I was in a discussion with some friends recently and the topic was about not having enough. Not enough money to send the kids to private school, not enough time to rest, not enough time to read and the list goes on. Bear in mind, that by all standards, we all have enough and in some cases, more than enough and yet there is a sense that it is not enough. Why is that? What drives us to want more? What makes us think or believe that by having more of something, we will be better or that we would be happier? Why can’t be we contend with what we have?
We came up with a few conclusions:
1. Conditioned to believe that More is good. This starts very young. Toddlers already know that they want more. It’s a natural survival instinct in a way to want more so that we are not starved. What child does not want more toys even though he already has baskets full of toys. Something bigger, flashier and shinier is always better.
2. Comparison. We live in a society where we compare with those around us. In order to “win” that comparison, there is an underlying belief that having something that the other person does not have will make us better compared with someone else. For example, when people around us have a bigger or nicer car, the “desire” to be like them drives us to want that too even though the current car works beautifully.
3. Underlying belief that enough is NOT good enough. There is a strong sense in all of us that what we have is never enough. It is not good enough. I have enough gadgets in my house and yet I am looking at new and more advance ones. Why? I can’t fit them all into my humble abode. I have a relatively new golf set and yet at the back of my mind, I am wondering if I bought a new wedge, maybe my short game with be better. The reality is that in most cases, enough is good enough.
4. Entitlement. We sometimes feel that we are entitled to more than what we have. Most children today feel that they are entitled to a phone and not just any phone, a smartphone and not just any smartphone but an iPhone or a Samsung. We feel entitled for the promotion because of the amount of hours and hard work that we put in. What we don’t know if how much more the other person put in to get to where they are.
So what’s the solution?
1. More in not always good for you. Eating more food is not good for you. Drinking more alcohol is certainly not good for you. Working too many hours is not good for you. Too much stress is not good for your health. The conclusion is that too much of anything is just not good for you. Questions that you can ask yourself: Why do I want more of something? What would happen if I don’t have it? What would happen if I did get it? What is truly of value to me?
2. Balance is what we should be striving for. Everything is moderation, how much we work, time we spend with our families, healthy living and so on. To achieve that the key questions to answer are: What is my balance? How much is good for me? Am I spending the appropriate amount of time on what I enjoy? Am I growing as an individual? What is driving me to want more? Is it a need or a want? Can I spend my time or money in a more useful way?
3. Be happy with self. Just be contended with who you are and what you have and don’t have. This will take away the need to compare and even if people compare you with someone else, you won’t be unsettled by it. This does not mean that you will not strive to be better or to improve in any way. This just means that you are comfortable and confident about you. Questions to ask: What makes me happy? What is my purpose? Am I living in alignment with that purpose? What drives me or motivates me?
I was reading a recent study that concluded that running more does not mean that you will live longer. In fact running less may help you to live longer. Now of course that study has been made light off due to the sample size but it goes to show, more does not mean better.