How much is enough?
Enoughness – the state or condition of being enough; the feeling of sufficiency, adequacy.
Many of us have different needs and wants, but our common denominator is wanting more.
Some want more money, more stuff, more time, more friends, more sex or joy, more productivity, and more growth.
However, as the saying goes: too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
It’s usually healthier to strive for a more balanced approach, hence my attempt at promoting an enoughness practice in life.
But first, let’s take a look why always wanting more (even of the good thing) is not such a great idea.
What seems to be the problem?
We consume relentlessly- we consume facts and factoids, we consume material stuff.
Because of never feeling like we have enough or are enough, we tend to waste a lot of time, money, food, and other resources.
Stuff has never been so cheap. but it still costs us a lot in many ways.
Not enoughness is stress inducing, and higher stress levels generally tend to lower our wellbeing. It can lead to anxiety or burnout.
Some dream of an ever bigger better faster newer thing – a bigger house with more ensuite bathrooms and chef’s kitchen and a supersized oven although they rarely have the time or energy – or will – to use it on a regular basis. We want things just in case we need them, while paying for it with our very real, if borrowed, money and therefore time.
On the other side of the spectrum, more and more people dream of having a tiny house on wheels that is supposed to give them more freedom.
Sometimes limitations are what we need for our creativity to flourish. Sometimes owing more is a real struggle.
Usually not having (or feeling like we don’t have) enough is a pain.
I propose enoughness and right sizing.
We upgrade things without often thinking whether it’s really necessary, just because we can.
And often because we feel like we should, now that we can (social pressure).
**Enoughness can only be conceived which abundance.**
Learning how much is enough for us takes time and attention but is a great investment.
For many of us, the problem is that there are no more ‚seasons’ or outside structure that would limit us – we have abundance of food, we can regulate our environment (we have light, heating, cooling)
We’re exposed to so much – ideas, stuff, other people, so it’s easy to compare our lifestyle to the one of someone else.
Simply put, it’s not easy to NOT want to want more!
We compare ourselves to others instead of comparing our own progress.
Wanting more it like the horizon – we cannot reach it; we can only decide to stop chasing it.
Even if we manage to get something we desire, the satisfaction doesn’t last very long (due to hedonic adaptation) or doesn’t even feel as sweet ( due to affective forecasting).
More money or achievement does not equal more happiness – getting more, above a certain threshold, doesn’t change anything for the better.
But always wanting more is like scrolling social media feed -there is no beginning and no end; we need to set our own boundaries.
I often hear that if you stop chasing stuff, you’ll have more time & energy to the things you really like in your life- but is that true? I would say, consumption IS what many people want!
So in order to change that, you have to find something else- not that easy.
It’s fine to want something, as long as you’re clear on why you want it. Is it about that particular thing or something else entirely?
**WHY IS IT SO TRICKY TO NOT ALWAYS WANT MORE?**
There are many reasons we we often want more than what we really need.
Here are some of the psychological factors we may want to take into consideration:
- THE NEGATIVITY BIAS – our brains are wired to see the negative/dangerous stuff around us, not the positive (so we stay alert and prepare for the lean years
- THE HEDONIC ADAPTATION
Jean-Jacques Rousseau beautifully explained hedonic adaptation in his 1754 Discourse on Inequalitywith the following words:
“Since these conveniences by becoming habitual had almost entirely ceased to be enjoyable, and at the same time degenerated into true needs, it became much more cruel to be deprived of them than to possess them was sweet, and men were unhappy to lose them without being happy to possess them.”
The Hedonic Treadmill – Are We Forever Chasing Rainbows?
- AFFECTIVE FORECASTING – we are not very good at predicting how good or bad something will feel in the future; we tend to overestimate it in both directions. So what is Affective Forecasting?
Affective forecasting, quite simply, refers to the prediction of one’s future emotions (Wilson & Gilbert, 2003).
What is Affective Forecasting? Definition + Daniel Gilbert’s Work
What does ‚enough’ mean to you?
::So ask yourself: What does “enough” look like for you? How will you know when you get there?::
Taking the time to learn how you want to feel and then adjusting the means – how to get there.
We often start with focusing on the what instead of our why.
We follow the masses and trends instead of taking the time to learn about our own preferences and values.
We are trying to fill the void/ to be appreciated/ to feel achieved etc
It’s not unusual to chase after something – a thing, a status – achieving it and feeling disillusioned and not at all satisfied.
Defining what it means to you to live a good life and taking the time to live.
Taking the time to think of the importance of different things in your life, such as:
A lot of the things that we do, we do because we were simply exposed to them earlier: sometimes by our families, sometimes by our education, sometimes by the society or the environment we live in.
We often mistake familiarity with necessity or a norm.
It is important to remember, there are many ways to live your life and by exposing yourself to new experiences, shape your future choices.
Let’s take a look why voluntarily restricting yourself may benefit us in the long run.
