I’ve been asking this question a lot lately –
What is enough?
It’s a recurring question that applies to so many aspects of our lives. For example:
- What is enough sleep?
- What is enough food?
- What is enough exercise?
- What is enough personal growth?
- What is enough spirituality?
- What is enough social interaction?
- What is enough money?
The list goes on forever…
To be content with enough is not an easy thing for humans. We often seek more in our lives, especially if we realize joy, pleasure or some measure of success. The desire for more is a recurring human pattern.
The simple answer is our ego. The part of our mind that facilitates identity and self-importance, known as our ego, is not easily content. Give the ego some external influence and you’ve got a dangerous combination to never have enough.
Let me explain…
I think it’s important to start with the modern day definition of enough:
as much or as many as required
So then, what’s actually required for us to live?
Some oxygen, water, food, shelter and sleep. Most of us have that, and most of you reading this have all of that in abundance. In other words, you have way more than what’s required to live.
Yet it’s easy to not think this is enough. We still tend to strive for more.
For example, it’s easy to want a bigger home than what’s required. More space and areas to play? Yes please! We love feeling like our home is a big and spacious place to be with others. Am I right?
But let’s step back and analyze what’s happening here…
Instead of living modestly with what we need, we tend to level up and live beyond our needs. There’s ego underneath having a nice, large home to host and entertain guests. Our friends and families have nice homes, so why shouldn’t we?
Not only that, but we also tend to extend ourselves financially. Many of us take out 30-year mortgages to simply live the “bigger” life. We fail to realize the effects and imprisonment of this choice. We give up our freedom for a 30-year commitment. 30 years! That’s a lot of life. But without the big house and new mortgage we don’t feel like we have enough. The ego wins the battle.
Another prime example is gift giving around the holidays. You probably know where this is going. The Christmas music starts playing around town and then everyone becomes Santa Claus! More gifts, more giving, more sales, more madness. The ego kicks in and we simply want to become someone who gives.
To be clear, I’m all for spreading holiday spirit. However, Christmas has evolved into a societal brainwash driven by marketing. We could all be perfectly content with a gift or two, yet we tend to extend ourselves from external influence. We take on the extra pressure and burden to get all the gifts for all the people. And somehow we still don’t feel like it’s enough. Ego wins again.
And so it brings us back to the question – what is enough?
Well, I think it goes right back to the definition of what’s required. You see, all the other animals in the world only need what’s required. They don’t seek more or extend themselves. They can be content and live by nature’s design. That’s basically how life and all of its awesome biology works.
So… why don’t we do that?
Because we’re humans with egos who are easily influenced by others and our environment.
We live in cities and towns with other people who have a bunch of stuff. And then we turn on our TV’s or smartphones only to find more ads and marketing for even more stuff. We’re surrounded and inundated by the desire for more. This inflates the ego and sparks the feeling of not being enough.
However, there is a way to feel enough.
It goes right back to nature…
In nature, enough is easy to feel because there are no distractions or influences to fuel the constant desire for more. There are no people or marketing campaigns to make us feel inadequate. Nature provides everything we need. Everything that’s required to live.
And if you step into nature every now and then, I bet you’ll feel like you have enough. In fact, I bet you’ll feel like have more than enough. The ego will calm down and you’ll see nature’s amazing design.
I have to give credit to my friend, Chris Emick, who helped me finish the thoughts for this post during a recent podcast. He helped me realize that I always feel enough when I’m in nature. For example:
- When hiking, I’m not thinking about material desires. I’m content with the adventure and beauty that nature provides.
- When camping, I’m not thinking about sleep tracking or a bigger home. I’m content with the ground and natural shelter that nature provides.
- When fishing, I’m not thinking about a gourmet meal or fine wine. I’m content with nourishing my body with what nature provides.
- When snowboarding, I’m not thinking about a new car or my next vacation. I’m content being one with the mountain and gliding along the snow that nature provides.
When I remove myself from the “material” world and people who focus on such things, I become content. I find internal peace from nature’s design. The ego is silenced and I feel like I have enough.
Okay, okay… enough already!
I think you get the point by now. There is a fine line between enough and more. We often cross it. The ego and external influences play a major role. My intention with this post is to simply encourage you to consider why you need to cross it. Because at the end of the day, you probably have enough.
Perhaps you just need to realize that. Or, perhaps you just need to get outside more 🙂
Ali is a creator who's passionate about coaching people through desired self transformation. That's a fancy way of saying he wants to help people do their inner work. He's a father, husband, podcaster, blogger, technologist and many other things that inspire him to stay curious and learn. He's also a huge advocate for nature, hiking, adventure, testing physical limits and experiencing the natural world.