We live in a culture where quantity is more honored than quality. We aim for more — more stuff, more properties, more friends, more connections, more skills, more projects, more clients, more and more.
What we don’t realize is, the more things we have, the more we get stressed. The more we get busy. The more we worry. The more we harm the environment or the people around us.
The problem is not having more, but it’s the innate desire to want more.
As humans, wanting more seems normal — we rarely get satisfied. We believe “more” would make us superior. Or bring us joy. Or lead us to a meaningful life.
Here’s the truth: Having more doesn’t lead to happiness. It doesn’t.
What will happen when we give up wanting more?
This may sound ironic, but the truth is, if we give up wanting more, we’ll have more — more time, energy, and money. In short, we’ll have more space in life.
Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists said,
“Owning less stuff, focusing on fewer tasks, and having less in the way has given us more time, more freedom, and more meaning in our lives. Working less allows us to contribute more, grow more, and pursue our passions much more.”
And yes. That is very true.
More Time and Energy
Because we’ll not use our time and energy working for unimportant things, or maintaining the condition of our countless properties, or planning how to grow our money, or searching ways to earn more money, that means, we’ll have more time and energy for ourselves, for our passions, and for our loved ones — for the things that matter.
That means, we’ll have more time and energy for reading, researching, reflecting, creating, experimenting, learning new things, and building new meaningful relationships.
And most importantly, we’ll have more time and energy for listening, for paying attention to our surroundings, the people around us, and to what’s going on inside us.
This, definitely, isn’t being a monk, a Luddite, or a minimalist. Of course, we still need to work hard for our family, for that dream, for that goal, or for that business expansion, whatever. We can even grow our money if we want to. Nothing’s wrong about aiming convenience.
The point is to be mindful every time we think of buying or investing, or every time we buy something. Are those things aligned with our true desires? Are they part of our evolution to become responsible and compassionate human beings? Do they serve real purpose?
If not, then we are wasting our time, energy, and (probably) money. We just want more. We are not satisfied.
Instead of buying new gadgets you don’t need or don’t have real purpose, I suggest using the money to progress your creative endeavors. I suggest using the money to create something that may benefit the society or our planet. Or, use the money for more valuable things such as self-education, gardening, or health.
I understand, I don’t own your money. But at least, I could do something to help you save — save for more important things, or emergency purposes.
What do you think will happen if all your income goes to your (or your family’s) needs and passion? What do you think will happen if majority of your savings are intended for the betterment of yourself, for humanity, or even the planet? And what do you think will happen if not just you and me, but all of us apply this? Think about it.
How did I stop wanting more?
It’s not easy. And it takes time. It requires self-awareness, self-discipline, and an incredible amount of sacrifice. My journey hasn’t been smooth. But looking back, I could say, it’s still one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve made.
First step: Know what you really love or need and remind yourself occasionally (or every day) what they are. For others, that could be gardening, cooking, singing, business, or creating something. For me, it’s my passion: music, writing, and art. Also, spending more time with my loved ones.
Second step: Focus. And stick with it. Often, you’ll be tempted to buy new stuff, or invest in something that converts money. Not bad. But if those things are not aligned with what you really love or need, then purge them. They serve no purpose. They are clutters, distractions.
Third step: Share the idea with the people around you — the people you share most of your time. Explain why you refuse to buy that stuff, or why you settle with only few clothes, or why you’re not excited about the latest gadget. But don’t expect they’ll follow you. They may even think of you as weird. That’s okay.
Again, giving up “wanting more” is not easy. At some point, you’ll be tempted to go back.
There’s nothing wrong to go back, though, as this approach is not for all. But if you’re like me — an ordinary human who wants to live a meaningful life — I’ll start pondering and ask questions like:
Are all my stuff serving real purpose? Do I have plenty of time to do what I love? Are my gadgets becoming helpful or distractions? Am I happy with all these fancy things? Does having more help me become a better person? Are these properties making me stressed?
“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” — Socrates