As a society, we are eating too much, drinking too much, working too much and spending too much. We take more drugs for anxiety and depression than ever before. Our debt is climbing and our savings are dwindling.
We are tired, stressed, overworked, scattered and afraid. We are afraid that we won’t have more than them. We are afraid of what others will think if we don’t.
We never have enough and are afraid that we never will.
In a recent poll (and by “poll” I mean in response to a question I posed on twitter) when asked, “What would you do differently if you thought you had enough?” the response was overwhelming.
- Give more
- Worry less
- Quit my job
- Teach others to do the same
- Volunteer More
- Quit striving for success
- Change my career path
- Come up with ways to help the world
- Quit my job
- Spend time creating beautiful things: a happy marriage, a healthy body, a creative blog
- Connect more with friends & make new friends
- Move somewhere new and exciting.
Wow! If you had enough, you would do some really great, life changing things for yourself, your family and the world.
It’s time to start asking the the tough questions, because it’s very likely that you are not living the life you desire. You are depriving yourself of real happiness because you think you need more. More money, and more stuff.
If you know what you would do if you thought you had enough, then the next logical question is “how will I have enough”?
- Redefine enough. Your current definition of enough may be more than you think. Do the simple counting exercise below and see what is really enough for you and your family.
- Learn to say no. You may have to turn friends down for a dinner out, tell your kids that they can’t have designer handbags in high school, or make other unpopular decisions.
- Put people before stuff. Before you stop for lunch, drop by the mall or “pick up a few things” at the grocery store remember what your family really wants. They want YOU. If you spent less, could you work less and spend more time with the people that love you?
- Put moments before stuff. Running outside with my husband last night to watch the storm clouds come in was absolutely free, and more rewarding than anything I could have purchased.
- Stop trying to measure up. Someone will always make more than you, have more than you and do more than you. So what? You are beautiful and wonderful. Be you and stop comparing.
- Don’t stock up. If you buy wrapping paper on December 26th and stock up on sale items year round, you are spending more than you would if you just bought what you needed. Don’t be fooled by the cashier that tells you, “you just saved $22.00″ when you just spent $300.
- Stop using a credit card. Debt will follow you forever unless you stop using credit cards. The end.
- Write it down. You might be too busy and stressed to think about what you really want out of life. Write it down and read it every day. “Live by the beach”, “Start a new business”, “Put kids through college with no debt”, “Move to a new country”. This is your why. Knowing why will give you momentum. Knowing why will give you perseverance. Knowing why will give you the guts and grit to take action and live the life you desire.
- Realize you ARE enough. If you could be happy with you, you could stop overeating, overspending, and over indulging. Once you know you are enough, you can realize that you have enough.
- Identify your source of happiness. A new shirt will not make you happy for long. In fact, I can’t think of any material thing that makes me happy everyday. Instead it’s the things that you can’t own. Children’s dimples, a dog rolling over for a belly rub, jumping in the ocean, climbing mountains, stretching, kisses, gratitude. Those are the things that happiness is made of.
Do you have
enough too much?
- Count the number of clothes you have and divide that by 7. That is how many pieces of clothing you have to wear each day to use everything you have over the course of a week.
- Count how many utensils you own (forks, knives, spoons, whisks, peelers, all of them) and divide that by 7.
- Count how many apps, songs, games and videos you have on your computer and divide that by 7.
- Count how many TV channels, radio stations, CDs, DVDs, and games and divide that by 7.
It is very likely that you could live and thrive with less than 50% of what you own right now. And if you need less than half of the stuff, you probably need less than half of the space, and less than half of the money it takes to maintain the stuff and the space. (insert light bulb moment here!)
More questions to ask to live a better life…
- If you had no debt, no monthly payments, what could you live on?
- If you didn’t have to save for a nicer car, bigger house, or extravagant vacation, what could you save for?
- What could you sell to pay off your debt?
- If you didn’t have dine out several times a week, how much could you give?
- If one is enough, what could you donate?
It’s possible that you have been chasing more for so long that you forgot why you started the race in the first place. That is exactly what happened to me. If you can’t answer “why”, you are on the wrong track. If your answer to “why” is “I don’t know” you are lost. You have to stop and start over.
I just started to re-read, Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence. If you wonder how you could live on much less (even with a family and responsibilities) and really start enjoying life, you’ll love this book.
I was recently reminded by one of my favorite blogs that “very little is needed to make life happy.” Do you think that’s true?