**Everything in MODERATION.**
SCARCITY – MINIMALISM – MODERATION – ENOUGHNESS
Scarcity – or limitation- contributes to an interesting and a meaningful life. In the words of Professor Todd May, when there is always time for everything, there is no urgency for anything. A life without limits would lose the beauty of its moments, and it would become boring.
- setting boundaries makes life better as we learn to appreciate things more
- minimalism is usually embraced by those who have enough resources to enjoy setting boundaries, not by those who feel scarcity. It’s one thing to decide not to want something and quite another to be depleted
- the key is to deal with your scarcity mind and to be able to enjoy less (but enough)
Minimalism is gaining traction, and slowly, changing the landscape as many of us are growing tired of the purposeless and meaningless consumption
But is minimalism the answer? While it works for many, some may be discouraged by restricting themselves too much.
I suppose practicing enough ness, like I call it, is somewhat more difficult then, say, minimalism, as you’d need to be more attuned to your own needs – stay focused and mindful of your inner state.
In enoughness, it’s not really about any number – it’s not about having only 33 pieces in your perfect capsule wardrobe (Project 333) or selling all your belongings on eBay. It’s about checking with yourself how much is enough. Enough food, enough money, enough fun, enough work.
It certainly does not have to be an all or nothing approach.
If you’re sold on the idea of welcoming more enoughness in your life, let’s investigate, how to even go about it.
How you can develop the enoughness practice?
What can you do? Here are some ideas to try.
To begin with, you may want to limit exposure/input – we tend to want what we’re exposed to, so if you want less stuff, try to limit your exposure to stuff.
- unsubscribe from mailing lists or social circles that push you into more consumption.
- practice mindfulness – having the mental space and time to think and decide, but you need to know beforehand
– Riding the wave of a craving: creating time and space to give yourself a chance to not want something.
- slowing down to take stock and appreciate what you have and how far you’ve come
- stop comparing yourself to others – we all have different needs, different starting points, and goals. Measure your own progress.
- the Pareto rule 80 -20 – the 20 % of the stuff you use 80% of the time in the best quality that works for you (not that you can afford).
- Gratitude practice – appreciating what you already have in life. Incorporate gratitude into your daily life
According to Oprah Winfrey, “If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.” It’s very difficult to feel fear or sadness while feeling grateful at the same time. Practicing gratitude is one of the most widely recognized methods for improving one’s overall well-being. [In 2007, Robert Emmons]
(https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/profile/Robert_Emmons) , professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology, began researching gratitude and found that expressing gratitude improves mental and physical well-being. Being grateful also impacts the overall experience of happiness, and the effects tend to be long-lasting.
5 Ways To Go From A Scarcity To Abundance Mindset
- raising awareness – asking yourself the question: maybe it’s enough for me?
- curb perfectionism it’s about progress, not perfection
- don’t just automatically supersize your life because someone offered it to you –
-some people buy bigger houses that they want or need, just because they think it’s expected of them or because the bank decided they can afford that
- realizing more does not always equal better
- don’t just automatically supersize your life because someone offered it to you –
- think of the hidden costs of more – when you think you want something, check first if it’s somehow connected to other things, that you DON’T want in your life (you want another slice of cake, but NOT another pound of fat; you want another pair of jeans, but NOT more credit cards debt; you want another promotion at work, but NOT another divorce). So before you give in to all the wanting, make sure the price for it is adequate.
- draw inspiration from nature and natural cycles
-nature, if left alone, knows how to self-regulate
-animals in their natural environment rarely eat more than they need.
FINAL MUSINGS ON PRACTICING ENOUGHNESS
- Instead of focusing on the wanting part, ask yourself the question: after you’ve reached your goal, then what?
- it takes some time and effort to sit down and ask yourself some questions:
- how much money do I need to live the life I want? The answer may surprise you. Most people would say they need more than what they already have.
- We’re primed to believe that MORE of a good thing is always better. But more of a good thing can be a bad thing – think money and inflation. If you have more, its value inflates.
- A finite amount of something we enjoy helps us appreciate things more.
- one slice of a delicious cake tastes great and you may want to have another one, but imagine 6 slices later – all you feel is a sickness
- the fact that we have one life (that we know of) makes us appreciate it more (at least in theory)
- having some time off to enjoy is bliss for most, but having an eternity of free time? My idea of hell.
The point is to to define what quality you want in your life – from food to clothes, to information you consume and people you surround yourself with, and introducing those things in a more deliberate way.
Nowadays, more of us realise that achieving goals is less important than enjoying the process;
The purpose of Living a more mindful and intentional life is to be happier, however you define it.
It is to do the important stuff, not just be busy for the sake of doing ‘stuff’; it means embracing the idea of enoughness- learning how much of everything is enough for you and voluntarily giving up the pursuit of more & more for no particular reason, whether it is more money, more fun or more stuff.
[…] DEFINE ENOUGHNESS. […]