How To Get More: Less

This is the first in a series on how to get more….

I saw a Facebook post that stated everyone really wants the same thing – more. More love, more money, more friends, more toys, more promotions, etc. The idea intrigued me, so I told my Facebook friends about the post and asked them what they wanted more of. The answers were eye opening! And fun.

People went along with my question, until one redhead (teasing friends is so much fun!) acted independent and answered “NO! I want less. Less stress. Less intolerance. Less stuff. Less fanaticism. Less impatience. Less distractions.” Trying to keep the conversation going in the More direction I flippantly replied “let me be so bold as to suggest you want more patience, more space, more tolerance, more happiness, more focus. :~) Whatcha think?” To that I got a good humored Like.

Other people who replied said they want more happiness, love, connection, silence, balance (I love it when people say that since that’s what I want for people!) and peace. There were also answers like time, humility, healthy years, space, responsibility, and truth. One friend even said “more sleep” (I think more people need more sleep, so that’s a good thing to want.) I asked each respondent questions about their answers, and what plans or ideas they had for getting what they want. The interactions from this “simple question” were rewarding, and why I bother with Facebook.

In tallying the responses, I got more of the “I want less” response than any other responses (there were several duplicate votes of other suggestions, and those will be covered in future articles in this “How To Get More:” series). One friend was adamant that More is the problem! I pushed back a bit, suggesting there is a positive twist to having more, as I’d done with my redhead friend. But, this friend stayed the course, and expanded on the reasoning behind the answer. It makes sense to me that there are many things we can use less of and thereby simplify and enrich our lives. To me, less doesn’t mean deprivation, it often means abundance.

Does less mean abundance to you? Or, does less make you feel as if you are punishing yourself and depriving yourself of those things you feel are your prerogative, and what you want? That may be the crux of the difference between people who want more and the people who want less; whether they feel less is deprivation and punishment, or whether they feel less creates space for abundance.

One of the things my husband, Randy, and I have done for years is to give ourselves experiences rather than gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas. We don’t need more stuff, and tend to buy what we really want as we need it. That resonates with us tremendously! The experiences we’ve given each other through the years is what we are taking into old age with us. We have a long way to go until we get old, but the memories are growing and satisfying.

As I watch my 90+ year old parents age — yep, they qualify as old now — it’s their memories they talk about more than the things. Some of the things they had have contributed to their memories, like Dad’s shotgun he bought with his paper route money that he went hunting with. But even then, it’s not the gun that’s his memory, it’s the hunting with his buddies that he reminisces about.

The family we “adopted” a few years ago is now the recipient of our attitude about getting more experiences and less stuff. You got it; the kids glow about the experiences we’ve given them more than the things. We all benefit with this approach.

I pulled together a list for you of ideas about what would be good to have less of. My list includes distractions, illness, weight, exhaustion, frustration, resentment, distance from friends and family, anxiety, and worry. The list can go on, no doubt. But it’s your turn to answer.

What “less” do you want more of?

2 thoughts on “How To Get More: Less”

  1. Ok Kit, I’m gonna bite on this one. In my perspective I have watched, over my lifetime, the tendency in our culture to want more and more, and yet I don’t always see it equate with happiness or satisfaction. The very first thing that came to mind was the old saying “Less is more”. I’ve experienced it many times. How great does that cup of coffee taste first thing in the morning after sleeping out all night in a tent, maybe in the pouring rain?

    I don’t need to go to a fancy party every night,or have a closet full of evening gowns to feel I have “more”. In fact I’d rather watch a sunset from my front porch most evenings. Is one “more” and one “less” — maybe–but it may depend upon the person or the day. In studies on American culture — we are definitely high on the scale of possessions and options for things to do…. yet on the happy scale we fall far short. Cultures we may consider “poor” by American standards often win in the happiness category. We may feel grumpy, entitled, we complain a lot. Can we even measure it in terms of less and more ( maybe we can) or are we really wanting satisfied minds?. Peaceful minds, loving minds.

    Maybe it isn’t about having more but giving more, sharing more and loving others more. The last idea I’d like to share has to do with music, but it could relate to writing, poetry, graphic art, a movie, a beautifully cherried out 1956 Cadillac, or a pot of perfectly cooked collard greens. In music I’m constantly in awe of how its not about less or more at all — its how it makes you feel. Does it move you?

    The simplest song, lyric, melody, solo can reduce an audience to tears for the sheer beauty of it and yet it may be the most simple rendition you’ve ever heard. And if a beautiful song is over-orchestrated, or a great voice is over-produced it can all be ruined. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you used more notes, more instruments, more complex rhythm, more voices and even had the best voice and the most advanced player. If a beginner feels that song deep in their soul and and can convey it to others authentically — you and everyone in the room will feel it, and there will be this moment of silence while everyone basks in the beauty of that moment.

    Is that moment of soul connection with our own self — When we say more or less, is that what we are really trying to find authentically in our own lives?

  2. Tess, you’ve brought up some valuable points about how “wealthy” the American culture is, but how “unhappy” we are to. To tie this concept to the arts, especially your music, is smart. We get that art moves you and that often less is more, but don’t get to see that in our lives.

    I don’t know how to reply to your last question — about soul connection and authenticity. It feels like a good one — or an insightful observation. Maybe someone else will jump in here with thoughts and reactions.

    Thanks for sharing!


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