Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed. –Ghandi
One of the things that has unfortunately spread throughout our society is unchecked consumption. And Americans are big consumers. It shows in the level of personal debt we carry as well as our weight. We are like kids in the candy store, wanting everything, and trying very hard to get all of it.
When people talk about slowing down, simplifying, seeking peace, they step away from the need to consume.
But simplicity is not about deprivation. It’s about having enough.
What is Enough?
Webster’s defines enough as
“occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations”
It’s just that…to fully meet needs.
The Ends of the Spectrum
Plants are a great example of enough. Give them too much water, and they wilt, lose color and eventually die. Give them too little water and they will wilt, turn brown and eventually die. Give them enough water and they will stay green and thrive.
It’s the same with humans. While withering and dying is an overstatement, over-abundance makes us take what we have for granted. We stop seeing things, appreciating things, as we move on to the next want. Scarcity will make us covet what we do not have.
Simplicity is finding what levels of things you have in your life, and making sure you have enough. I think simplifying can best be described as a process of eliminating those things that do not add value to your life. Too much of anything does not add value. Once you have enough, more doesn’t make you any more content/happy/peaceful.
How Do You Know If You Have Enough?
This is a tricky question. For each individual, enough is a level that will change for different things. For example, my level of computers in the house (2) is different than a good friend’s (0). My mother-in-law abandoned her PDA quickly; it made her life too hard to remember. I couldn’t barely function without mine. A retired neighbor volunteers with three organizations; I feel less stressed with one. It applies to people too, but we all know examples where people have said “Enough!”
Simplicity is all about enough. Not too much, not deprivation. And simplifying to that level can make a world of difference in the level of stress you feel.