Enough

The key to happiness is being grateful for whatever is happening!

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. ~ Epictetus


Enough is enough, but we can get more.

I asked myself:

How much is enough? When will there be enough?

I define enough as:

The quantity or degree that answers a purpose, satisfies a need or desire. As much or as many are required to suffice. An adequate amount. When I have as much as I need.

When I have as much as I need, I can stop. Too often, I go way past the point of enough. My definition of greed? When too much still isn't enough. It's an insatiable appetite for something. Greed is not a quality to admire.

The one thing I need I had enough before I was born. I've always had it and nobody can take it away. It doesn't have to be paid for, earned, nor can it be taken away. It exists in abundance and is available to everyone. What is the one thing I need?

I made a long list of all the things I thought I needed to be happy. After revisiting this list over the course of several days, I discovered that the everything I needed had one common thread. That one common thread was easier to obtain than everything else on the list, because it's something I realized I already had. The only thing I truly need is Peace.

It's not until we've finally had enough that we realize we've had more than enough all along.

Our past often provides clues as examples of what not to do.

In terms of time or money, I tend to overextend myself - past the point of enough. I never have enough time to do everything I want, but I'll always make time for what I need. I stretch at times to level up. But going too far creates another obstacle, usually in the form of a setback. Like the player in a video game, I'm forced to restart the level.

It seems to me that most of my life had been viewed from one of two perspectives:

Words are powerful triggers

No more buts.

I discovered technique that can be used to level up your game achieving greater results. I can take a problem I see in life, and turning it into a new possibility as I work towards resolution.

In the face of unresolved problems, the path often becomes blurred.

A default setting is to state your problem in the manner:

I want _____, but I'm not able to _____.

The hack is simple. Change the ‘but’ to ‘and’.

I want _____, and I'm able to _____ to get it.

In doing so, you are getting a clearer view of reality and can identify more possible solutions.

Before: I want more time for myself BUT work is too busy right now.

After: I want more time for myself AND work is too busy right now. Key to this is seeing the power of our language. When you change the ‘BUT’ to ‘AND’, it becomes a statement as to ‘the way things are’ and you can accept it ‘as the way things are’ instead of resisting it .. remember, what you resist persists, what you accept goes away. Humans are the only species who can ‘think’ that something shouldn’t be so – all other species simply accept things for the way they are. From this, you can turn the problem into a possibility by using this personal statement: “Standing in the future; what outcome could you create that when accomplished, not only disappears the problem, but the accomplishment of it inspires you, and makes a difference by contributing to others?” You need to remember to speak in present tense (as if the event has already occurred). Here’s my example: “I want more time for myself and work is too busy right now.”

Need or want?

Do you want more time or do you need more time?

I've wanted more time for years. Instead of determining there's never enough time, I'm looking it from the other side.

Instead of asking the question "I have enough time to [blank]" to 'Given [blank], how much time do I need?'

Maybe it ties back to options. I want enough time to do everything I want. But in reality, I really only have enough time to get what I need. My wants will always exceed my needs. But if I'm not meeting my basic needs, I'll never have what I want.

But what if all I wanted was to meet my basic needs?

Define basic needs! * A warm bed. * Protection from the elements. * A loving companion. * Supportive friends & family. * Safety. * Free of obligation.

There's enough time for what?

I'm redefining what I want based on the time budget available.
We think we have an unlimited time budget. We don't.
Our time is limited. When we spend time on one thing, we give up time on another.

You always have enough

I've come to realize, trusting in the perfection the moment, that the there will never be enough for all I want, but there will always be enough for what I need.

When I obtain more than enough, I have excess. When I are in the habit of taking on too much, I become a slave to Ir excess.

When I have enough (and most of us do), stop!

Money. I can spend what I don’t have, but I’ll have to pay it back (with interest). A dollar borrowed costs more than a dollar spent.

Time. I can’t save it. It's use it or lose it. Time spent in the past can't be relived today. Time is spent the moment it arrives. The best I can do is spend it wisely and invest it for the future. When waste my time, they steal moments that can never be replaced. I want give my full attention to whomever I'm with because those moments for both of us will never be replaced.

