Simplicity: The Value of JUST ENOUGH

simplicityImage courtesy of Raelene G

Let’s say you’re looking to buy a new office chair.  You’re standing in the store, staring at your two options.  Very similar in shape, size and color, these two chairs have much in common.  You sit down in the first one…fits like a glove!  You then peruse its options and find that it can change height, it swivels with ease and that’s about it.  You then look at the price tag and see that it can be had for less than a hundred dollars.  Now you sit down in the other chair.  Just as comfortable and with the same basic features.  Then you notice some buttons on the arm rest.  Wow, this baby has a built in massager and can be adjusted electronically.  Also, the back has heat capability and there’s even a flip up cup holder on the right side.  Excited by the bells and whistles, you check out the price tag and take a second to adjust to the fact that it’s more than double the cost of the first option.  Which one should you buy and how does simplicity play a role in making such a decision?

The Value of Just Enough

Everything in our lives has three value levels:

  • Not Enough
  • Just Enough
  • Too Much

If we’re being honest with ourselves we can determine this level of value with a fair amount of ease.  A basement apartment is not enough for a family of four, but a mansion would be too much.  Simplicity is all about finding the greatest value in our lives and then staying right there in that sweet spot.  People tell you to simplify your life, but I would say that simplicity is not necessarily about less amounts, but the RIGHT amount. If that family of four has a roof over their head, room for each individual to properly breathe, enough land to enjoy on a sunny summer afternoon and the common comforts to allow sufficient relaxation, then they have the RIGHT amount of home.

How Excess Is Harmful To Our Lives

I absolutely LOVE the sky!  Ever since I could see it’s deep blue and smell the purity of its endless freedom, I’ve been hooked!  Another passion I was born with is my interest in aircraft.  From planes to helicopters to hot air balloons, anything that can take me up to the sky that I adore is worth its weight in gold.  So in my late teens when I had a chance to build and fly a radio control airplane I was thrilled!

An adult friend of mine gave me his old engine and radio to stick in an airplane I had just purchased.  Once the assembly was finished I took it to this frineds house where we started up the engine for the first time.  It sounded so sweet, that puttering of the propeller.  After we had properly tuned the engine and tested out the controls, we took it to a local soccer field to take it up for my first ever flight.  He took the plane up for me, but then just handed over the controls.  Having never flown before, I did a couple of unintentional loops and then decided to find the closest tree to crash into.  Needless to say, I WAS HOOKED!  (Oh, and never hand the controls over to an absolute novice!)

Soon after this I had found a local airfield that was now being used for RC flight.  So the rest of that summer I spent my days at that airfield, learning to fly and loving every minute of it.  I got to the point where I had mastered the basics of flight and could just take the plane up and cruise around through the clouds I so adored.  I may not have been physically up in the sky, but I now had a tool that allowed me to explore its boundaries.

Now let me tell you something about hobbies.  As human beings we have a tendency to always want MORE!!!  Only satisfied for a moment, the next step up from what you have is paramount to your thoughts.  Soon I wanted a new radio to control my plane, then I wanted a new plane all together.  Next I needed a new engine and then another new plane.  Never ending, I spent nothing but time and money on everything BUT simply exploring the sky.

Rex Knew The Secret To Simplicity

One of the guys who regularly flew at the airfield was a man named Rex.  What set him apart from the rest of us was the type of plane he flew.  Called 1/2A, these planes were smaller than average and simple in their controls.  And the engines that powered these little aircraft were simple machines that required very little fuel to make their props spin.  He built these plane from scratch and used equipment that was decades old.  His mentality embodied the mantra, “If it aint broke, don’t fix it.”

RC airplane fuel isn’t exactly cheap and Rex would always make it known how little fuel he used that day.  Partially just trying to get our goats, Rex was also proud of how little money he spent compared to how much satisfaction his style of flying allowed him.  I couldn’t help but admire this about Rex and always told myself that his way made the most sense for a fellow sky dreamer.

