Nowadays, people are never satisfied with what they have and are always looking for more.
More money, more clothes, more books, more shoes, more bags, more gadgets, more cars, more attention, more square meters, more followers, more prestige, more popularity, more power, more sex. More. More. More.
The quest for more can be seen as a defining characteristic of our entire society today.
The chase is on for more.
However, there is a problem with the choice to live a lifestyle that is defined by wanting more.
When we always want more, we will never be content with what we already have. Because no matter how much we accomplish or how much we amass, there is always room for more.
By definition, this hunger for more is unquenchable.
When is enough attention enough?
When is enough money enough?
When are enough friends enough?
When are enough books enough?
When is enough prestige, and power enough?
Here is the dilemma: knowing when you’ve had enough.
You have to reach a point where you can confidently state that the attention you receive from a select few is enough.
There is always the possibility of adding more money to your bank account, regardless of how much money is already there.
It doesn’t matter how big your house is… there’s always room for more rooms.
No matter how many likes your Instagram post has received or how many views your TikTok video has received, there is always room for more likes and more followers.
When we set our sights on achieving more, we will never truly get there. Our hunger cannot be satisfied. And this is the problem with having an insatiable appetite for more.
If we continue to seek joy and satisfaction through accumulating more things, we will never find what we seek.
When you finally get that bigger, shinier car, you’ll be happy for a little while, but then you’ll start looking for another, even shinier car. Your happiness is only going to last for a short while.
More is never enough. More is unquenchable. Always desiring more causes problems. Happiness won’t come from accumulating more.
We know this because even the richest man in the world, John D. Rockefeller, was asked by a reporter: “How much money is enough money?” The response given by Rockefeller was “just a little bit more.”
Even though he was the richest man in the world, he was never content and was always looking for more. More can never fulfil a person’s needs.
You must be able to say that the money that puts a roof over your head, food on the table, and your children in quality schools is enough.
You should be able to confidently say that the amount of friends you have is sufficient.
The most important thing is to have the ability to set this boundary right from the start.
You’ll never have enough attention unless you set a limit, determine what’s enough attention for you and stick to your limit.
You could waste a lot of time and energy if you don’t decide when you’ve had enough. That rainbow is tempting, but it doesn’t lead anywhere specific.
If you’re always looking for something better, you’ll never be satisfied with what you already have since you’ll always be leaving something that matters behind in search of what you think is better.
Yes, you shouldn’t be satisfied with mediocrity, but you should also be aware that if you don’t put any limits in place, you’ll never stop chasing since there is always something better, more, greater, bigger, larger, sexier, taller or more beautiful.
There’s nothing wrong with desiring nicer things like a car, a house, some shoes, and a vacation. However, I cringe at the thought of basing one’s happiness on such extroverted reasons. Living your life believing that these external circumstances are at the root of your happiness, makes you a slave to your environment.
Tim Wilson calls the cognitive bias whereby we convince ourselves that “if we could just have X, then we’d be happy,” “mis-wanting.”
Miswanting describes the situation of mistakenly believing that getting a particular thing will make you happy. For instance, winning the lottery is a classic example of something that a lot of people desire, but many of those who have actually won it don’t always find the happiness they had anticipated. Those who want to win the lottery are therefore in a state of miswanting.
Being grateful for what one has is the first step toward contentment.
To achieve happiness, we must stop focusing on acquiring more. The concept of “more” is a shifting one. It can never be completely achieved.
Happiness does not mean you don’t want better things, rather, it is to be grateful for the things you already have while maintaining a patient expectation for the future.
The way I see it we have two choices in this life:
1. We can continue to pursue more. We can trick ourselves into thinking that if we could just get more money, more possessions, more attention or more fame, we would be able to live a better life.
2. We can reject the fallacy that in order to be happy you need to have more. And we can be happy with what we have and be thankful for the blessings we already have.
It is up to you to decide.
Personally, I’d rather be happy with what I have, thus I’ll pick contentment and being grateful for what I have.
Image: Laura Balletbo