Lawrence Yeo over at More to That has a pretty good, long, and deep post about the concept of enough. I would just want to highlight it to you so that you can take a look.
It is pretty long so I would just want to highlight the areas that resonated more with me.
Finding out your “Enough” point was something I brought up enough in the past, but often, there is a negative connotation if you yearn for something more, and what is “Enough” to you is kind of further away.
Lawrence uses the concept of quantum computing to make us realize that as we progress as a person, we will change.
Imagine that every decision that you (and others in your life) make, leads you down one path in life. Given how many decisions were made, there is so much of this branching that could take place.
For example, if Kyith didn’t grow disillusioned about his computing course in the last year of his degree and didn’t pick up some finance and accounting modules, how would life be different? You can think of what would happen if you bought the condo that seems a little out of reach in 2006 then.
When we start out, the certainty of how much is enough for us is unquestionable. In some of your cases, earning $100,000 in income will be a really comfortable life.
Lawrence explains that what will get us to that $100,000 income will change our identity. When our identity changes, what is enough for us is likely to shift. We are not the same person then anymore.
And because we are different, what we desired as “Enough” will shift along.
Lawrence tries to point out that this isn’t greed always.
Imagine that as a person just about to graduate from university, you would think if you could have $1 million that would be enough. But as you get out to work, and be able to earn $250,000 a year and start to have a young family, what is considered “Enough” would have to shift naturally.
This is not greed but that you are a different person from that kid almost graduating uni.
Ambition vs. Greed
Lawrence tries to make a distinction between ambition and greed:
- Ambition is largely driven by self-actualization, the desire to become a more capable person. When you become more capable, good outcomes arise.
- Greed is when the outcomes become your primary desires. What drove you is more prestige, praise and power.
What happens usually is we start off ambitious but eventually be consumed by greed.
Lawrence cites the work of William Blake:
“You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.”
You cannot know that excesses have consumed you unless you experience what is too much.
There is a continuous interplay between ambition, greed and self-awareness and they seldom stay stagnant. In other words, the way to visualize “Enough” is more of a zone not a single point.
Be The One Deciding Things Instead of Being Forced Into Decisions
Lawrence says that when success is automatically fed more success if left unchecked, will leave you in a world that is far from having any connection to your humble beginnings, or in a world so out-of-touch with the everyday person.
You must be the one to adjust the definition of what is “Enough”, instead of having it forced upon you.
I guess this last one is important and true in that if Kyith tells you having $200,000 is enough, deep down would you be able to accept that? Accepting another person’s view of what should be enough for you is useful if the person truly understands you. But most often, they know less about you so how could you assign strong weight to what they say?
Advice from me is a very good example. My worldview on a lot of things is narrow enough so if you look at what is considered “Enough” through my lens, it may leave you with a smaller amount than what is really enough for you.
Perhaps the best way to know how much is enough is to overshoot it.
Finally, Lawrence also emphasizes an important point: Enough is often more than money.
It is possibly a life zone that you are more than comfortable with. Money features partly in that enough mode, but it is not everything.
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