There is a kind of greed that envelops us all – the greed of achievement. We all feel the intense pressure to achieve something, to make something of ourselves. We have known it all our lives, so it feels normal.
This kind of greed is useful. Because of it, we have everything that we have, the society around us, the jobs and professionals, the gadgets, the technology, and so on. The greed has given us movies, books, music, cultural artifacts and all the experiences that add that intangible etheric value to our lives.
But in a time of over abundance of everything, perhaps we should question this greed; rein it in a little bit. I walk into my local bookstore and I see thousands of books and publications. And I always think to myself “Where did it all come from? Why are people writing so damn much? How many of these would be read? How much of this is just going to end up in landfill? How much of this is even useful? “
It gets worse when I go into a place like a Christian bookstore. I see thousands of books on so many different ideas and ‘revelations’ and doctrines all stemming ‘supposedly’ from one book (The Bible). And this one book itself has many translations, sizes, kid versions, teen versions, family versions, ad infinitum.
There is just so much stuff.
And we feel like we should do so much stuff as well. Especially if you have the fortunate misfortune of being told how special and gifted you are, or how much potential you have. Then you begin to feel like you ought to start a few companies, write half a dozen books, build a foundation, launch a clothing line…do this and do that.
Because this is what it means to be successful? Because our idols have done the same, so we must follow suit? Such extremely high standards may have the potential to spur us to great action, but it has the high risk of significantly adversely affecting our happiness.
Because the motivation is all wrong.
So people begin to set all these arbitrary goals and targets for themselves. If they are not millionaires by a certain age, they are failures. If they are not like Mr. Mogul with a real estate empire spanning all 7 continents, they are not good enough. These are reasons of pride, envy and covetousness. It is so easy to fall into this trap. We live in the society of the spectacle. Media exalts the superstars, the super rich, the super famous, the super talented, the super everything.
We forget we are quite super already, quite extraordinary creatures, flawed sometimes, problematic yes, but ultimately exquisite and beautiful people.
Achievement is an amazing thing. Every person must endeavor to meet his/her potential. But whatever you choose to do, and however you choose to explore your potential, let it be something you do first and foremost for you. Do it because you have no other way you could live. Do it because even if you did it all your life without recognition or appreciation, you would still do it. Do it because it is your destiny. Do it for the love.
That’s the right motivation.