Then one day he gave me a tiny fuel bottle he had put together.  Made out of a margarine squeeze bottle, this container was about a tenth the size of the average fuel canister.  And instead of the normal mess of pumps and cranks and fuel lines entangling the average container, this particular bottle had one short, simple fuel line with a tiny plastic tube at the end.

Costing no money at all to make, taking up far less room and working with the simplicity of a single squeeze of the hand, this fuel bottle perfectly represented the idea of JUST ENOUGH.  Just enough to hold the fuel and just enough to transfer the fuel to the planes fuel tank.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Some of these fuel containers even had electronic pumps that transferred the fuel with the ease of a button push.  Yet they also required the pump itself, the battery to power it and the wires and tubing to make it all happen.  But for Rex, as long as he had a way to fuel up his planes, he could care less about anything else.  The less he had to buy and bring to the field, the more he could enjoy what really mattered to him…FLYING!

Our Addiction To The Next Level

Many of us treat life like a video game.  We start one level with the focus on how we’re going to make it to the next.  We may enjoy a fleeting moment, but our simple satisfaction is quickly stifled by our addiction to MORE!

As I continued to buy more RC airplane stuff and worked my way up to higher levels of flight capability, I was only seeking stronger stimulation as the current level was quickly not enough.  This is how many of us live our lives.  A humans, our brains become bored with any activity if done enough and with enough frequency.  Run down the same path every single day and you will probably find less satisfaction as time goes on.  After a while, just being able to start the engine, take off the plane and soar around the sky with complete freedom of movement was not enough.  I needed to be able to do tricks and then I needed the plane to go faster and then…  This kind of cycle is what takes away our true appreciation of the original act that enticed us in the very beginning.  This addiction to more is exactly what keeps us from living our lives with JUST ENOUGH.

One of the few benefits I received from my constant airplane purchases was the realization that soaring was my real passion.  A glider, different from an airplane because it uses thermals to find lift, not an engine and propeller, allows the soaring of complete silence.  Many times have I shared the same rising air with a group of circling birds.  Buzzards, Hawks and even Bald Eagles have been my soaring buddies.  And without the need for an engine, there’s no need for fuel.  At this most simple form of flight have I found my JUST ENOUGH flying serenity.

Mix It Up And Keep It Fresh

I don’t know about you, but just simplifying doesn’t cut it.  Sure, that initial feeling of simplistic satisfaction that comes after unloading the junk that clutters our lives is great, but if we’re not careful we’ll buy it all back if we don’t find ways of sustaining that satisfaction.  As stated above, we can get that same level-up feeling by mixing it up.  No need to upgrade when you can just change out the flavor.  When you feel the need to buy the better model or add something altogether new to your life, be sure you actually NEED this item to maintain your JUST ENOUGH status.  If this addition tips the scales to the level of TOO MUCH, you will not only sustain unnecessary mass, but will be weighed down because of it.

Simplicity Requires A Healthy Dose of Appreciation

Let’s get back to the chair analogy for a minute.  When you need a place to sit for long periods of time, what do you require?  I would say that comfort and back support are number one, right?  So what about the other bells and whistles that came on the more expensive model?  Do you really need the chair to vibrate while you’re trying to get some work done?  What if it breaks?  Now you have this button panel that is not only useless, but possibly in the way.

The greatest ally to those who desire to live with JUST ENOUGH is the ability to appreciate the RIGHT AMOUNT.  When we hit that sweet spot we need to believe in our heart of heats that any more would be excess and may even reduce its value in our lives.  We need to constantly be thankful for the roof over our heads and the food in our pantries.  The second we lose sight of our basic needs and how they are always being met, is the second we lose the ability to embrace simplicity and enjoy our satisfaction with JUST ENOUGH.

Focus On OTHERS Needs And You Will Need Less

One of the greatest tools we have when fighting our desire to live in excess is that of outward focus.  The more we concern ourselves with providing for others and their ability to have JUST ENOUGH, the less we will be concerned about what we do and don’t have.  If all we ever see is our own needs and the desires that drive our pursuit of them, the greater our chances of craving more than is necessary to live in the sweet spot of simplicity.

