In the previous instalment I explored the idea of the incremental cost of gratification in greed. Doing the same thing over and over again does not produce the same degree of pleasure, hence it becomes necessary to do more to get the same level of gratification.
I subscribe to this idea having observed many miserable rich people. I observe their need to do more (make more money, get a faster car and a woman with bigger boobs) for the same whiff of gratification.
In spite of all this, I find that there is a way that requires less and less input, but gives more and more gratification.
I can elaborate…
I spend a lot of time exploring and contributing towards the world of entrepreneurship through speaking, gatherings and my writings, not only on this blog, but also on other people’s websites. As a matter of fact I can get easily carried away and end up spending many hours talking about business and some of the nuances in the life of an entrepreneur. The same applies to music, design and philosophy [for me].
My question is, why does this not get boring after some time? I found that the gratification comes from contribution rather than consumption. When we consume, we tend to need more and more to get the same gratification. However when we contribute towards a cause we believe in or a tribe we belong to our gratification multiplies.
I think the idea of positively affecting a person who shares similar values or is grappling with something that one has already conquered is gratifying beyond measure. Giving to people who share the same struggle is like giving to oneself (but better). For this reason, businesses that focus on being the best at solving their customers’ problems tend to last a lot longer than those that chase bottom line.
When Steve Jobs was fired from apple, the company almost folded within several years. They had added many product lines and “things” that customers were not in tune with with – they were chasing the bottom line. But when Steve Jobs came back, it was a matter of 2 years and he turned the company around to become what is the most valuable company in the world today. Similar stories are everywhere…
Focus on consumption inadvertently causes greed, which makes people miserable. Contribution offers the same gratification as consumption (and greed) but the gratification multiplies over time and it makes people happy.
Contribution is the cure for greed.