Sep 012011

Learning to control enough can be paramount to becoming a 21st century human. The idea is less about saying enough to everything than it is about saying enough to the things that limit us and getting enough of the things that unleash us towards our potential.  It’s something that I struggle with every day.

In our current culture, enough is a constant temptation.  The term “keeping up with the Joneses” has become a common term that many associate with our struggle with enough.  Typically, it’s used to mean trying to attain status symbols like cars and houses that are equal to that of the rest of our contemporaries.  The problem with doing so is that in many cases, we “keep up with the Joneses” at a cost greater than we can afford.  This struggle with enough, and the Joneses is one of the key factors behind the recession/depression that we are currently suffering.  Too many people felt that they needed this or needed that and went and bought it without regard for whether they would be able to pay for it in full.  When it turned out that they couldn’t, they quickly found that they would lose most of it.


In improving ourselves, we must learn to control this ever maddening quest for enough.  It doesn’t have to be as difficult as many make it out to be, either.  The trick, I think, is in adjusting our expectation to a level of enough that is achievable.  Note that I’m not trying to say that you set your sights low.  I’m merely saying that you need to really get down to the nitty-gritty and decide what is really important to you.  Is it really important that you are seen to be on the same level as the Joneses?  Or, will a car that is dependable and cost efficient be enough?  Does your expectation of enough fit with the lifestyle you want to lead?

Set a level of enough that fits with where and what you want to be.  Learn to say enough to the things that are limiting you, and learn to expect more before you say enough to the things that will advance you in your quest to becoming a 21st century human.

Here’s a simple exercise that I think will help you decide on what level of enough you are aiming for.  Write down the subjects that you want to focus on.  Give yourself a full page for each one.  Underneath of it, fill the page with some open dialogue on what you feel are the levels of enough you are currently using, and what you feel are the levels of enough you should be using.  It doesn’t have to be a coherent dialogue.  You won’t be graded on it, and you won’t be sharing it with anyone.  Don’t edit yourself either.  Just write what comes to mind on the subject.  When you’ve filled the page, go back through and read it to yourself, underlining what you feel are the key factors and ideas.  Use those key factors and ideas to decide on a level of enough that will point you in the right direction.

Keep in mind, while doing this exercise, that the level of enough that you settle on doesn’t need to be permanent.  In fact, it shouldn’t be.  As you improve yourself, and learn to control your levels of enough, they will naturally start to equalize to the right levels.