Having Enough (and then some…) in the New Year

fulfillmentcurveThe concept of “having enough…and then some” is something I first read about in Joe Dominguez’s book, “Your Money or Your Life”.  If you have not read this book yet, it should be tops on your list in the new year for sure.

Most of us (especially me up until now) have been conditioned from an early age by friends, television, and the general culture to always want more; more money, more gadgets, a bigger house, a nicer car, more success.

It’s taken me 40 years, but I have finally realized that I have never been satisfied with more stuff, because there is always something “better” around the corner.  There are new ads for iPods and smart phones, new laptops, new cars, and new clothes. We have to have those. It’s impossible to satisfy the hunger for more, because our culture is geared to wanting more. It’s called consumerism, and we all bought into this a while ago.

So Dominguez urges us to ask ourselves:  How much is enough, how much do you need in order to be satisfied?

What does “enough” mean?

“Enough” is different for all of us, but it is extremely important for each one of us to figure out what it means.  I submit that most of us don’t know the answer to that question just yet.

This year, make it your goal to answer that question; what does “enough” mean for you?

Of course enough doesn’t mean the bare necessities (food, water, shelter and clothing). That’s not really enough for me, but maybe it is for you.

Enough for me means having enough money to live on, enough to be happy, and enough to thrive.  Enough means having a computer, a really nice trombone, a home with X number of rooms (since I sold my stuff, that number of rooms has decreased!), good food, and one car.  The list goes on for me a bit, but you get the point.

For others, enough would include other things, including luxury items even.  It doesn’t matter what is on your list, but it’s important to know what “enough” is for you.  It could include multiple cars, a large TV, or a great iPhone, if that’s what you need to be truly happy.

How to find “enough”:

Ask yourself these questions:

1. What are things that make you happy that you absolutely can’t do without? Are they material things, or are they people, or activities? Knowing the answer to this question can give you some insight into what material things you actually need beyond the bare necessities in order to be happy.

2. What do you need to thrive? I need a musical instrument, a computer to stay connected and write, and a car to get places.  What do you need?

3. What do you need to survive at a comfortable level?  For instance, I needed a good coat this winter.  I got a really nice one at Costco for $35, and it works great.  I didn’t need a designer one, or one with 5 layers.  Go through some of your stuff and ask yourself the same question.

4. How much stuff do you have beyond those things needed for survival, comfort, happiness, and thriving?  Take a look around you, and think about everything in your home. How much of it goes beyond these things that make up the concept of “enough”?  Do you really need them, or do they go beyond enough?

5. If you pared down to just enough (and then some), could you work less? Do you really need all the income you bring in, or is much of it to support a lifestyle that includes way more than enough? What if you had no car payment as opposed to two leased cars?  How much could you save on a house payment that was smaller yet still could accommodate all you have now?  If you didn’t spend all that money like I did during my period of lifestyle inflation, perhaps you wouldn’t need as much income. There are people living happily and comfortably on a lower income than yours and mine.

6. If you worked less, could you be happy with enough, and happier doing other things? If you didn’t have to work, you might be happy with just enough. And you might enjoy working less. It’s something to think about, anyway. Also think about what you would do if you didn’t have to work.  Would you start your own business like you always wanted to?

Having enough…and then some…is all we need.  How much beyond that do you have?  If you are like I was, the answer to that is “a lot!”.  Are you ready to live without it?  I am still in the process of purging the “extra” (it takes a while!), but I am farther along than I was a year ago.

Let me know your thoughts on what “enough (and then some)” means to you!

“It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else that prevents us from living freely and nobly.” 
― Bertrand Russell

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