Our culture is a culture of more, bigger, better. But it’s an endless chasing. Have you gotten stuck in a rut or a routine? You’ve been told you need more, so you buy. You’ve been told you need better, so you struggle. What if I told you there’s a better way than endless chasing?
It’s Not About Having More Or Less
I’ve noticed something about humans. Most are never happy because most never accept their current circumstances. People, in one way or another, get caught up in an endless chasing.
- Entrepreneurs want the next big deal.
- Athletes want a faster race time.
- Americans want more stuff.
- Minimalists want less stuff.
- I just want another guitar.
You get the idea. Often, you’re not happy with what you have, so you become obsessive in an attempt to change your circumstances. You falsely believe that the next job, the bigger house, the sexier partner, or even reducing your belongings to fit into a backpack will make you happy. But this belief that the next thing we get, do, or let go of will make us happy is a false dilemma. It creates an endless chasing.
I recently read a couple of articles that led to this post:
- Our Love/Hate Relationship With Work @ Becoming Minimalist
- Everything I Own: My 288 Things @ The Minimalists
Check Out These Numbers
- 70% of employed Americans are disengaged from their work.
- 18% of workers are actively disengaged—meaning they aren’t just unhappy; they are busy acting out their unhappiness.
- 74% of employed workers would consider a new job opportunity if one was presented.
- The 4-Hour Workweek has spent 7 years on The New York Times bestseller list.
- Americans count down the years to retirement at age 65 and CNN defines early retirement as the ultimate “American Dream.”
Americans are unhappy with their work. So what do we do? We keep working harder. We keep trying to find a better job and a bigger paycheck. Why? There’s a false belief that better and bigger will make us happier. In some cases the false belief comes in chasing smaller, and less.
From The Minimalists
Other minimalists have taken the counting challenge to the extreme. Among these brave souls are Colin Wright and his 51 things, Leo Babauta and his 50 things, Tammy Strobel and her 72 things, and Nina Yau and her very impressive 47 things.
Do you see what’s going on here? Many minimalists get stuck in an endless chasing of less. I see posts from minimalist blogs every day suggesting that I pare down even more than I already have. Joshua Fields Millburn went as far as saying that his 288 things did not equate to being minimalist. If he’s not a minimalist, that makes me and my several thousand things… gluttonous.
Chasing Is Not The Answer
The answer lies in being more accepting of a realistic balance and having less expectations of outcomes.
I’m not saying you should give up your goals, hopes, and dreams. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do things to create a more peaceful and healthy life. What I am saying is that we need to stop with the extremes. We need to stop the endless chasing of more… and less.
As long as you obsessively attempt to change your circumstances, you’ll never be happy. It’s only when you accept your current circumstances that you begin to experience more happiness.
Life is not about how much you have or how much you let go. It’s about finding a healthy balance where you don’t feel like you have to do something to attain happiness. It’s about finding contentment within you. It’s about accepting your place in the here and now.
I’ve written two ebooks that shed more light on this topic: They’re free: