In 1987 Gordon Gekko said legendary words in the famous movie called Wallstreet: ”Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.” These words are certainly striking and I must admit there is some truth in those words. However, i also think that there is a lot more to say about greed that are quite opposite.
One alternative view to greed is served by Indian spiritual master Meher Baba who describes greed in the following way: ”Greed is a state of restlessness of the heart, and it consists mainly of craving for power and possessions. Possessions and power are sought for the fulfillment of desires. Man is only partially satisfied in his attempt to have the fulfillment of his desires, and this partial satisfaction fans and increases the flame of craving instead of extinguishing it. Thus greed always finds an endless field of conquest and leaves the man endlessly dissatisfied. The chief expressions of greed are related to the emotional part of man.” And again, these words make a lot sense to me as well. I can sense a plenty of contradictions when i think of greed: on one hand some positive and on one hand some negative.
Greed is probably the second best known trading ”emotion” after fear. I intentionally used ”” to highlight that greed is actually not considered to be a ”pure” emotion. Wikipedia describes greed in the following way: ”Greed is an inordinate or insatiable longing for material gain, be it food, money, status, or power. As a secular psychological concept, greed is an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs. The degree of inordinance is related to the inability to control the reformulation of ”wants” once desired ”needs” are eliminated. Erich Fromm described greed as ”a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.”
I would add that greed goes together with desires & wants and when human chases his/her wants, it usually leaves human empty and unfulfilled. In psychological literature there is a much bigger consensus, that trying to fulfill one’s needs will lead to more fulfilling and satisfying life. Probably the most famous defender of human needs is Abraham Maslow who studied human motivation and his academic works led to establishment of ”Maslow’s hierarchy of needs”. My experience is, that when human is running after his/her wants, he/she is endlessly running and it seems that he/she will never get enough what he/she wants. I like how my mentor has put this paradox: human can never get enough what he/she doesnt need. (Example: Person might want to go to Thailand for a holiday, but all he/she needs is a rest. He/she could take a rest at home as well.)
To sum it up: Greed is something that investor can benefit from in trading but greed can also be harmful – especially in ”real life”. Therefore, to attain best possible wellbeing (work-life-balance), one should be careful with greed. Or to say it better: one should be more aware of greed in order to master it better. So perhaps cultivate your greediness in a delicate way in investments. Then, when you are off from trading (i know this can be difficult to ones who like/”are forced” to trade 24h), you could work on your boundaries, and try not to be greedy. When you are spending time with your family, friends, relatives, co-workers, practice not to be that greedy and selfish. And furthermore: you could try fulfilling your needs instead of wants and see what happens. If you succeed in this, you are probably one step closer to better work-life balance and wellbeing.