The Lifecycle of Greed and Fear: How to Tell a Great Story

Aviral Vaid

Aviral Vaid

Jul 12, 20233 min read


The Lifecycle of Greed and Fear: How to Tell a Great Story

In the realm of human behavior, two powerful emotions often drive our actions: greed and fear. These emotions, though seemingly opposite, are intertwined in a complex dance that shapes our lives and the world around us. Greed, at its core, stems from the innocent idea that we are right, deserving, or owed something for our efforts. It is the desire to obtain more for doing less, a universal force that permeates economies and individuals alike.

The allure of greed lies in its ability to compound delusion. When we delusionally justify our willingness to push for more than what we have put in, it feels good. Recognition, attention, and rewards become addictive, feeding our ego and sense of self-worth. We want to believe that we are right, that we are doing well, and that we deserve more. Greed becomes the driving force behind our actions, pushing us to strive for greater wealth, power, and success.

However, greed does not exist in isolation. It is a product of the economy's ability to push back on our perceived worth. When we start to doubt whether we are truly worth what we desire, fear creeps in. Fear peaks when we begin to fear what else we have to fear. We become blinded to the positive possibilities that may await us, just as we were blind to the negative consequences when consumed by greed.

Interestingly, the art of storytelling mirrors this interplay between greed and fear. A great story is one that captivates the audience, strategically withholding information to maximize suspense along the way. Just as greed and fear feed off each other, a well-crafted story capitalizes on the anticipation and curiosity it creates.

When telling a great story, it is crucial to decide which details to withhold until the end. This strategic withholding of information heightens the suspense and keeps the audience engaged. Similar to the compounding delusion of greed, the gradual revelation of important plot points or character motivations adds depth and complexity to the narrative.

Incorporating unique ideas or insights, if possible, can elevate a story from good to great. By weaving in unexpected twists or challenging commonly held beliefs, storytellers can captivate their audience and leave a lasting impact. Just as greed arises from the innocent idea that we are right, a thought-provoking story can challenge our preconceived notions and make us question our own beliefs.

While the cycle of greed and fear may seem never-ending, there are actionable steps we can take to navigate this intricate dance. Here are three pieces of advice to consider:

  • 1. Cultivate self-awareness: Recognize when greed or fear is driving your actions and take a step back to evaluate the underlying motivations. By understanding your own desires and fears, you can make more informed decisions and break free from the cycle.
  • 2. Practice empathy: Greed often stems from a sense of entitlement, while fear arises from a lack of security. By cultivating empathy towards others, we can develop a deeper understanding of their perspectives and needs. This empathy can help us break free from our own self-centered desires and find a more balanced approach.
  • 3. Embrace humility: Both greed and fear are fueled by the ego's desire for validation and recognition. By embracing humility, we can detach ourselves from the need for external validation and focus on the intrinsic value of our actions. This shift in mindset allows us to find fulfillment beyond material gain and break free from the grip of greed and fear.

In conclusion, the lifecycle of greed and fear is a complex interplay that influences our behavior and shapes the world around us. Understanding the underlying motivations and dynamics of these emotions is crucial for personal growth and navigating life's challenges. By incorporating the principles of storytelling and taking actionable steps to cultivate self-awareness, empathy, and humility, we can break free from the cycle and find a more balanced and fulfilling existence.


  1. "The Lifecycle of Greed and Fear", (Glasp)
  2. "How to tell a great story", (Glasp)

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