We had a friend over for dinner one night and I let him know that he should bring his guitar. Kevin has been playing for quite a while and plays in a band called Smoke Damage. Most often, they play at Henry’s Upstairs in Lawrence, KS. I just started learning in August of 2018, so I’ve been learning for over a year and a half now.
He let me play his guitar and I was amazed at the difference between his guitar and my Breedlove. I have to admit, that I have a feeling of not having enough. I really covet his guitar.
It plagues us all. There is always something more shiny and better out there than what we have. Along with that, there is some sort of demon lurking inside us that is able to convince our mind and soul that once we acquire that shiny and better thing, we will be happier.
We’ve been down that road so many times you think we would have learned by now that the happiness is only temporary. It never brings the true happiness we thought that it would. Somehow, the demon lurking inside is able to shut off that foresight we have. It’s as if we pull the wool over our own eyes so we can get that temporary rush of good feeling. But at what cost?
Why can’t we be happy with what we already have? Or, can we?
Limit Your Exposure
If I had not known that a better guitar existed in the world, I still would have been happy. It now torments me knowing how much easier they play and the deeper sounds that come out of a premium guitar.
I’m not suggesting to stop inviting friends over so you can avoid coveting your friend’s guitar. I do suggest that you don’t go online afterwards and begin looking at the very thing you covet. Limit your exposure. One, there are better things to do with your time. Two, it helps create the necessary cool off period between finding something you want and making a possible purchase.
Deprive Yourself Occasionally
In a biography of Ben Franklin by Walter Isaacson, you can learn about how Ben Franklin once bought a small loaf of bread one evening, half of which he had that night for a dinner and half of which he had in the morning for breakfast after sleeping on the floor all night. After this deprivation, he realized that this wasn’t as bad as he imagined and that if it came down to that, he would be okay.
Tim Ferriss has often suggested the same kind of deprivation in his podcasts and books. He often likes to quote Seneca:
“Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with course and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: ‘Is this the condition that I feared?”Seneca
Practicing such deprivation from time to time will help you find much satisfaction with what you already have.
Mandatory Cool Off
When you make a decision to have something more, make sure to give yourself some time to cool off. Most important during this time is to limit your exposure to that newer and shinier thing, and to really think about how it will make you happier and bring you joy.
When you finally do bring in something more, consider making it a rule to get rid of two things. Mandatory item #1: The older and less shinier thing should not stick around. If you make this a steadfast rule, it can also help in the decision to get the newer and shinier thing in the first place. Are you willing to give up the thing you already have? If you aren’t, then why do you need the newer thing in the first place? Are you not happy with what you have?
Most of you that read this do have enough. If you can embrace that to the fullest, and be happy with what you have, you will have something that most people don’t have: enough.
Featured photo by Philipp Berndt on Unsplash