Lessons Learned: Greed is a Character Flaw

By | October 17, 2019

[October 17, 2019]  Discussion of the importance of character can be found in ancient texts, intertwined with the fog of ancient history.  Unsurprisingly, character can be found in the modern, high-speed technological prowess we experience today.  Hard work, self-sacrifice, positive attitude, and good judgment are just a few character traits that place the most admired citizen on the highest social plain of respect.  Character dialogues are what define my leadership blog.

“… if a man stoops to greed, he will not be pardoned, but render himself odious as a combination of all [human] vices at once.” – Apollonius of Tyana, charismatic teacher and philosopher

Long recognized as one of the seven vices within Christianity, greed has made its mark in the annals of human existence.  Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.  It is the very source of non-ending evils in this world: corruption, envy, vanity, avarice, and the endless pursuit of material wealth as an end in itself.

In the news over the past few days had been the international dust-up over a since-deleted Tweet by the Houston Rockets General Manager, Daryl Morey.  GM Morey expressed his support for the pro-democracy efforts in Hong Kong.  This created an immediate response from the Communist Chinese government that, among other things, pushed back hard on the U.S. National Basketball Association.

Professional basketball player Lebron James jumped into the controversy by saying that Morey is only thinking about himself.1  The comment from Lebron James shows that he is a stooge for the Chinese Communists, thus shameful and shows a very serious lack of personal character.  Morey wasn’t thinking about himself when he expressed the opinion that sparked this little dust-up.  He was thinking of the oppressed people of Hong Kong.  James was thinking of his money.

Some are now calling Lebron James a “useful idiot.”  This derisive term is often used to describe a person seen as propagandizing for Communism without comprehending the destructive goals and history of the ideology.  Lebron James is both a multi-millionaire and an extremely gifted basketball player.  But he also lacks the simple character of a good person we all would like to have seen.


  1. https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2019/10/lebron-james-useful-idiot.php
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

20 thoughts on “Lessons Learned: Greed is a Character Flaw

  1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    Interesting and a bit provocative article.

  2. Greg Heyman

    I’m following the US presidential election run-up. I have found it fascinating because it points clearly to the flaws in each one of them. Each of them possess a significant amount of character flaws but one of them will be elected. For example, Bernie Sanders is a hypocrite; he deplores capitalism but is fully on board with it for his family (not just you and me). I recommend following it yourself and see what you can ferret out of all the biased news coverage.

    1. Bryan Lee

      I would agree with your example of Bernie Sanders only if he is greedy for power. That is yet to be determined. I’m really not sure why he is running for sure. But we all know he is running against something; capitalism.

  3. Janna Faulkner

    The ‘Christian’ definition of greed refers to the accumulation of possessions. See the article below.
    I proposed (and this is not an original idea) that greed can include other things like power, status, etc.
    Here is that article, “A Christian Definition Of Greed” http://access-jesus.com/definition-of-greed-html/

    1. Georgie B.

      If you obsess over the unsatisfied desire to possess something, then yes I agree with you Janna.

  4. Kenny Foster

    I don’t want to get into a discussion about greedy politicians or I’ll be writing this comment until tomorrow. But, I will say that politicians tend to be intelligent – more than the average person. They also possess a good amount of social skills (like US Pres Clinton). What motivates them is a vast area to be studied but I propose that greed is one of their main motivators. Just look at nearly any leader in any country at any time in history. I think this is their prime motivator.

  5. Max Foster

    Being smart does not exempt you from greed. In fact, those who are the smartest are also often the most greedy. Being smart seems to be like pouring gasoline on a fire; it makes your flaws grow crazy and push you toward evil faster than just about anything else. It would be like a drug addict getting a million dollars; they next day he would have a room full of drugs to take and then …. well, we know what would be next.

    1. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

      Max, excellent observation. I agree that greed is found everywhere, across all time, and across all societies. But also that it manifests itself in those who have the will and intellect to strive for money, power, and things.

    2. The Kid 1945

      Max, well written. Being a good person is simply not easy but it does mean doing things in moderation.

  6. Doc Blackshear

    Greed is more likely to foster itself in certain parts of any society. It is both learned and inborn (my opinion). I find that those who are raised in high social status homes are more likely to possess greed as a serious character flaw. Thank you Gen. Satterfield, another well written piece that points to not just our flaws but a lesson on what to be on the lookout for.

  7. JT Patterson

    Greed is one of the vices that is difficult to push back into the far-reaches of our consciousness. We all are looking – in some way – to enrich ourselves; to get more ‘stuff’ and to have more than the family ‘next door.’

    1. Bill Sanders, Jr.

      I agree but you must also admit that everyone must possess some level of desire to obtain “things” and “social contacts” in order to just survive. Greed is when things get out of control and it starts to really hurt others (and maybe the environment too).

  8. Eric Coda

    Our politicians are the ones with the BIG character flaws. Just listen to our biased news media tell it and you would never know.

    1. Yusaf from Texas

      If you want to see one big flaw, just look at US presidential candidate and past VP, Joe Biden. That man is a walking flaw. Everything you would want to expose as a flaw person can be found in him. Not that he is evil, per se, but he certainly is completely untrustworthy.

      1. Karl J.

        You are on point with this comment. Joe Biden is not just a gaffe machine but also someone who is willing to sell out his country so that his family can get rich. Obama did something similar. Obama went into the US presidency having a hard time paying his bills (to listen to him and his wife talk) and came out 8 years later a multimillionaire.

        1. Doug Smith

          How true and how sad this is. Karl, thanks for pointing out the obvious. Too many folks in the USA are blinded by this man and why I cannot imagine.

        2. Gil Johnson

          Bernie Sanders is worse. Doesn’t he own several million-dollar homes? Any way, he disses on capitalism but that is what keeps him afloat.

      2. apache2

        So very true. And he was the leading Democratic candidate until just recently. Who knows who they will nominate.

    2. Roger Yellowmule

      We could write a mountain of books on that topic.

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