Bad News Has A Way of Bringing Us Back To Center

How many times have we been caught up in a life of excess to only come crashing down when bad news unexpectedly enters into our lives?  Let’s say we decide that we need a new big screen TV and that a new sound system was also in order.  Then we decide to go on a DVD buying frenzy as it would be such a shame to let all this high tech equipment go to waste.  As we rack up a bit of debt we figure, “We’ll be fine.  I mean, we’re having so much fun with it that it’s totally worth the cost!”  Then we get a phone call…

It’s our best friends spouse.  They sadly tell us that our friend has been in a car accident and is now paralyzed from the waste down.  Instantly life becomes clear once more.  As we start thinking about how we’re going to help our friend adjust to their new situation, we can’t help but look around at all our new stuff and realize how this excess added zero value to our lives.  We appreciate our ability to walk and see the days of assisting a friend in need as time well spent.  We know there’s nothing wrong with watching movies, but in our attempt to upgrade this activity, we tipped the scales and no longer enjoyed the simple value of JUST ENOUGH.

3 Tips To Reach The Level of JUST ENOUGH

  1. Could you be just as happy without this? You have to determine if this THING in your life is adding to your happiness/satisfaction.  If it is, then continue to refine it.  If it isn’t, get rid of it right now!
  2. Determine the actual part of this THING that positively affects you. For me, it was the simple soaring that gave me the pure satisfaction of flight.  Beyond that, I mostly found unnecessary excess that added no real value to the equation.
  3. Refine this THING until it starts to lose value and then backup one step. If you were to go to the manufacturer of the more decked out office chair and have them start pulling features off, at what point would the chair stop providing you with optimal sitting satisfaction.  You could cut the cup holder, and drop the electronics, but the second you lose lumbar support you know that you’ve gone too far.  Back up a step and begin to enjoy JUST ENOUGH.

Final Thoughts

The fact is, life is hard.  It seems that the second we find what works, the rules change.  Whether we’re in a high point in our lives or struggling through the valley below, we NEVER benefit from TOO MUCH.  This amount is different for everyone and I’m not here to say that having a big screen TV is too much (we own one ourselves and enjoy it very much), but it is up to us to determine our simplicity sweet spot and stick with it.  This will sometimes require changing things up or taking a break from the object in question, but our greatest satisfaction from our things and lifestyle will only be realized when we sustain this level of complexity and cost to ourselves.  Any less and we will know our need is not yet being met.  Any more and the cost goes up, but the value does not follow.

Eric

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Eric,

    My first thought was of Goldilocks and the three bears. Where she tried everything and found what was just right in what the little bear had.

    I was also thinking today as to how that should affect business as usual. Nearly every business talks about growth, but few talk about sustainability. Instead of gaining market share, why don’t we talk about how we can service the customers we already have better?

    This provides lots of food for thought. I will say that my favorite line was right in the beginning. Where you talk about staying in your sweet spot. Whats funny and ironic for us personal development bloggers is that maintaining what you have is sometimes better than growing beyond that.

    Simplicity is Bliss. ;-)

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

    Jeremy Day’s last blog post..Living Sustainably on the Earth

    • says

      Very true, Jeremy! Businesses these days get so easily caught up in the hustle and bustle of being on top that they build weak foundations that can crumble with the slightest turbulence (or in this case, a full blown recession). Sustainability is a great term to use here! Eric

  2. says

    Eric,

    Your post reminded me of a discussion I had with my husband a few years back. It seemed all of our neighbors were selling their homes and moving to bigger houses in fancier neighborhoods. We debated whether we should do the same but came to the conclusion that our current house was big enough, and our neighborhood fit our lifestyle. We decided it was “okay to be satisfied.”

    Since then we’ve used that phrase many times as a reason to not purchase the next big thing and instead to simply appreciate as you said, Eric, “the value of just enough.” Well put.

