At the heart of most performance is the internal drive for more. More money. More recognition. More house. More car. More extravagant vacations. More power. More status.
But at the heart of our insatiable need for more is an empty bucket. Why do we need more?
Society (also known as your family, neighbors, colleagues, and complete strangers) says more is better. Billionaires are ranked in glamorous order by their wealth, despite all of them possessing so much that an extra billion or two doesn’t change a thing.
By seeking and achieving more in our surface existence, we temporarily feel the high of accomplishment. We feel more. But only for a bit. More is addicting. You need even more of more the next time to get the same reinforcement of your achievement.
Unfortunately, we also have a dealer on every street corner offering more right now with 0% interest. No hard work or accomplishment needed. Instant more.
Ultimately there is no permanent more. Even if you work ridiculously hard and sacrifice much of your life to getting more, it can all be lost in a breath. More is never enough.
Less is not sexy, enticing, or reinforced in our relationships. The vast majority of the time I don’t want less. I want more. I want a bigger deck. I want to renovate the bathroom. I want a trip to South America.
I want more (and more and more), until I focus on the truths underpinning the concept of less as more (a little bit like when I want more food and I have to repeat that ugly saying about the lips and the hips).
When we sacrifice less, we experience much more.
I have sacrificed much time away from my family for more. I didn’t leave the office until the wee hours the night before my scheduled delivery and was answering emails the day after my son was born. I went back to work full-time (read: 50+ hours per week) within a month.
There is an opportunity cost to all things. There is always sacrifice. The truth of sacrificing less means sacrificing less of your priorities, less of what matters most to you. Some of us must sacrifice time away from what matters just to make ends meet. But we each possess the ability to grow and reach for opportunities that will eventually make that unnecessary.
By spending less, we have more to invest and give.
This truth isn’t just about money. It’s spending any and all of our resources: money, time, patience, emotion, and relationships, among others. We too often blow everything we have at work in order to get ahead, rather than investing and utilizing our resources where the return on investment is immediate and much more predictable long term.
By relying on less, we feel rich and free.
One of the real burdens of having more is the sense of dependence on your job, the stock market, or other other factors that could leave us with the inability to maintain the more we have so carefully hoarded. Additionally, the things that make us feel like we have more eventually entrap us, taking up precious free time and space maintaining them.
When we focus on less, we achieve more.
Multitasking was once heralded as the ultimate skill, but research has repeatedly shown that our results are tied to how focused we are. Juggling many different projects, family, hobbies, and your health is a difficult act (hence the many obese and divorced “successful” folks in the world).
When we align our lives around our top priorities, we focus on less and reap the rewards of greater happiness, stability, and excitement.
What could you cut out of your life so that you could magnify what matters?