The reward in letting go of my wants is that I can spend more time with what I need.

"We only learn our limits by going beyond them." ~ Tony Robbins

Level 1 - Mantra

I envy those who have what I want, but admire those who have what I need.

There will always be enough time and money for what I need. When I don't feel as if I have what I will revisit the list I wrote that made it clear I only need one thing to be happy, whole, and complete: Peace.

Level 2 - Minimalism

I admire minimalists. Their threshold for enough is lower than most. It's seen by some an extreme way to love, and I suspect that for myself, enough lies somewhere between a minimalist and and maximalist. But given my earlier thoughts on enough, why would I ever want more that peace? It's my pursuit of everything else that steals peace from myself.

Define enough, and stop.

If everyone stopped at enough, we wouldn't need to work so much. Consider the quotes below:

"Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it." ~ Ellen Goodman

"Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war, our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off." ~ Quote from the movie Fight Club.

Level 3 - The end of entitlement

“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.” ― Brené Brown

Successful people have a sense of gratitude. Unsuccessful people have a sense of entitlement. My definition of entitlement is tied to expectation. It's to expect anything more than what you got. It's a cry for getting what she got, because hell, it's only fair if we all win first place. Today's young entitled all get a trophy.

I know the truth of the matter is: I am not entitled to anything beyond my opinion. I'm entitled my opinion as much as anyone else. Is hard work always rewarded? No. Will life ever be fair? No.

When I drop my sense of entitlement for anything except for what is, life becomes less of a struggle and peace more prevalent

I was stuck keeping a balance sheet of the 'gives' to 'gets' ratio. Even being very generous a 20:1 (gives:gets) ratio, I was still keeping tabs on my effort vs. reward, and it's a game better left unplayed.

The basic fact of the matter, when I discovered that the 'get' reward is in the 'give' effort itself, I found peace.

You are hereby entitled to nothing.

What was given can be taken away and the way things were doesn’t set a precedent for the way things are or will be. Entitlement serves as a reminder that none of us are ever entitled to anything. I am simply entitled to that which life gives me, which is coupled with what I give life. The vast majority of the so-called first world problems in fact stem from a sense of entitlement.

The dawn of excess

The 80's is often seen as the era of excess. Today, it's evident to me that excess is more prevalent than ever (from the top down). The fact that we elected a president who first considered running in the 80's makes our obsession with excess blatantly clear. There's a fascination with the ultra rich. It's also when many Americans reached the point enough. What happened as a result of going past the point of enough? Enter the age of entitlement.

Although Gen Y has been labeled as the 'entitlement generation,’ I believe it's a mindset that crosses multiple generations.

Entitlement

When I get more than I give, I risk being inflicted by a sense of entitlement. Take health care for example. Growing up, when I didn't feel well, I went to the doctor. I never gave it a second thought. I had a family doctor who knew our family well and I always left feeling better (and with a Dum Dum lollipop). Growing up in a middle-class family, I got entitled to the attention of a good doctor whenever I needed it.

First world problems are not real problems

Most of the things we complain about in everyday American life are truly 'first world problems.' They are often self-inflicted. What are some examples of first world problems? We get a tasteless meal. The waiter takes to look to bring us our meal or gets our order wrong. We are forced to wait for what a life of privilege affords us. Our sense of entitlement stem from believing that things should be any different than they are.

News flash! We have enough! We have more than enough. We are still living in an era of excess that began before most of us were born. Life is no longer a struggle, but we often make it so. We only expect more from the world because the world has already given us so much more than we need.

We only strive to get more because we failed to stop and see that we already have enough.

That new $1000 iPhone? What is it about Ir current iPhone that isn’t enough? I bet I’ve hardly tapped even 50% of the potential of Ir current smartphone, and now I want more? More of what? More of what I didn't need before?