    • says

      Isn’t that great, Susan?! When you and your spouse naturally come upon phrases of wisdom that you can use over and over again to stay focused on what’s important. Thanks for sharing and I’m glad you enjoyed it. Eric

  3. says

    Eric,
    Your post made me think of the Swedish word “Lagom” – this article describes it very well: http://www.populationpress.org/publication/2001-2-atkisson.html. The funny thing is I’ve made t-shirts with the word Lagom: http://tinyurl.com/7p7ugr, and how do you sell a t-shirt to someone when the whole idea is that you need just enough? I’m still struggling with that one.
    Michelle

    Michelle’s last blog post..Shalom Salam Salaam XL longsleeve T-shirt Organic Hebrew Arabic Peace Justice for $34.99

    • says

      Yeah, selling in the name of simplicity can be tough. I mean, like you said, it almost seems contradictory. But hey, zenhabits is no slouch when it comes to bringing home the bacon. The fact is, simplicity sells. It’s just a matter of providing a product that’s provides the buyer with enough value to prompt the purchase. Eric

  4. says

    Good post! I once bought a reclining chair with a chair massage built in. I used the massaging aspect for about three days and then finally unplugged it completely. Sometimes the excessive materials in our lives become trinkets in drawers or thrown in the trash.

    –JINGLETT

    • says

      You said: “Sometimes the excessive materials in our lives become trinkets in drawers or thrown in the trash.”

      How true is THAT?! I’m still cleaning out the crap that used to be considered a ‘feature’ to some item I own. Reducing this kind of stuff is certainly a motivator to staying away from the fluff and sticking with what simply makes sense. Eric

  5. says

    Hi Eric – Ironically over the weekend I had a conversation with a sibling and we recalled our childhood and how small our pantry was, how little our parents bought and how we, as children used our imagination and creativity in play. We never wanted for anything, never went hungry, and lived what we now see as an idyllic childhood. We began to question our own lives and our purchases and realized it’s not “stuff” or “more” that brought us happiness, but the memories that were created over a home cooked meal, enjoying a playful game that didn’t include electronics and/or sitting quietly while being read a story.

    When I think of the current economy and how many are having to cut the excess out of their lives, I wonder if in the process we’ll all find we already have more than enough. I’m thinking we might.

    P.S. Your passion for flying and the sky shine through in your words. :)

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..If We Knew Then What We Know Now

    • says

      Thanks for sharing that, Barbara. I never tire of hearing stories that remind me of the importance of simply enjoying family and friends. No technology, little to no money spent. Just good, clean, fun. Sounds like you created wonderful memories as a kid. This is something I want to do for our soon-to-arrive son.

      And yes, I certainly do love the sky and flight so I’m glad I can effectively convey that. Eric

  6. says

    It’s good to be a simple person and reduce your possessions to what you need. But it’s better to be grateful about what you already have.

    Simplicity in life means owning only what you’re grateful for. And being grateful for anything that you’re about to own.

    The thing with the office chair illustrates this perfectly: You can buy the less expensive one and you’ll still feel great. But if you had bought the other one, you will have back thoughts about the money you spent and you won’t find internal piece soon.

    Dimitar Nikolov’s last blog post..The Secret: What Do You Want?

  7. says

    Ooh, I like this big, meaty post. DIG IN!

    I think that excess can be a cancer to happiness. I remember when I was 16, one of my friends got a brand new BMW 500 series car for their birthday. I remember thinking it was crazy and rather than feeling jealous of him in any way, I felt a little sad for him. I wondered if having something so extravagant so young would affect his ability to anticipate his future or appreciate his present (not THAT present). I’ve had to do with a lot less this last couple of years. The only excess I have had is an excess of time with my family and valuable memories (and sometimes an excess of too much blogging!) but those are excesses I can live with.

