What if more isn’t enough?
What if more is not the answer?
More gross domestic product. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) measures the economic activity based on the goods and services a country produces in a year.
More, More, More, More
Consider these statistics cited by professional organizer Regina Lark: The average U.S. household has 300,000 things, from paper clips to ironing boards. U.S. children make up 3.7% of children on the planet but have 47% of all toys and children’s books. ( LA Times)
The average American house size has more than doubled since the 1950s. In the 1950’s the average home size was 950 square feet, it now stands at 2,349 square feet. (npr.org)
As of December 15, 2015, the U.S. is $18.8 trillion in debt.
Our total outstanding U.S. consumer debt is $3.4 trillion with a total revolving debt of $929 billion.
The question is “Why are we trying to accumulate more?”
The pursuit of more stuff is usually tied to the pursuit of trying to feel good about ourselves or trying to fit on with a particular group.
You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled. — Charles Haddon Spurgeon
What if more isn’t the answer?
I want to surround myself with what’s essentials and brings meaning to my life. I don’t need more crap.
Are we pursuing happiness instead of fulfillment?
Carolyn Gregoire in her Huffington Post article titled: The Psychology Of Materialism, And Why It’s Making You Unhappy says that:
Research suggests that Americans’ well-being has, if anything, declined since the 1950s, according to the American Psychological Association, while our consumption has only increased.
“Compared with their grandparents, today’s young adults have grown up with much more affluence, slightly less happiness and much greater risk of depression and assorted social pathology,” David G. Myers, author of The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty wrote in an American Psychologist article. “Our becoming much better off over the last four decades has not been accompanied by one iota of increased subjective well-being.”
The materialistic values that consumer cultures support may be to blame. Those who pursue wealth and material possessions tend to be less satisfied and experience fewer positive emotions each day. On the other hand, research has found that life satisfaction — surprise, surprise — is correlated with having less materialistic values.
It appears that more isn’t the answer.
“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. We don’t buy things with money; we buy them with hours from our lives. — Henry David Thoreau
More stuff leads to more time taking care of the stuff. Cleaning the stuff, moving the stuff, and sometimes renting a storage unit so we can move stuff out of our house to make room for more stuff.
We live in a culture that lacks the ability to be content.
One definition describes being content as: “a state of satisfaction.”
Great questions I like to ask myself are:
Can I say I’m satisfied? Am I content with what I have? Do I find myself chasing for more?
When we are constantly chasing after more how can we truly live?
“May you live all the days of your life.” ~ Jonathan Swift
So what can we do to stop pursuing more and “Live all the days of our life.”?
I propose the following suggestions:
1. Collect moments instead of things.
2. Get our value not from what clothes we have on our back but from what we can give away.
3. Don’t spend our life working to pay off the stuff we didn’t need in the first place.
4. Learn to be content.