Sunday, October 2, 2011

Greed: Aiming Higher

One of my readers recently offered me his opinion on greed as a response to my blog Tipping Over and it got me thinking about our individual drives.  What drives us?  What pushes us to do better?  I think this is an awesome question towards which each of us should devote some time discovering the answers.
As always, I would like to use some examples of my own experiences.  This morning, when I arrived at my normal Market Street Starbucks writing spot, I noticed the presence of a marching band and I recognized the director - Jack Allen.  This was Oak Ridge High School, one of the bands for whom I write drill and teach lessons.  As this was the first Sunday of the new month, the regular car show was in progress, and the band is in the midst of raising funds through a car raffle.  What better place to sell raffle tickets than a car show?
If you would like to help the ORHS Band get to
NYC for the parade, click here.
Oak Ridge isn’t just raising funds for operating costs.  They are raising money to help get them to New York City to participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2012.  This isn’t something every band gets to do, rather it is something Jack and his staff decided to pursue.  They decided to aim higher.
The drive to aim higher comes from many different places.  For Oak Ridge, the opportunity offers the students an experience they will remember for a lifetime.  It will help retention from the lower grades into high school, it will help market the band to future ORHS band members, and it will provide some national recognition for the school and the district.
In a different spectrum, the drive to succeed individually is motivated by other forces.  Samantha has just completed her Director in Qualification period with Mary Kay.  As of October 1, she has given herself a promotion, joining the cream of the crop in Mary Kay as an Independent Sales Director.

For Samantha, the drive to achieve this career level originated in many different places.  She loves the opportunity to help women, she loves the opportunity to be in the “big girls club,” and she definitely is fine with the financial benefits that come along with the promotion.  Ultimately, though, her drive came from a sense of belonging paired with the knowledge of a job well done.
Personally, my drive to succeed stems from many different areas.  While I like writing marching band shows, I will freely admit that am driven by the financial angle.  If I write well, I will gain more customers, be able to charge higher rates, and be more secure financially.   
When it comes to writing words, I have two different motivating factors.  The first involves my blog.  I am in a sort of contest with myself, driving myself to find new readers and expand the influence of my words.  I was excited that my September numbers have an average daily readership of 120 people.  While compared to uber-successful blogs, that number is paltry, but for me, that is gigantic.  Considering the number of blogs I wrote in September, I had an average of 600 people reading each.  It is exciting and blows my mind (thank you, by the way).
The other side of writing - my novel - is driven entirely by joy.  I love to write.  I love to craft words.  I love to watch something that I have seen in my mind slowly take shape on the screen of my laptop.
Both the blog and the novel could have future financial implications, but right now, that is so far away that I can’t even really pause to consider the possibility.  I wouldn’t mind being a famous novelist, or even a moderately successful one.  I wouldn’t mind my blog reaching national or international notoriety either.  But, that isn’t what is driving me right now.
For all three situations, Oak Ridge, Samantha, and I, the drive to succeed at our chosen objectives stem from personal satisfaction, some acclaim, and eventual reward.  Is it driven by greed, or is it something different?  
I think to answer this question, we must turn our attention to what greed is and how it operates in our society and within our own psyche.  We will begin to tackle this idea in the next blog.  For now, what are your driving factors?  What motivates you to succeed?     You can start the process of figuring things out on your own today.

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