The world today seems to be all about more. People are insistent that they need to do more. You see it from the earliest days of schooling in children. Parents are convinced that their children need to participate in more sports. It is not enough for their child to play soccer, they must also play basketball or run cross country. The cannot be limited only to sports either. They should also be learning to play piano or violin. In addition to this, children should be exposed to volunteering and spiritual service when they are young. So, community service, Bible study and youth group all get added to a child’s schedule. On top of all this, the child needs to make sure they do all of their homework and study a bit extra to make sure they get good grades. All of this becomes more and more necessary as the child ages. Middle schoolers need to be the best at their sport so that they can earn a good slot as a freshman in high school. High schoolers need to have a resume stuffed full of extracurricular activities while still maintaining high grades in order to get into a good college. College students are told something similar in order to both make the most of their college years and to appear to be an attractive candidate in the eyes of employers.
People do not only worry about doing more either. They want to have more. They want to have enough money to buy fancy clothes or a new car. They want to have electronics that are newer than their coworkers’ devices. They want to have bigger houses or eat at more expensive restaurants. They need the latest and greatest of everything from kitchen utensils that are supposed to somehow make your life radically easier by ensuring you have a gadget made specifically for coring strawberries or removing avocado pits to apps that tout their ability to help you locate your car in the parking lot. No one considers that they rarely need to core a strawberry or that they could always simply make a note of where they parked. The point is not about making life more efficient. It is all about having more and being able to show off that you have these things.
Some people even take the same approach to things that are supposedly in their pleasure category. They enjoy traveling occasionally, but when they see a friend’s Facebook photos in an exotic location, it is no longer enough to simply take a trip to the state beach. They need to have more experiences and more stories than those around them, so they insist on booking a trip to Iceland and stressing over an international flight rather than simply enjoying the relaxing week at the local beach they had originally planned.
In addition to wanting to both do and have more, people seem to think that they have to somehow be more. They need to be more fit and more attractive. They need to be more beautiful or more handsome. They do not just obsess over appearances either. They are convinced that they need to be funnier and tell better jokes. They need to be bolder and more outspoken, even though they have always been the soft-spoken friend and good listener. They need to be adventurous rather than admit that they prefer familiar surroundings. They need to be a wild, free spirit rather than someone who prefers things to be simple, organized and scheduled. They need to be more of whatever ideal society has become enamored with recently.
All this desire for more leaves people convinced that there is not enough to go around. Everyone needs more, so they need to get their share as soon as possible. This leads to unfriendly competition, resentment and anxious comparison where no one ever measures up to the ideal they are trying to project.
In this crazy world, people need to recapture the power and beauty of “enough.” “Enough” is a simple but powerful word. It implies contentment and, terrifying to the frantic modern mind, a cessation of action, desire or pursuit. Enough, however, is what so many people need in order to get their lives back on track.
In order to stop running yourself ragged trying to do a thousand things, realize that you already do enough. No one can do everything in the world. If you try, you will only strip yourself of energy. You will be doing a million things, but the job you will be doing will be mediocre at best. Instead, pick the things that set your soul on fire and dedicate your time and energy to those and those alone. If you really love playing on the company’s softball team, keep playing. If you go to PTA meetings with a sense of palatable dread, stop attending. Instead, put that energy toward something that matters to you.
Simplify your possessions and obsessions with the reminder that you have enough. You have clothing in your closet, food on the table, a roof over your head and shoes on your feet. You do not need anything else. Other things might be nice, and there is nothing wrong with buying something you really want, but stop pretending it is something you need. Limit what you buy by asking yourself both why you want it and how much it is really worth to you. If you want to buy that new phone simply so you can say you have the latest and greatest but your old phone works just find, put the new model back and spend the money on something more important instead.
Most importantly, you need to remember that you are enough. You do not need to be fitter, prettier or anything else. Your worth does not come from your appearance. It does not come from your conglomeration of personality traits and how well they fit the image of perfection either. Societal preferences for both appearances and personalities change all the time. Your worth does not. You are enough as you are purely because you exist. You are alive. You have worth. Too many people forget that there is nothing wrong with enough. In fact, the goal should be to see your life as being enough. That means you are content and at peace, a state that everyone should hope to one day achieve.