Facing 2 years in jail, Rajat Gupta must be asking himself the above question.  The judge speculated that Gupta was enticed by Raj Rajaratnam with offers of  power jobs with international corporations, but Mr. Gupta didn’t need a job, he was already a director of several corporations.  He had been head of McKinsey & Company; he could have had his choice of jobs. 

It seems more likely to me that Ragat Gupta suffered from three partially empty psychological gas tanks.  There are three psychological needs that demand fulfillment for a person to be content.  These psychological needs tanks are named Identity, Connectedness, and Potency.   Once our physical needs of food, shelter, and sex are satisfied, we are all strongly motivated to engage in activities that fill these  three psychological needs. 

In Gupta’s case, all three needs may have been satisfied in those phone calls to Raj.  Imparting  powerful information contributed to Gupta’s sense of himself  (Identity)  as a person who knows, talking to Rajaratnam filled  his gas tank for Connectedness, and the insider aspect of the information gave him a sense of Potency.  He couldn’t resist the one stop action to fill all his need tanks.  Our actions all day, every day are motivated by these three needs.  If you don’t believe this, notice your own behaviors. 

In Mr. Gupta’s case, his push to fill those three needs tanks was greater than his sense of being a law abiding citizen of the U.S. 

What would have been a blessing would have been for someone to offer him other methods, other options for filling those tanks.  For Identity, he could have worked for one of the non-profits for which he had raised money; he could have spent more time with his family for Connectedness; and he could have perused his scrapbooks for past successes for Potency.  If this didn’t work, he could have financed a green start-up.  Or a non-green start-up. 

Mr. Gupta had more options than most of us for filling his needs.  He forgot to ask himself, “Where Art Thou?”  in relation to the laws of our land.  And in relation to his obligation to the clients of Goldman Sachs. 

Careful how you fill your own needs of Identity, Connectedness, Potency.   All of our gas tanks go empty now and then.