We typically do it instinctively – we think ‘more’ is always the solution.
If you are having money troubles, what should you do? Earn more money.
If you are feeling depressed, what should you do? Spend more money.
If you want to retire happy, what should you do? Save more money.
If a product is on sale, what should you do? Buy more stuff.
Often there is nothing wrong with more, but an unhealthy life is driven by the motivation for more. The problem is sometimes we sacrifice too much to get more.
The Danger Of Always Wanting More
More can be addictive.
Consider the drug addict who wants more. An addict becomes so focused on her next fix that she does not even consider the consequences along with way. Once she is satisfied does her desire for more drugs increase or decrease? In the long term, her desire for more increases on a daily basis.
The more you feed your hunger for more the bigger it grows. Money is no exception.
The Advantages Of Less
In the book How Much is Enough?, Arthur Simon suggests the following advantages of having less:
Reduced stress, less rushing, fewer distractions, more time for friends and family, and a chance to refocus life on things that matter.
More and less often work in parallel with each other. For you to get more of something you will typically have less of something else. How, for example, does one get more money? Typically by spending more time. The more time you exchange for money the less time you have for family, recreation, and other important aspects of life.
More money typically means less time.
More stuff typically means less money.
Consider the following poll – shared in Simon’s book:
A recent poll shows that despite overall trends in the opposite direction, from 1990-1996, almost 20 percent of adult Americans chose lifestyle changes that involved earning less; and those who did, 85 percent expressed satisfaction with the changes.
85% of people who chose less said that as a result they got more.
At times the road to more is paved with less.
By spending less money on Christmas and making a homemade Christmas gift, your gift is likely to be more appreciated. By giving more one would think you would actually have less, but Jesus says we will have more. This is the blessing of proportionate giving.
The Bible is filled with some of these similar ironies:
If you want to save your life you must lose it. Whoever wants to be first must be last. To enter eternal life you must become like children.
Some people love to eat – they always want more. Those same people often later regret eating so much. Financially, we can over-spend to a point that we regret more. The food solution is to eat less. Perhaps, our financial situation would be better if we pursued less sometimes instead of more. We might even be less likely to feel guilty when we shop.
Time for Reflection:
As the New Year approaches many of us will be reflecting on our values, priorities, and goals. This year as you set your goals watch the wording carefully. Don’t start every sentence with the word more. In the end you might be happier if you had some statements about wanting less of some things. This process will be much easier if you know what your true net worth.
Just remember more is not always superior to less.
I’m a firm believer in less. My husband likes stuff, but I don’t. Every year at Christmas, he wants to buy me lots of stuff. And we have a row about it because I just want a few things. Mostly books.
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I think its all about balance.
With a two year old son at home, I refuse to sacrifice time with him to try to make more money, or really, anything else.
The way I see it, my son willl only be 2 once, he’ll only be 3 once, etc etc.
Of course, the bills have to be paid. What I am saying is that I opt to spend time with my son rather than using this spare time to try to generate extra income.
There will always be tine for that.
Establishing a balance is the key
Wanting more is a vicious cycle, a classic catch-22. The more we want, the more we want, and more and more. It becomes an addiction that we can never satisfy, and because the desire/behavior is so common, it’s also unrecognized except at it’s most extreme.
Apart from the potential for financial ruin or health related catastrophe, the other issue is that it can disconnect us from life. It’s all about acquisition, and people and experiences don’t matter, unless of course they can in some way help us with our acquisition.
The rise in consumerism is an eerie parallel with the decline in faith, especially by the middle class. I don’t know if there’s a direct connection, but I wouldn’t bet against it either. A man can’t serve two masters, and the desire for more is a jealous god!
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Sometimes less is more. Naturally we all want more of something, that is human instinct. If we can control that and accept what we have, we will be better off.
Joe Plemon says
I love the concept that more of one thing means less of something else. For example, more activity means less free time. Years ago my wife and I made a vow to not take on any new responsibilities (including serving at our church) unless we dropped something we were currently doing. This has saved us much stress and allowed us to feel like our lives are in control and not out of control. It isn’t always easy, but we hold each other to it.
Of course I am the one most prone to take on too much. Janice says that I am the hurricane and she is the calm in the middle.
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We have practiced a cash only Christmas for several years. When the cash runs out we stop. We put ourselves on a budget. It works pretty well.
Saying no to “more than you can afford” means yes to being debt free sooner.
Rick Vaughn says
I definitely think you have a point. However, where would we be as a people if we constantly settled for LESS?
Not saying that you should not have gratitude for what you have. In the end you want to make the most of yourself. That is what God wants most right?