“Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.” —Epicurus
Enough is a freeing concept and a liberating reality.
Those who have accumulated enough are left without wanting. They are no longer required to strive for more. Instead, they live free and content.
Most of us are driven by the desire to own enough physical possessions. This is good and true—to provide for ourselves and our family is a worthy pursuit.
Because of this desire, we spend our days pursuing the increased possession of material goods—both financial and material.
And while there is nothing wrong with this pursuit, I wonder if our culture has unintentionally shifted from the pursuit of enough to the pursuit of excess. Consider the fact that most of us already own enough:
Our roof provides shelter for our entire family. Our rooms are furnished with places to sit and lie. Our dressers are filled with clothes. Our closets are supplied with towels and linens. Our pantries and our freezers are stocked with food. Our toy chests house plenty of toys.
We already have enough.
Unfortunately, we live in a world that constantly redefines this notion of enough:
- 50 years ago, a house of 1,000 square feet was considered enough. Today, the average new home is 2,300 square feet—and still 10% of us rent off-site storage.
- 30 years ago, 1.5 televisions in every home was considered enough. Today, the average American home contains more televisions than people. And when every room is full, the industry begins to redefine enough in terms of size and picture-quality.
- 15 years ago, less than half of American adults owned a cell phone. Today, over 90% of adults own a cell phone—and 70% of 12-year olds.
Advertisers work relentlessly to redefine enough. In a consumer-based society, they are required to do so.
The goal of advertising is to stir within us the thinking that we do not yet own enough. Marketers work to change our attitude about their product or service from “that’s extravagant” to “I want that” to “I need that.”
Once they can convince us we need it, our purchase is just a matter of time. If they can make us believe we don’t have enough until we own their product, they know we will continue to pursue ownership of it.
Our definition of enough has been artificially moved by a self-serving entity. And because our new definition of enough remains unachieved, our ability to enjoy its freedom has been lost.
Once again, we are held in bondage to its pursuit. We spend more of our days pursuing the money to fund the increased possession of material goods. All with the goal of finally attaining enough.
But we already have enough. Once we train ourselves to recognize this truth, we are freed from the pursuit of more, we are liberated from the bondage of discontent, and we begin to experience true freedom in our lives.
Best of all, once we realize we already own enough, we are freed to pursue more worthy endeavors than the accumulation of excess.