    Writer Dad’s last blog post..Meet Mia, My Little Girl

    • says

      That’s an interesting story about you’re friend and the Beamer. I’ve always felt the same way when I’ve seen kids given WAY too much at such a young age. And it’s not just about HAVING the item, but the fact that they didn’t actually work for it. How can you appreciate the simple things if the over-the-top things are just handed to you, free of charge. Great point! Eric

  8. says

    Living in an apartement with two rooms for five years, together with my girlfriend, taught me a lot about ‘just enough’. In the beginning I just moved in as a temporary solution – two years later we didn’t know why we should move into a bigger apartment. It was just enough for the two of us and the beauty of the simplicity of it couldn’t be beaten by anything else. Moving to another city a few years later and renting a 3 room apartement – we almost couldn’t figure out what to do with the additional room. In the end, we used it as a walk in wardrobe – what a luxury :-)

    moleskin’s last blog post..Credit crisis visualized

    • says

      Great story! I love how you ended with the fact that you are still in a small house, but with room to spare (no pun intended :-) ). Thanks for sharing! Eric

  9. says

    Hi Eric,

    You reminded me of how we are actually complicating our lives. Sometimes things can be simple but we turn everything into much more complicating matters and it does not exactly add value into our life. I love your story on the RC plane and it helps to make the whole picture much more clearer.

    Cheers
    Vincent
    Personal Development Blogger

    Vincent’s last blog post..Personal Development Carnival (16th March 2009)

  10. Janice says

    Lovely, juicy post! (I also have loads of stuff I’ll save for later about your passion for flying. I’ve been wondering, ever since I saw a plane behind you in your Blogopolis Blueprint videos! That’s what hit me most in this piece…)

    I find I don’t go far wrong if I stick to the oldie but goodie of not owning anything unless it’s beautiful or useful. My favourite thing is when I can combine both. What makes me insanely happy is finding something that’s both soul tinglingly beautiful and useful every day, like the mug I drink my hot water in.

    The beautiful stuff has to really make my heart sing; I’m a sucker for symbols and that really helps me keep things simple. All I have to do is ask “What does this say about me and about what’s important to me?” When an object becomes invisible or loses its ‘power’, it gets temporarily attic-ed or permanently moved on. That’s why some of my favourite objects ever are my Christmas decorations. I never get tired of them. They fill me with such a surge of delight that just thinking of them gives me an extra source of warmth throughout the year, like a lizard on a rock. It’s because they’re connected to all my values and passions, my family, my home, faith, friends, miracles and people trying to be better versions of themselves.

    Here’s a question for you, Eric – I know you like them!

    If you could only one suitcase with you in an evacuation, but you had an evening to think, prepare and pack, what would you take? And even simpler, if you were going to a spiritual retreat and could only have what would fit on the top of a bedside table, which photo, object and book would you take? ~janice

    • says

      I agree that beautiful stuff that really touches me is worth the space it takes up. Also, I used to feel that way about our Christmas decorations until rats got up in our attic and pooped and peed all over everything. LAME!!! Thanks, Janice! Eric

    • says

      Oh, and I forgot to answer your excellent questions. I do enjoy them! :-)

      For the suitcase, I would probably take my Macbook :-D, my Bible, my favorite pictures of friends and family (though I would probably just scan them all into my computer the night before to save space), a clean pair of clothes, and that’s about it.

      As for the bedside table, that’s easy…my Bible and a picture of Liz and I.

      Eric

  11. says

    Eric-
    Great work as usual! I agree with you that it’s about finding the perfect amount. Keeping items that really mean something to you and getting rid of what you don’t need. I’m in the process of selling all my stuff to move abroad and I’m having pick and choose what I want to sell, put in storage for two years, and take with me in a backpack…I tell you I never thought it would be this emotional to get rid of junk. We hold so many emotions with our belongings it’s kind of insane. It’s amazing when you are truly honest with yourself about what you do and do not need or want. The vast majority of my closet now sits in bags because I never wore any of it! The minute you start simplifying is the minute it starts to trickle into the rest of your life…for example, my eating habits have completely changed. Instead of overdoing it to excess like you mentioned above, I now eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m 3/4 full…it’s just so simple!! Less is definitely more.
    I also loved the part in your post about giving to others! oh so true! Great read and keep up the fantastic work. I’ll be reading!

