fortune, and power that comes with it – where is the ceiling? Do you even have one? How do you define perfection?
I’m willing to bet the farm that achieving the summit of whatever you’re pinning for is never enough for many of you. But why?
Dr. Raffaello Antonino has been in the game as a Counseling Psychologist in the U.K. for over a decade. He first brought up the power of core beliefs in shaping an individual.
“These often unconscious beliefs, which Cognitive Behavioural Therapy calls ‘Core Beliefs’, may silently dictate us how life should look like: ‘I should get X amount of money by Y age to consider myself successful.’
“They can also inform our direction in life and our own meaning: ‘I’ll only be satisfied with myself only if I achieve this level of fame, or that social position’.
‘A Never-Ending Cycle of Achieving’
It’s one thing to want to achieve something. But like anything in life, all excessive endeavors will never end pretty. In this case, accomplishments could ironically leave you feeling empty.
“Indeed, once you do get ‘there’ and fulfill those desires, it’s likely you only briefly experience a sense of completeness, which is soon replaced by the next target to achieve.
“It’s a never-ending cycle of achieving, not feeling it is enough (or that you’re not good enough) and desiring to achieve even more.”
According to Dr. Antonino, this deep well of desire (in the worst way possible) could either be one’s defense mechanism or the fear of losing it all. And it can become problematic once you go down that road.
“In regard to money, the act of accumulating and gaining more and more may be very attractive to our ego, providing a defense against fears that what we’ve built and accumulated could be all lost and ’taken away’.
“Furthermore, continuing to accumulate fame, power, or money, may represent the first line of defense from a deeply seated fear of being an ‘imposter’ who’ll eventually be discovered as a ‘fraud’ and rejected by others.
“These mechanisms, borne often out of adverse childhood experiences, may lead us to always desire to be one step ahead of all others, so that we can finally feel ‘good enough’ about who we are.”
Where Do You Go From Here?
After reading this far, Dr. Antonino’s explanations likely did one of two things for you: either it was a much-needed backhand slap to the cheek, or it brought you further down the hole of denial. Suppose you’re a grown individual capable of making sound life decisions.
Let me applaud you in advance if you’re part of the former. You’re on the right track. Recognizing a problem is always the first step to progress, after all.
But where do you go from here? How do you get out of that mindset where your fortunes and indulgences are never enough?
Here’s How You Get It Together
I won’t be on a high horse and say I never lusted over the idea of looking down on everyone else from the top of the mountain. And I think I can speak for everyone who aspires for success in some form.
But there’s a certain point in life where you’ll have to draw a limit line.
If you ask me, it’s simple in theory. Putting it practice? That’s an entirely different story. It will take a lot of introspection, looking deep within, and asking yourself one important question: Is this something I need?
Believe it or not, people will go through adult lives not knowing the differences between needs and wants. Sadly, a home mortgage and a flashy new vehicle fall under the same category.
But it takes a lot of maturing and tough decision-making to tell yourself, ‘I’m good with a modest 2,000 square feet house with three bedrooms, two baths, and a two-car garage.’
Better yet, continue to question yourself: Do I really need $50 million in my bank account? Will all the power in the world make me feel content? Why is it never enough?
A great man once said, ‘You’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse.’ Perhaps that’s something we can all live by.