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.
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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.