Sunday, 3 March 2013


I want more.
I've had enough.

How do these two phrases make you feel?  Do you prefer one to the other?

In our culture, we look at these two words as a progression.  You're finished wanting more when you've had enough.  Although actually, 'enough' tends to be a pretty elusive concept.  We chase it like happiness - every time you think you're getting close to it, it moves off to the horizon again.

In fact, usually when I think of the phrase, "I've had enough," I hear it in exasperation - when things pile on at a rate we can't tolerate.  We only say "Enough" when we actually mean "TOO MUCH".

I actually think we don't understand the meaning of the word 'enough.'  I think it should be more closely associated with the word 'satisfied.' That word doesn't suggest that you're getting all you can handle.  It has more of a connotation that, though there's capacity for more, the current amount will work just fine.

Our culture doesn't really get equilibrium.  We tip the scale all the way forward, like a sprinter about to charge out of the starting blocks.  We're always pushing, striving, struggling.  Always expending.  That's as healthy as always exhaling.  Our access to easy energy means that we have amazing leverage to expand and increase our wealth and profile, but if 6-7 billion people all tried to only ever accumulate, we would very quickly find ourselves in a huge problem.  Heck, we're on our way there now!

The earth doesn't constantly expand.  What we have is what we have (unless an asteroid lands).  It's the law of conservation of mass. Natural principles are wired around taking what you need and leaving behind something someone else can use.  Trees absorb CO2. They provide oxygen.  Their lost leaves degrade into soil.  No waste.  Why do we think that constant expansion, constant accumulation, and infinite growth is a good idea?  Where's the precedent for that?
This for example, is what it looks like to sell more computer monitors year over year.

I think we need to turn down the "more" talk, and start asking ourselves what 'enough' looks like.

I'm not talking about redistribution of wealth here.  A lot of people take this to that next step.  But that's the step where you lose people.  Fact is, if you knew what it was that made you satisfied, and that's what you went for and no more, nobody would need to re-distribute your wealth!  More isn't a thing to want.

If we never feel like we have enough, we will never feel peace.  Satisfaction is a great feeling.  It feels like a good night's sleep.  It feels like equilibrium.  And when your needs are met and you're satisfied, you'll find yourself with a lot more time to help others reach their 'enough' too.

What does 'enough' look like for you?

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