I hear people talk about those who have less — usually less materially or less opportunity — as deserving help and compassion. With due respect to their problems, I’d like to consider another challenging situation: having too much.
First let me preface the huge difference between having too little and too much: people with too much can cut back. People with limited access to resources or opportunity can’t usually create them out of thin air. People with too much may not know how to cut crap out, but they can. Big difference.
Walking around New York last visit, I saw people with a lot more stuff and opportunity than I saw in Asia. But I didn’t see them happier. On the contrary, I saw many of them more miserable. Perhaps most of all, in a land where diet books are among the biggest segment people are overwhelmingly fat. They spend money on how to spend less money on food. They wouldn’t spend that money, I presume, if they wanted to stay fat. Same with self-help in general. People spend money to start new programs to simplify their lives. They make their lives complex trying to make them simple.
Why don’t people figure out how to simplify? Why don’t people improve their lives instead of buying things?
The big picture on having too much
I’ve found happiness and emotional reward create the best life (which my model and method show how to create). Having more stuff and opportunities than you know what to do with can distract you from the life you could have as well as having too little.
Don’t let people telling you to get more distract you. Their incentives usually differ from yours. Remember what you want in life — for me emotional reward, which I create with the environments, beliefs, and behaviors I choose — and go for that goal. Buying soda, sneakers, and junk food probably won’t help. Nor will a garage full of stuff. For me, an emptier room improves my life better than a full one.
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book