In this mini-series, we discuss in detail what we believe to be the Seven Deadly Sins that stop Business growth in it’s tracks.  You will find these lessons to be applicable in professional and personal application.

Missed the First Deadly Sin?  Catch up here.

Missed the Second Deadly Sin?  Catch up here.

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Sin No. 3: Greed

What is greed?  Why is it bad?  Isn’t the desire to progress noble?  When gaining an understanding of a topic, I like to play devil’s advocate.  Over the last week, I have asked these questions to more than a handful of people.  I was amazed at how many people would pull out their phones to search what we consider the definition of a word before responding.  I love this!  Really, in this context I don’t care what the written definition of the word is.  I am more interested in people’s perception of the word, how it makes them feel, and why they frown upon words like greed.

When I was asked to define greed, I responded that greed is the insatiable, selfish craving for items that leverage power over others.  It is a relentless search to satisfy what we think is a need, and no matter how much is gained; the thirst is never quenched.  Most often, this is tied to money.

“There is sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.”  – Mahatma Gandhi

The Lorax

Perhaps it is because I am a father to young children that the example of the Lorax pops into my head.  Maybe it was inevitable because of the number of times we have watched this movie.  However, I feel it is a powerful example of the negative implications of greed.  I recommend reading the book or watching the movie if you are unfamiliar with it’s message.  I will try my best to summarize it.

The story begins in Thneedville which is in a land with no nature, zero.  Trees and flowers are inflatable contraptions that fill with air each morning.  A young man in the story is trying to impress a young girl, of course.  She is obsessed with trees.  Real trees.  Ted, the young man, sets out on an adventure to find her a tree.  What he finds is a story, a story told by a mysterious individual known as the Once-ler.  The story of how Thneedville came to be devoid of nature, and how the Once-ler was the cause of it.  Ted is told the area used to be a paradise of sorts.  A variety of tree called a Truffula used to grow in great abundance, until it was discovered – by the Once-ler – that Truffula trees were the perfect material for an invention called a Thneed.  To fuel a young man’s greed, he destroys the entire region.  He cuts down every single tree to make a product out of them.  The Lorax, known as the guardian who speaks for the trees, tries to stop the Once-ler before he cuts down all of the trees.  What he is left with in the end is no more resources to make money, and a desolate environment incapable of supporting wildlife.  Indeed, a man’s greed was the downfall of many.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. Its not.” – The Lorax

There is a reason I love this story, it causes forward thinking and inward reflection.  The forward thinking causes you to ask yourself questions such as: is my goal to gain money, or to impact lives?  What will that impact be?  In the book Living Forward by Michael Hyatt, there is an eye opening activity you are walked through.  Essentially, you are asked to write your own eulogy.  The authors cause you to reflect deeply on what people will say about you when you are gone.  Were you a generous, big-hearted person who gave back to the community?  Are you Ebenezer Scrooge before, or after his wake up call?  I would challenge you to reflect on some of these questions, and record your thoughts.

The Why

“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” – Edward Abbey

Truly successful entrepreneurs have a powerful why behind their what and who which ultimately determines the how.  Blake Mycoskie of TOMS shoes illustrates this example.  TOMS was founded after Mycoskie traveled to Argentina in 2006 where he witnessed a great deal of poverty.  He encountered many children who were growing up without any shoes to call their own.  He developed a system where every pair of eyewear he sold, he would give to a person in need, a system he calls One for One.  On TOMS website, it says the company has restored eyesight to over 400,000 people provided over 60 million pairs of shoes to shoeless children.  Mycoskie’s why was to help as many people as he could.  Focusing on others has led him to great success and inspired many along the way.

As entrepreneurs and business owners, what is your why?  How has your why made a difference in your business?


Eskae | Creative Solution Architect @ Creative Business GURU