    Amber’s last blog post..Life In A Nut Shell

    • says

      Congrats on moving abroad! I did that back in ‘99 (lived in London for 7 months). It was a learning experience for me. I hope you’re find it enjoyable and beneficial. Just curious, where and for how long?

      That’s great about the eating habits! It’s always nice when you find something that works. And yes, 3/4 fool is right on. It takes 20 minutes for you brain to register what’s in your stomach so you’ll magically fill up, as you’ve already found out. Eric

  12. says

    “Our Addiction To The Next Level

    Many of us treat life like a video game. We start one level with the focus on how we’re going to make it to the next. We may enjoy a fleeting moment, but our simple satisfaction is quickly stifled by our addiction to MORE!”

    I believe this is called “Adaptation”. It is one of the biggest problems in being happy and satisfied. Whatever you have you expect more and human nature is to improve so you want more.

    Also I suffer from incrementalism. I think to myself, this other model is only $30 more. But of course then I think to myself that the next level up from that is only $30 more again. This repeats itself until I have the #1 premium model everything.

    Stephen – Rat Race Trap’s last blog post..Top 10 Ways To Stop Killing Yourself With Choices

    • says

      Interesting… I’ve never quite looked at it that way. Definitely something to chew on. I always find it hard to find the right balance when it comes to adapting to life and the times we live in. On the one hand I feel it’s very important that we utilize all the resources around us to make the most of our endeavors, but on the other hand I know it’s imperative that we maintain that JUST ENOUGH status which certainly doesn’t require the latest and greatest that the World has to offer.

      And YES, those incremental ‘upgrades’ will get you EVERY TIME!!! Great stuff, Eric.

  13. says

    This is a beautiful post! Extremely well written with your personal insights. I definitely understand about addiction for hobbies as I have a lot of them myself in the past. It is easy to go overboard. We spend more and more money, sometimes erroneously thinking that the more expensive tools will be able to take us to a higher level in our hobbies.

    Evelyn Lim’s last blog post..How To Ground Yourself In 7 Ways

    • says

      I’m really glad you enjoyed it!

      Exactly! As if somehow we can take the level of satisfaction we gained from the first purchases/experiences with the hobby/activity and increase it by throwing money and technology at it. Eric

  14. says

    Another great post, Eric – thank you. Your flying example really made your point and one that I bet a lot of people can relate to. Also, as you say, focusing on other people brings more rewards than getting the latest gadget.

    It’s taken me years to get to the ‘just enough’ place. I finally realize that I can like something or appreciate its ingenuity or value-add without having to own it. Thanks.

    Laurie | Express Yourself to Success’s last blog post..Good Reads: Happiness

    • says

      Thanks, Laurie! Yeah, it seems like others have been able to relate to the flying stuff. I think the big, blue sky has a kind of universal feeling of freedom for people.

      I’m glad you finally found that JUST ENOUGH place. It’s a great place to be…recession or not! Eric

  15. Lori says

    My mom and grandparents made “making do” a character trait. This didn’t mean wallow in low budget items, but rather challenge yourself to find a way to maximize the use of everything. My uncle still cuts wheat on the family farm with one of the early John Deere wheat combines — open cab and all. His satisfaction comes in using his industrial engineering degree to keep the thing running.

    • says

      That’s a great story, Lori (I had no intention on making that rhyme :-) ).

      I ALSO enjoy getting the most out of what I already own. Recently we had our media center computer go down on us (the one hooked up to our TV) and it’s getting up there in age, but instead of buying a new PC (even though their cheap these days) I just replaced the part and now we’re back in business.

      It’s so easy to talk yourself into the idea that buying new is better, that before too long another parts going to go so it’s just better to upgrade now. This is sometimes the case, but I think more often than not this is just the salesman in our heads trying to sell us on the new model. Eric

  16. says

    Eric, I’ve subscribed to your posts and I usually read them in Google reader but this is the first time I’m commenting.

