Greed and Fear

A friend said to me the other day, every decision we is governed either by fear or greed (I’m taking greed to mean wanting something you don’t currently have, there’s nothing mean or miserly about it).

It’s not hard for me to agree with this statement and when I reflect on my own life I’m ashamed (or is it afraid) to admit what drives me has been predominantly fear. This became glaringly apparent to me last year when I ignored my fears and trepidation and moved to Melbourne, with no locked in job and a measly $6000 in savings. Since then I have taken more risks, largely risks driven by money (a.k.a. greed) and as such have reaped far more rewards. I took on a trade market for my handmade jewellery business, which I never would have believed I was ready for, but I was invited to apply (The most likely became familiar with me due to the Melbourne move) and so I took the risk. I did the hard work and was ready in time for the market. I booked more than enough orders to cover the cost of doing the market and continued to take orders throughout the rest of the year. I worked two jobs at once something the previous year I thought would be beyond me. And I was offered a job by an acquaintance I made at a workshop when I first moved. I jumped on it and broadened my experience from retail to admin and it became my primary source of income. All courageous and greedy steps forward.

Unfortunately (though fortune has little to do with it) in the last six or so months I have fallen back into old habits. Moving out of my apartment in Melbourne (with the intention of moving into a more cost effective share house) and leaving one of my jobs (with the intention of finding something more rewarding) I visited my parents in Brisbane for a week. This was in July and I’m still there now. What happened? Well the fear got me. The fear of being rejected by yet another share house, the fear of not finding a better job, the fear of not making any friends. It was far easier and safer to stay with mum and dad who would take care of me if and when the money ran out, and catch up with my high school friends who I didn’t have to struggle to get to know. It took months to accept that this was what I was doing, that I was running away from life just like I’d hid from it post high school. I like to think the greed is kicking in again now. I’ve applied to a lot of jobs across different cities and in different fields, I’m asking people to ‘activities’ instead of just dinner and I’m reading books like Getting it Together by Noel Whittaker. There is one area, however, where greed has never kicked in and that’s lurve (I say lurve instead of love because I’m afraid of being taken too seriously).

Until last month I was a chronic friend zoner and relationship avoider. Last month everything changed. Last month I had a fling. The reason I didn’t dodge this guy’s kisses with a carefully time karate roll? Because it was casual and it had a locked in end date (I was visiting a friend interstate). This alleviated my life long fears of rejection, commitment, embarrassment, whatever. The risk wasn’t there so I was free to be greedy and once again the payoff was worth it; fun, sex, conversation, the odd free meal and drinks. It’s possible to look at the negative rewards here, I miss him and the comfort and companionship that goes with a romantic partner (no matter how independent you are, those things are nice to have). But I’m preferring to see my glass as half full. It’s very likely that this taste of what a greedy motivation can give you is what gave me the boost to apply to all those jobs, to get out of house and see some live music and to read that book. I do wish I was confident enough to tell him that I miss him (not quite there yet) but I am moving forward to improve my life. Maybe that’s what decides which motivator we let govern our lives, confidence. I know which I’d prefer and I’m definitely going to be a lot braver and a lot greedier in the future.

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