Enough Already - Thoughts on Leading a Satisfying Life

The more I read about who is successful in this life, the more I realize just how important it is to understand the word “enough.” I’ve written a lot about this topic on this site, but I think it’s essential to keep hammering the point...if not for you, at least for me.

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It's never been easier in this world to go narrow and deep. The resources to delve deeper and deeper in a subject are nearly infinite. In order to run out of material you practically have to specialize within a specialty!

And we often feel compelled to go narrow and deep on just about everything we undertake in life because that's just "what we should do" if we want to be taken seriously.

I’ve become such a believer in the “enough” model of living, despite my “chasing-the-A’s” upbringing. And yet, I still forget to live by it sometimes.

This truth rears its ugly head anytime I learn or do something new. I feel like I need to come out of the gate knowing it all and being able to execute with ease. 

I feel I need to be able to hold my own on anything I take on. And so I go into a type of hybernation mode, learning a lot on a given topic or activity before I start applying any of what I’m learning. 

I’m better about this than I used to be, but I’m still pretty sh*tty at following my own convictions.

 Even in the 1700's and 1800's Thomas Young was ridiculed for working on many different subjects he found interesting. Yet, it was his willingness to pursue his areas of interest that enabled him to lead a rich and fulfilling life, as measured by the most important stakeholder: him.

Even in the 1700's and 1800's Thomas Young was ridiculed for working on many different subjects he found interesting. Yet, it was his willingness to pursue his areas of interest that enabled him to lead a rich and fulfilling life, as measured by the most important stakeholder: him.

Sure, there’s the fear of embarassment, the fear of the unknown, the fear of not being as good at something as we envision we will be, and even the fear that we might *gasp* abandon the pursuit at some point and lose a coveted label.

The thing is, once I've enthusiastically made a decision, I’ve never regretted jumping into an activity with both feet (yes, even including bungee jumping, ha ha!). 

So why the heck do I buck the plunge on so much new stuff?

I like new stuff!

I suspect that question is a real head scratcher for most of us, but it explains our general inaction on everything that’s “good for us,” be it saving, investing, being healthier, pursuing and maintaining personal and professional relationships, decluttering, having fun, changing careers, starting a business, stopping something we know we should quit, pursuing a new area of interest…you name it, we’ll procrastinate about it until the time “feels right.”

Along with all the sources we feel compelled to reference before we jump into anything, we’re also faced with a plethora of distractions that we allow into our lives that can dull the pull we feel to make a change, try something new or stop doing something that doesn’t work for us anymore. 

[T]he faster and busier things get, the more we need to build thinking time into our schedule. And the noisier things get, the more we need to build quiet reflection spaces in which we can truly focus.
— Greg McKeown, "Essentialism" (2014), p. 68.

I sometimes wonder just how much time and opportunity this stalling is costing me…is costing us in general. Now I’m not talking about purposefully stalling to ensure we’re doing the right thing when making an important decision. I’m talking about stalling for one or more of the reasons I offered above. We can all admit we know the difference, yet it’s a lot easier to call it on others than on ourselves.

Sometimes we buck because someone else wants us to do something and we’re not sure it’s right for us. And I think that’s a healthy thing to do. It buys us a bit of thinking time—just because someone else wants us to do something doesn’t mean we should

But when we buck ourselves, we need to give our heads a shake. I think that’s where spending time with ourselves—spending time with our internal dialogue—can be helpful. I think that by paying attention to the thoughts that run through our heads, we can be better at tuning into what we really want—what our gut is telling us to do—and also better at calling ourselves out on our own bullsh*t.

I want to do more of the right things. That is, more of the things that are right for me and less of the things I think I "need to do" in the eyes of others. 

I’m better at it than I used to be but I certainly have a long way to go before I feel I can call out my own unrealistic expectations or ensure I have what I want or need in all the facettes of my life.

The way I see it, if we’re going to have to invest time and effort in this life, let’s make sure we pay attention to where we direct our efforts, why we’re doing what we’re doing, and give ourselves permission to quit while we’re ahead in favour of what we want to focus on next. 

After all, waiting, stalling, procrastination are all sources of regret.


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