Always wanting more is a mindset. We aren’t born with it. We’re taught. From a young age our parents gave us stuff. From a young age we made comparisons. We falsely learned that in order to be happy, we must have more. But that leaves you always wanting more. It’s a paradox. But there’s a way to break that mindset.
I’d sure like another guitar. A portable audio recorder would be nice. I’ve always thought it would be cool to have a little sailboat. Oh, and one of those teardrop trailers. And…
I’m sure most of you have a list of stuff you want. It’s pretty much the norm in our culture. Why? Because we’ve been trained to do that. Our parents, our friends, and the media all pull on us to prove our worth through what we own. That’s a lie!
Stop The Want: Start Here
You need to ask yourself a few hard questions. You need to reevaluate your priorities. Consider these:
- Your needs: How much do you really need? Throw want out the window and only consider needs. Be honest. It’s not much is it? Shelter, food, water, clothing, work, reliable transportation and communication, and a few simple furnishings could complete the list. Most everything else is actually extra, convenience. I’m not saying you have to live like a monk, but understand the difference between wants and needs. This is the first step to breaking the mindset of always wanting more.
- The environment: I know many people who claim to care about the environment. Some of these same people have four cars, a boat, and a motorhome. They buy a new tablet and cell phone every year. They purchase hundreds of products without considering from where the material to make those products came. Think about it: nearly everything is made out of plastic these days. Plastic is made from oil. Oil is a natural resource that’s being depleted. Plastics can take hundreds of years to break down. If you’re truly concerned with the environment, buy less stuff, and be aware of the contents in what you do buy.
- Your empathy for others: I know you’ve all heard it, but think about it: much of the stuff that we buy is made by slave workers in other parts of the world. It seems that 90% of department-store merchandise is made in China. What if it was your child, sibling, or parent working long hours in substandard conditions for low wages? Would you care? Of course! Have empathy. Put yourself into their shoes. Rather than always wanting more, consider boycotting companies that have unfair labor practices.
- True happiness: Stuff doesn’t equate happiness. How many times have you bought a shiny new gadget only to get bored with it? True happiness comes from within. You won’t find it in an iPhone or a new boat. You will find it in people and in positive experiences. Spend more time with people. Spend more time in nature. Spend more time being thankful for what you already have instead of always wanting more.
- Practical or artistic value: Living simple doesn’t mean you have to give up the things that serve practical purposes. It doesn’t mean that you have to give up everything that brings you pleasure. I have a dishwasher. It uses less water than doing dishes by hand. It saves me time. I can use that time to do something I love. I can spend more time with friends and family. I can play more music. I own a handful of musical instruments. They bring me hours of pleasure. I can entertain others. I can teach others how to play. That’s artistic value.
Change Your Thoughts About Stuff
If you change the way you think about stuff, you can break your mindset of always wanting more. Consider your needs, the environment, and others’ needs. Make a point to critically consider the products you purchase. Will they benefit you? Will they get used regularly? Are they environmentally-friendly? Where were they made? Who made them?
Stop always wanting more and start living with a little less.
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