Less is more| How materialism is killing your happiness and 3 ways to counter it

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A blessing in disguise

In life, we constantly strive for more; money, fame, power etc. These are just some of the things that humans have deemed as valuable and that having more of these things, in turn, makes your life better and more meaningful, but when is it enough? when are you truly satisfied?

I’m sure you must have heard stories about millionaires and the famous elites living their best lives while also, under the guise of sanity, indulging in vices behind closed doors.

What these vices are? I’ll let your creative mind figure that out, just know that they aren’t things you should ever strive to do but rather stay away from.

This post emphasises a few key points which you should take into consideration when trying to answer these questions pertaining to satisfaction.

I would also like to mention that everyone has circumstances which differ and depending on your circumstance you may need to seek further guidance to get a clearer and concise understanding of when enough is enough.

Now, with that out of the way lets talk about a few things to keep in mind when not feeling satisfied.

A yearning for less

As the saying goes “less is more”. It is particularly true when aiming for satisfaction. It is rather simple and can be interpreted in the following manner; When you look back at your life and can smile at what you’ve done then you don’t need more to be happy, that need becomes want.

‘Want’ isn’t a bad thing at all, but knowing the difference between the two and understanding exactly what they mean will benefit you greatly in achieving satisfaction.

The idea of ‘need’ is that you require certain things to live a good quality of life. Examples of things which we need to live a good quality of life vary but can be categorized as; Health, wealth and well-being.

As far as health is concerned are you carrying out the proper means to retain good physical functioning such as; exercising and sticking to a nutrition plan.

With regards to wealth do you have enough money to pay the bills and put food on the table, with some money left over for emergencies? and lastly what activities are you doing to optimize your mental health? are you seeing a psychiatrist? are you being open with and socialising with family and friends?

These are all necessary to live a good quality of life. Anything else becomes want which isn’t fuelled by necessity but instead, greed and ambition which prevents your chances of satisfaction. 

Let’s talk about the idea of want. To want is to strive for that which does not cause any real detriment to you if you did not have it in the first place. “I want a new car”, “I want new shoes”, “I want to be famous”.

These are very common wants, all of which will not affect you negatively if you didn’t have them. These wants are what makes a person a slave to their mind, which consecutively takes away from their overall happiness, as it consumes and controls them.

As the Roman emperor and notable stoic philosopher had written down in his journal “You have power over your mind-not outside events, realise this and you will find strength.”

There’s much truth to this and it’s very useful to learn from the teachings of those who had problems far greater than yours, for they had found answers to their hard and difficult obstacles that may be relevant to you and enable you to overcome your obstacles.

Utilization of minimalism

There’s a movement that’s pretty big right now called minimalism. Minimalism is essentially owning fewer things. That’s pretty much it. It’s pretty simple if you look at it that way and it doesn’t take a lot of effort. All you have to do is own fewer things and try to survive with the most basic necessities you need to live a good quality of life.

Minimalism isn’t a cult, it isn’t some sort of religion or a group of young teenagers suffering from an existential crisis. It’s a conscious decision people make in order to de-clutter their everyday lives and hopefully find some sort of clarity in a world which can be all too confusing. 

I myself am not a minimalist but I do believe in having fewer things. I occasionally spend on things I may not need and I’m fine with that. The same goes for you, minimalism doesn’t have to be a complete means for clarity but rather a complementary step to achieving it.

It’s not necessary but it’s pretty useful if you choose to utilize it. Not only will it help you focus on the things that hold value in your life but it will further emphasise the idea of need over want, which will hopefully make you a much happier person in the long term. 

Well, what now?

Let’s assume that you have followed the aforementioned suggestions and have successfully separated your wants from your needs. In order to have done this, you more than likely have differentiated that which is of value to you and adds to your quality of life, and that which is not as important.

Assuming you have done that you are now, in theory, a lot more free from external factors that aren’t needed for happiness, lessening your dependence on them and thus, becoming a lot more satisfied with less. 

However, I do understand that to some degree you may want to partake in what you want instead of what you need because we’re all human and we all have desires at the end of the day.

That’s perfectly fine if you have the means to spend on that which makes you happy, from time to time, regardless of whether or not you need it. After all it’s your life and the final choice is yours.

One other thing to keep specific attention to is your mind when spending on that which you don’t need. Is it too much? if it’s within your means then do it, if not refrain from it, sacrifice your wants for your needs. 

Another thing to remember is that when you spend within your means go all out in an effort to rekindle that lost child-like curiosity we all lose as we grow older, be curious towards that which interests you.

Those choices aren’t fruitless endeavours but rather a much-needed learning experience, which may broaden your mind, allowing you to achieve greater knowledge through having a more intimate relationship with your child-like.

Lastly, assuming that you have settled for less and are content with that, spend time with those that are dear to you. Often than not we tend to take our loved ones for granted and lose time to enjoy their company while seeking greater long term benefits through this sacrifice of time. If you now have the time to spend with loved ones do so, you will be a lot happier.

As always I hope that you’ve gained some guidance and something of value from this post. Feel free to email or message me on social media regarding any topics you may want me to discuss on my next blog post. All links are on my home page. 

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About the author

The scholarly mind

I'm a Writer, life-style blogger and a lover of knowledge. I aim to help those who may need it, whether its self-improvement, productivity tips or the occasional love advice, I'm here to help.

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