So many of us fall victim to an obsession with technology. We are conditioning our kids to expect more. In many ways, we've passed the point of enough. I write in plain text, which is a throw back the very first word processors. Microsoft tried to convince us that we needed so much more. But here I am, 20 years later, back to using the technology I started with.

I've learned that when we go past the point of enough, we become a slave to the excess. Excess is always hungry for more.

Have we gone too far?

How far is far enough?

Do I remember going to see Avatar 3D? It blew us away. For a time, it set the standard for virtual reality. But we expect more from Avatar 2. Are we conditioned to believe there’s will always be more? That there’s never enough and always further to go?

Is too much of enough why so many in the world despises Americans? How much of the hard work that continues to define our culture is due to our excess of enough? When did we fail to see that we had more than enough?

We admire those who have enough. We resent those who have too much. The forthcoming book Tall Poppy Syndrome exams how we, as a culture, cut down those who go too far.

When I have more than enough, the reward is to share Ir excess. We’ve had more than our share of success and it’s time we shared it with the rest of the world. To do otherwise is arrogant. When did we become so greedy?

Today, the world is clearly being pushed to its limits by our drive for excess. Too many people want too much. We have pushed way beyond the point of enough. The system is freezing up and our operating system is overloaded.The risk of catastrophic failure and a total system shutdown is imminent.

It's time for a reboot. Enough is enough.

Part II

“When something is important enough, I do it even if the odds are not in my favor.” ― Elon Musk

What if we limited ourselves to what we can actually afford (in cost & time)?

The end of the entitlement era.

I are no longer entitled to anything.

The solution to the problem is usually to stop doing what caused the problem to begin with. When I dig myself into a hole, I am reminded to stop digging.

When I reach the a predefined limit, stop. Enough is enough. If I didn't previously define a stopping point, I'll stop now and evaluate if I've already passed the point of enough.

Entitlement is the breeding ground for discontent and blocks me from appreciating all the gifts I already posses.

When I face the truth that I are not entitled to anything, freedom follows. When I discover that life owes me nothing, I see I am the source of power and control. I know that nothing is given and everything is earned. What was given can be taken away and the way things were doesn’t set a precedent for the way things are or will be. Without expectations, there can be no disappointment. There's no longer any resistance to how things are. Give and take isn’t a game I play.

When was it enough?

We work hard for our money. We exchange our time (and our freedom) for the dollars we earn. Do we spend what we earn on things we want or things we need? When I restrict Ir spending to what I need, I’ll likely discover I already earn more than enough. In fact, taking an inventory of what I actually need may allow the the fear of earning less to fall away. When is it enough?

Will we ever be rich enough, loved enough, thin enough, healthy enough, famous enough, or happy enough? It’s subjective, isn’t it? What is viewed as rich enough will vary from person to person unless it’s been quantified. Rich enough for example can be defined by one’s income earned, or a total net worth, or perhaps a combination of both. I challenge I to think of it this way: what’s my optimal income? Optimal being defined as living at peace. Having all Ir needs met. Being able to spend time with the people I love and doing meaning work.

Indeed, the word I choose is loaded. Can I ever have enough love? I know through friends who are experience it first hand - love is ever expanding, and if so, how could I ever have enough?

We didn’t set out to live this life of excess. Instead, we just failed to define what enough was before we reached it. I can’t see it if I don’t know what it is.

If I never set limits, I’ll never know when those limits are exceeded (until it’s too late).

This is the key. The moment of enough is reached when we arrive at the predefined objectives.

Why is it that once we achieve a goal, we feel a need to keep going?

My mission is to make a positive impact on a million people in a significant way. When will my efforts be enough? Not until I've made a significant impact on a million people. What’s significant? Significant is subjective. What's determined to be significant will greatly vary from one person to the next.

I know that from now until the day I die, my mission will never be fulfilled because I can always make a more significant impact. I choose to increase my significance in the lives of those I can reach than to reach more with less significance. To spend less time with more of I so I can spend more time with less of I.

Unlike a goal, a mission isn’t anything that will ever be achieved. My mission is my purpose, and that purpose will keep me alive longer than anything else.

