Does the World Revolve around Envy and Not Greed?

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

I was down in Miami Beach last week for a conference with 60 or so Family Office leaders discussing ways to strengthen family bonds, help the next generation of leaders assume responsibilities, and examine investment opportunities for those wealthy families.

I also took time to walk the beach, photograph some sunrises, and enjoy dining al fresco to enjoy the warm Florida air. It was a balmy 50 in Pittsburgh, and Sheila teased me that she could almost dine outside herself…but she didn’t.

As I walked on the beach, I could not help thinking how great it would be to have one of those apartments on Ocean Drive, looking out at the Atlantic Ocean and enjoying those early morning beach walks. I found myself experiencing some envy towards those folks able to afford one of those multi-million-dollar condos. I swished that thought around my head for a few minutes, and then decided that the green of envy is not a becoming color on me.

During the day, conference participants shared personal and family struggles. It became clear that no matter how much money one has, that does not exclude them from life’s many challenges. This reinforced, for me, that while I may covet what looks like other’s  good fortunes, I should recognize that their lives are just as precarious as mine.

Then, as I was writing this blog, I saw a post from Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet’s partner.  He shared his belief that the world is not driven by greed but envy. It is that desire to have what someone else possesses (like an apartment on the beach) rather than appreciating what we have in our lives that drives the world. My coach always emphasizes in his programs with my global consulting community to remember TIAABB (There is Always a Bigger Boat).

During this holiday season, I will spend my time with family, friends, and colleagues honoring how what is present in my life is the gift I want to share with myself and others. It’s perhaps the best kind of self-care I can do for myself and others.

© Richard Citrin 2022

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