DANGLING CARROT—BAIT

I had a gist with a friend and I’m sharing this with his permission.


“She keeps telling me she wants to have sex. I think she’s just dangling the carrot. In my head, I really don’t know if should give in or not.


I likened him to a mule; a stick is tied to the bridle of a mule, or held by the rider so that it extends above and in front of the animal’s head, and a carrot is hanged on a string from the far end of the stick, just out of reach of the pack animal’s mouth. Attracted by the sight and smell, the donkey will likely step forward to bite at the carrot, but of course, as it is attached to the stick, the carrot will also move forward and remain out of reach. Not especially brilliant, the mule will repeat the same ineffective strategy, thereby pulling or carrying whatever or whomever it’s laden with, until the poor animal collapses from exhaustion.

Like dangling a carrot before a horse, there are some opportunities that comes to us looking alluring. For example, you see an opportunity to make a lot of money for doing something you believe is harmless, albeit illegal. You begin to see quick result and it gets in your head. It drives you so much that you don’t mind clearing anything or anyone along the path you’ve chosen. Subsequently, the result dilapidates and it opens your eyes to how much you’ve led yourself into ruins. You get caught/hooked and face its consequence which can include a prison sentence, shambled career, losing people you care about, not being able to form any true friendships or real intimacy because you see people as objects and use them. It can also lead to an extreme case like death or depression. Being hooked is like quicksand. The more you try to get out, the deeper you sink.

Saying yes to bait is saying yes to GREED. Some of us yield to every “benefit” that comes our way. Colloquially, young men from my tribe say it this way; jé ki n gbénu si. The phrase simply means such man would like to get some benefit from the opportunity at hand. Greedy people are first in line to ask for more but last in line to put in the effort required to earn the rewards. Instead of adopting the view that everyone benefits as the pie gets larger, they view the pie as a static — there’s only so much to go around. To them, life is a competition governed by any rules you can get away with. They feel they deserve a larger piece of the pie, even at someone else’s expense, and they’re going to take it.

Greed is a term that describes insensate people with naked initiative, people with an insatiable appetite for material things, those who give new meaning to the word egocentric. Greed kindles imaginations of the ‘rich and famous’ playing with lavish assets such as luxurious cars, expensive furs, and mansions that resemble palaces without putting effort to work. Greed thinks of women dripping in diamonds and middle-aged men in expensive sports cars. To greedy people, it’s as much about flaunting material trappings as it is about winning the game.

It’s critical, however, not to consider success and greed equal. My mother is a woman of wisdom and she gave me this quote;


If you’re willing to play the strings of greed, you’ll have to dance to its music. You will sway to each rhythm as if life depends on it till you are expended.


If your colleagues work at a frantic pace and all you do is spend your days looking for ways to manipulate the numbers on your desk while you watch the reward come to you in satisfaction. You’re already dancing to Greed’s frantic music . You might be enjoying its reward now but you can bet you’ll be first in line to get sacked when you get caught/hooked. Not every bait is food for your belly. If all you care about is your need today and you kick problems down the road for yourself and others to cope with in the future then you put band-aids on problems rather than solving the root cause. You’re buying things that benefit you for your today rather than investing in your future; it’s all a bait.

There’s no sharp corners to success. You’ll still come back to the ‘start’ even if you cut corners. Rather than taking the easy way out, parents, leaders and the rest of us have a moral responsibility to provide a legacy for those who follow. A strong work ethic must be instilled in our children at an early age. Included are personal traits such as character, honesty, dependability, initiative, confidence, diligence, respect, efficiency, and teamwork. Not to forget “hard work” — a key element of success. When it comes to learning a new craft, developing talents and values, doing well in school, as in many other things in life, exceptional performance is often attributed to hard work. It’s important to encourage our kids to do their best, while providing them with constructive feedback and positive fortifications along the way. By guiding them toward good values and a strong work ethic, we’re equipping them for a lifetime of satisfaction and growth. Any time an opportunity makes you want more than your fair share or gives you a strong desire to accumulate something in dishonesty, especially at the expense of others or if there is only so much to go around, you are already walking into the bait. Greedy people always want to take. Truly wealthy people earn, receive graciously, and share.

Jumbled?

You’re at a fork in the road. The path you take is your choice. You might want to kick a can down the road but you’ll still come back to taking your decision. Why do you still stress the importance of material wealth and greed over the value of generosity? Let the ‘carrot’ go. There’s no other way out than ‘out’. Get your mind out of that excessive desire. Give to others and you know that you don’t have to be particularly wealthy in order to be able to give. Give out of love, not obligation — without strings attached. A gift doesn’t have to be momentous. It can be as simple as a smile. Giving doesn’t have to be planned. Some of the best gifts in life are random acts of kindness such as creating a special moment for someone to remember. Giving doesn’t have to be from your material wealth; it can be a gift from your heart. It can take the form of giving someone confidence and respect, slowing down enough to provide someone some quality time, or sharing an honest opinion. Giving doesn’t have to provide an immediate ‘benefit’. In fact do not fix your eyes on the benefit even if you don’t get any. You can give your children a strong sense of values, self-confidence, and a first-class education. Think about it. Don’t be greedy of filthy lucre.


He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house, But he who hates bribes will live.

Proverbs 15:27


We are such a belligerent society. We measure success by finishing in first place, making it to the top of our game, and having better valuables than our neighbors. We value instant recompense by encouraging people to consume rather than to save for a rainy day — people borrow money to prove that they live large. We adore people who drive expensive cars, wear the latest fashions, and live in luxurious homes. Greedy or not, we all help enshrine the addiction. Let’s bring this down.


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