Resisting The Allure Of More

There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you have had enough!

The temptation to chase “more” is always nipping at me. Defining how much is enough for me at the outset of any endeavor helps me to cling more tightly to my game plan when the sirens of more beckon.

Lately, I have been revisiting the concept of more versus enough as it relates to my daily routines. Dialing life back to stay within my predetermined boundaries of pace, involvement and outside commitments is a work in progress. The most difficult aspect  of recovering from the ‘more is better’ philosophy is making the time to ask myself the tough questions.

I am already stretched pretty thin. If I was a motel, then the sign out front would be blinking NO VACANCY most days. Each of us is bombarded with good opportunities that initially seem attractive and worthwhile.  If I want to add more to my schedule, then it is better to cross off some other activity or responsibility. If I don’t, then something is going to crash and crashing is rarely a good thing!

At this point in my life, I don’t think that I want more things to do, or own, or maintain. When I review the list of people and events to which I am already committed, I recognize that I have more than enough for one man.  That said, at times it feels as if human nature sets me in opposition to doing and having just enough and what is likely best for me and my family.

I am empowered when I have a good grasp of that to which my life force is already contributed.  Taking on more is an ill-advised bet that I sometimes make just in case the things in which I am invested don’t pan out. There are some common aspects of life in which I am tempted to compare and then reach for more:

My Marriage – MORE SAYS: I am entitled to expect a lot from my wife because I expect a lot from myself. This is my most important relationship and I want it to function at extremely high levels. ENOUGH WHISPERS: Relax! Make more downtime. Have more fun. Lose track of time. Sleep in!

Work – MORE SAYS: I spend a lot of time at work and I am deeply invested in my outcomes there. I want to be a difference maker for my workmates. No matter what, never say no at work. ENOUGH WHISPERS: Commit to fewer things but do them exceptionally well. Trust yourself. Stay grounded. Resign from the self-appointed position as Chief of Stuff!

House Projects – MORE SAYS: I want our home to be an idyllic sanctuary; a place of which I am proud. It needs to look like Brigadoon! ENOUGH WHISPERS: You aren’t raising grass; you are raising kids. Things break, then need to be fixed. Own fewer things.

Charitable Pursuits – MORE SAYS: I don’t ever want to be perceived as being selfish or stingy. I always want to help those who are less fortunate and in need. ENOUGH WHISPERS: Do more than your share, but not to the detriment of your family. Don’t enable. St. Vincent de Paul said “You will help the poor and one day, they will forgive you.” Give quietly and from the heart.

Consumerism – MORE SAYS: We are all drawn to own more stuff. Owning stuff is proof that you are successful. Admit it, there is more cool stuff out there than ever before in our history. ENOUGH WHISPERS: Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean I should buy it. Free yourself from buying on impulse. Own your stuff; don’t let it own you!

My Network – MORE SAYS: There are so many cool opportunities that bring together the people whom I love and admire; they are just too difficult to pass up. ENOUGH WHISPERS: You love your family and friends and they know it. Avoid crowds and find ways to make room for meaningful connections. Authentic relationships will sustain on reserve power if necessary.

Food – MORE SAYS: Food is yummier than it has ever been; let loose, you deserve it! ENOUGH WHISPERS: What is eating you? Nothing will ever taste as good as a pair of jeans that fit feels. You can break the habits that control you.

The Call of The Joneses – MORE SAYS: Nothing stokes the internal flames like driving a new BMW. Suddenly, your Subaru Outback seems a bit quaint. Go ahead, you only live once. ENOUGH WHISPERS: In three weeks, it will be just another car. It is a form of transportation and a liability to boot. You car does not validate or define you.

The best opportunity to defeat your opponent is before you step on the field. Think about how often you are drawn to wanting more throughout your day. Create intellectual guardrails that will keep you on the simpler path. Having a clear image of what enough means for you in the most important areas of life will provide the fulcrum on which you can pivot. Recognizing and avoiding the allure of more is a discipline that leads to greater satisfaction.

In time, everything fades! Don’t spend precious life energy chasing more and more when enough is all you wanted from the start. We have such a limited time to pursue what matters. The truth is that most of us already have enough and some of us could benefit by giving away that which is more than enough.

Thomas “TD” Dierker
Live like you’re dying…. cause you are!

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