Scenario 1
I are hungry. I know that a burger is more than enough calories for one meal. So when the cashier asks I if I want fries and a drink with Ir burger, I reply “no, the burger is enough.”

Scenario 2
I are driving down a highway. How fast is fast enough? If I the speed limit is 65, but I are driving 55 in the fast lane, I aren’t going fast enough. But if I are going 75, I are going too fast. Our perspective impacts our experience of speed. The higher I are off the ground, the less I feel the actual speed.

Define Ir limits before I go too far.

When I reach Ir predefined limit, stop. Although there is always a draw to keep going, why should I? At what point does going too far began to negatively impact Ir goal? Perhaps sooner than I think.

Example 1:
I need 15 students registered. But if I go beyond that, the quality of the class suffers because of my ability to teach too many.

Example 2:
A university admits 800 extra students due to a glitch in the admissions process. Ask any teacher, and they’d say they already had enough students. Being unable to possibly give each student the time and attention they once could. In this case, going past the point of enough has put strain on an already overloaded system. Because the university went past the point of enough, the excess of enough is having a negative impact on the entire system.

Have we already gone too far?

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” ~ T.S. Elliot

Perhaps it’s time to start questioning the validity of quotes from all these people born in a different era. Did T.S. Elliot expect us to live by that motto today? If he were alive, he might agree that we’ve gone too far.

Perhaps I’ve taken this idea far enough. My contemplation has reached the point of saturation.

Have I gone far enough?

I haven't given it enough time. We are conditioned to believe results come quick. We desperately seek the effect to the cause and want to see immediate results. The truth is that anything significant doesn't come without a lot of effort and time. My friend Becky is in better shape that ever. At 70, my dad was completing Ironman triathlons. Both of these individuals began their tiny habits years ago and today are living happy, healthy lives that many of us admire who haven't yet gotten the results.

Sacrifices will be made, but the more clear I are on the outcome, The easier it will be to BEcome who I need to be. It's at this point when the effort is no longer seen as enjoyable or as a sacrifice.

Call to action

I try to end every writing with a call to action, a challenge to the reader. For today, I want I to look at Ir life and question where I’ve passed the point of enough. If I already have too much, what can I shed to get back to the point of just enough? Were in Ir life have I become a slave to excess?

It’s once we realize we have enough, and take our foot off the gas, that we truly enjoy how much we’ve got.

Will my writing every be good enough?

I realize in looking back that I've failed to put much of my creative work out because I never feel it's good enough. I originally resented those who'd proceed to put forth less than perfect products. But I've grown to admire their transparency. You'll never know until you get feedback, and when you do, know that the bar one person sets may be much lower or higher than your own. It's all a matter of perspective, right?

It'll never be as good as it can get, but it's likely better than it's been.


Learning to love enough

(from Zen Habits)

Learn to love enough.

If you always want what others have, you will never have enough. You will always want more. That’s an endless cycle, and it will never lead to happiness.

No matter how many clothes you buy, no matter how many houses you own (seven, in the case of one famous candidate), no matter how many fancy cars you acquire … you’ll never have enough. Instead, learn to realize that what you have is already enough.

If you have shelter over your head, food on the table, clothes on your back, and people who love you, you are blessed. You have enough. Anything you have over and above that — and let’s admit that all of us reading this blog have more than that — is more than enough. Be good with that, and you’ll find contentment.


The secret to contentment is to simply be content now. There is nothing more you need that what you have right now.

I am grateful for what I have, for what I've had, and for whatever comes next.

I'm grateful for everything that's happened, happening, and happening next. That's why it's called happiness.

Not Enough or Too Much?

In our effort to feel loved, we concluded that who we were was often either not enough. When is enough? Enough is now. You were always enough. Don't let anyone (including yourself) convince you that you are not:

Or that you are too much...

If we believe those who don't accept us for who we are, we live in a space of 'never enough.' And we spend our lives trying to compensate to meet the expectations of others.

Further Reading

Thoughts, suggestions, ideas? My writing is never done, and I welcome any and all feedback!