    One of the principles that we try to practice in our lives is “ceiling on desires” specifically material desires. Just like you say, we often find that the Thing does give happiness but is so momentary that, in a very short time, we’re looking for the next big Thing to provide us that happiness.

    Sometimes when I’m at the store,(particularly Target with their insane clearance all the time :-) ), I get so caught up in buying something because it’s a good deal but I’ve learned to pause and ask myself, “Do I really need it? Can I live without it?.” Just that thought process is enough to get me back to my senses.

    Nithya’s last blog post..The Monday Muse

    • says

      Hey Nithya: it’s always great to hear from some of my ‘behind the scenes’ readers! :-)

      I really like that phrase you mentioned, “ceiling on desires”. What a great way of saying it! And you and Liz (my wife) have one thing in common (TARGET) :-D. But yes, we should always ask ourselves if we need this new item and is it something we can live without.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Hope to see you some more. :-) Eric

  17. says

    You’ve hit the nail right on the head. As a society, we’re told that we need everything in excess. The biggest home, the fastest car, the highest paying job…I don’t think that mentality has done much other than to increase the amount of stress we all feel in our lives.

    Your point about focusing on the needs of others is an important one as this character trait has been lost in today’s “me” society. Simplifying one’s life begins with asking what you can do to make someone else’s life better!

    Jake’s last blog post..Childhood Obesity – Who is to Blame?

    • says

      Yeah, I’ve definitely found that the more inwardly focused I become, the more selfish and self absorbed I get. This only leads to complication and a constant searching for the NEXT BIG THING to make me happy. My life is definitely more satisfying and much simpler when I focus on others needs.

      I’m really glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for stopping by! Eric

  18. says

    Eric,
    What a fantastic article and full of insights!
    My husband owns a Pruis. He usually gets the oil changed at the dealer’s because he trusts them and it’s conveniently located. What Toyota did was add several free amenitites including haircuts for customers while they wait. Of course the fee they charge for the oil change and other services is above the norm. They’ve created an “atmosphere” kind of like Starbucks. Now I think they should cut the free extras and lower their prices. My husband goes and enjoys making up time getting his hair cut while he waits.

    I think this is example is comparable with the chairs. Now as I’m writing this I’m thinking the people who really might benefit from this atmosphere are single people wanting to meet others!Out of the box thinking for them!
    Happy Friday, Eric !

    Tess Marshall’s last blog post..Are You Bold Enough To Forgive Yourself & Others?

    • says

      Thanks, Tess!

      Yeah, there’s something to be said for thinking outside the box. For some reason most of us get stuck in the rut of trying to duplicate what’s already been done. Only those who can create something that’s fresh and uniquely useful to others will find great success.

      Happy Friday to you too, Tess! :-) Eric

  19. says

    I think getting to “just enough” is hard in our go-go-go society. Like you explained so well, we are addicted to the next level. First you get a car to drive to work, then you upgrade your car to a newer model so you can compete, next you’re getting a newer job so you can afford the payments. It’s a bit of a never ending cycle!

    I enjoyed reading about your own experiences, and how you met Rex. :)

    Nathalie Lussier’s last blog post..Orange Chocolate Goji Berry Fudge

    • says

      You make a great point, here. Out society doesn’t exactly promote this kind of mindset. That’s definitely one of the big challenges that we face in the 21st century.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for stopping by! :-) Eric

  20. says

    Yeah simplicity rules!

    At one stage my life had just accumulted itself into such a mess. I was in debt plus I had a ton of “stuff”. The interesting thing is that most people that have debt, have stuff- this is a pattern I’ve noticed.

    Now I’ve decluttered, got my finances in order and love the space I’m in.

    And I never want to surround myself with unneccessary stuff again.

    Claudia’s last blog post..Sell Yourself with Video

    • says

      HERE HERE! :-) And that’s a great point about the fact that many people with debt often have many things. On the one hand it makes total sense and on the other hand it’s quite ironic.

