Want Less Anxiety? Stop Being Greedy

How letting go leads to abundance


The definition of greed is an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power or food. 

The definition of anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease, typically about an imminent event with an uncertain outcome.

Let’s explore a few examples of how greed can hold can us back from being a "lighter" version of who we want to be in 2019.

 Here’s a real life story that pulls together greed (intense desire for something) and anxiety (nervousness about an event with an uncertain outcome):

I sat in my oncologist’s office as he described what would happen as a result of the chemotherapy I would be starting that week. I was told that within two weeks, I would lose all of my hair, and possibly my eyebrows and eyelashes. With hair halfway down my back, this was a terrifying thought.

Anxiety was roaring through my veins like a hungry lion, devouring my inner peace and confidence. Why? Because I had an intense desire to keep something I might lose, so much so that it robbed me of the freedom that comes from my soul's knowing that I am not my physical appearance and that peace would return as I released this intense longing. I never realized that I was greedy for my hair until I lost it.

Now, you may say, "I don't blame you for wanting to keep your hair. I think everyone would feel that way, what's wrong with wanting that?" Nothing—until the longing starts to rob your inner peace and confidence, which directly impacts how you show up in life.

Have you ever experienced greed (a selfish and intense desire for something) resulting in anxiety (worry that you might not get what you intently desire) in the following areas?

  • Time: An intense and selfish desire for another person's time or attention? Or greedy when it comes to your time that results in anxiety: "Stop interrupting me. Can't you see I am busy?"


  • Possessions: Comparing and envying what others have, resulting in greed for more stuff? In the office, there are plenty of opportunities to practice letting go of greed. Greed can wrap its bony little claws around an insatiable desire to possess responses from other people: the need to be right, liked and understood, or possess the “badge of honor,” whatever that honor happens to be in the moment.


  • Power: An intense desire to control your status, popularity and other people. Greed has a heyday in this space, resulting in a mountain of unnecessary anxiety. 


Take Action:

  • Intentionally reflect on the three areas above: time, possessions and power. Observe how the heaviness of anxiety robs your peace and confidence as a result of the serpent of greed this week. Let's put a "totem animal" to greed: a boa constrictor. Greed slithers into your facial expressions, body language and intonation, restricting how you show up in life and resulting in a ‘heavy’ version of you. Look out for the ugly behavior that crashes the scene when greed is restricting your perceptions. Greed commonly fuels mind-reading and impoverished assumptions, not based in reality but fueled by an insatiable desire for more. It will literally suck the life out of you and those around you. 


  • Nail down one behavior you can identify that shows up in the presence of greed. In a nutshell: Acknowledge the behavior. Observe when it shows up. Change the behavior (replace unwanted behavior with a behavior that aligns with a lighter version of you). Evaluate (what do you notice to be different as a result of implementing a new behavior, what are the ramifications of that intentional shift?).


  • For example, let's say when greed crashes your party at a team meeting, you feel overlooked and unnoticed. You may have an intense desire to be included, and when you aren’t, anxiety kicks in. You observe that the behavior that shows up is: stonewalling, withdrawing and being unengaged. You offer a change in behavior by contributing, speaking up and offering your insights rather than being silent. You then evaluate if this change in behavior has positive ramifications resulting in a positive I.O.B. (Impact on Business). 


Regular reflection on the way greed rears its ugly head and causes anxiety will help you prevent being robbed of your inner peace and confidence, resulting in a lighter you.

Categories: Human Resources