How To Break The Mindset Of Always Wanting More

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. 

evening-55067_640 How to break the mindset of always wanting more: Photo of sun beyond mountains.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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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  1. You are so right about the list thing! I used to update a list of my own on the computer and then there is my public and private Amazon wish list. We are trained from a young age to send Santa such a list and provide others with lists for holidays, weddings, baby showers, etc. The only result of all of this is the expectation that we will get the stuff eventually and when we do, at long last, we will be happy. Thank you for this post – I feel like we need to talk about this issue a lot more.

    1. I think we’ve been encouraged to write lists and want more all our lives. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  2. Good post Dan. A dishwasher is meant to be used too anyway, otherwise the seals dry out. And the water gets hotter than doing dishes by hand, making it a more sanitary method. But with all the people using dishwashers, there could be a system in place to use the “grey water” for plants…as long as the soap is environmentally friendly of course! That could be said for a lot of things we do regularly – showering, washing hands, clothes, etc…Maybe someday.

    1. Great thoughts, Al. I washed dishes by hand for years, but now wash about twice a week in the dishwasher. I think I’m using much less water this way. Now if I could reuse the water, that would be something.

    1. No. Wanting more material stuff is an ego-focused and selfish desire. Wanting to accomplish more and become better at the things you create and produce is a different story. I focus on the latter.

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