      Thanks for sharing, Eric.

  21. says

    Wonderful article and so very, very true. In the past, I tended to get carried away with any new hobby I started and usually ended up spending more time shopping for hobby supplies than actually participating in the hobby. I finally tricked myself out of this habit. Now, if I come across a hobby supply I want (not need), I tell myself “okay, I’ll just let the store keep it until I get ready to use it.” Works every time:) Also, I’ve found that 99% of the time, I NEVER get ready to use it because it was in fact, just a want, not a need!

    Kathy’s last blog post..If That Don’t Beat All

    • says

      Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      I’m a/was a total hobby NUT! Like you, I spent MUCH more time pining over my next hobby purchase than I did actually participating in the hobby itself. That’s when you know it’s more about stimulation/addiction/obsession than actual satisfaction with an activity.

      That’s a great trick you mentioned. I think any of us who successfully manage to break the bad habit really have to find those ‘tricks’.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Eric

  22. says

    Eric, I first came to your site from a tiny square ad, then stayed because of your design philosophy. What I find so intrigueing is that your website design is an extension of your life philosophy.

    For 35 years I’ve listened to books on tape, motivational speakers and educational training, but one man stands out as the most profound, Doug Wead, a presidential advisor to Ronald Reagan. He’s funny, but not the funniest. He’s inspiring, yet not the most inspiring. Doug Wead, however, is the most profound. I heard nuggets of wisdom in a talk from 15 years ago that still frame my decisions today.

    Your post has a similar profundity. I believe I will remember and use your words to shape my choices for the rest of my life. I have been feeling the same life philosophy developing, but I’ve never articulated it like you have here. You have great wisdom. Thanks for sharing this gift.

    I will Tweet this to 20,000 followers today.

    On Your Side, Glen Woodfin
    http://twitter.com/GlenWoodfin

    Glen Woodfin’s last blog post..Heartwarming Mini Film that Will Make You Smile, Laugh & Cry

    • says

      Hey Glen, I’m so glad you not only enjoyed the post, but are enjoying the blog and my style. It sounds like we’re pretty like minded. :-) Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the kind words.

      I truly appreciate the Tweet! Eric

  23. says

    Thank you so much for this article. I came on it by way of a Google Image search for ‘simplicity’. I love the concept and have always appreciated it, as you can imagine, being an organisation professional and a tidy freak. I love simplicity, quality and ‘enough’. I’ve shared your blog on our Facebook page and I hope this helps to spread the ‘word’. Thanks again!

  24. Zoe G says

    Hi Eric
    I have continuly struggled with the feeling I have ‘too much’ but it has always been hard to let go of anything, ‘just in case’. I am always reading decluttering, organizing and simplifying articles/blogs/websites in hopes that something will help me let go of some stuff. After reading you article I had my ‘ah moment’, I have never thought of my stuff in the way your article talks about having JUST ENOUGH. I have too much of some stuff and I am now looking at my excess stuff in a different way, not ‘am I going to need it one day or miss it or be sad to let it go’ but instead I am looking at it as ‘do I have something else that will do the job, do I have others like it, how many do I really need?’ So thank you so much for your article!!!! I am ready to start going through my stuff now and start downsizing, all I have to do is find the time with three kids, 4 and under, and another one on the way ;)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] It’s common for young adults just starting out to go a little crazy with a steady paycheck, especially if their new job is well-paying. Should the person be single and childless, with small (or no) loan or mortgage payments, having more cash than ever before can go to their head. They may indulge in fancy cars, expensive fashion, and freely purchase whatever’s high-end. After all, this is considered the time of life when folks should enjoy themselves, before spousal and parental responsibilities come along. For the majority, once they settle down into domestic bliss, that way of life is over. With bills and obligations, they consequently lower luxury lifestyle expectations. Unless they wish to declare bankruptcy or be evicted, they simply make do with less quantity and quality. [...]

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