Monday, December 11, 2006

How much is enough?

Shared by Blog Reader Sharon Constable.

If you have so much why don’t you feel happier, If you are so successful, why don’t you feel more satisfied? If you are so busy, why do you spend so much time on things that seem so unimportant? If you hate what you are doing, why are you doing it?

It’s all too easy amongst the daily blitz of meetings, business trips, and running the kids to school, soccer or hockey games, to brush off such vexing questions. The more we achieve and the more possessions we acquire, the heavier such questions weigh on our minds. The tensions in our lives: ambitions at work, financial goals, the constant need to keep up with the Jones’, family commitments, expectations of others and of ourselves along with maintaining health and having time for personal matters, become even more urgent – until you have no choice but to confront this difficult question we rarely ask ourselves, let alone answer: WHEN IS ENOUGH, ENOUGH?

When so many things seem so easily attainable, what kind of life is desirable? In an age, of more, more, more --- more travel, more possessions, more stock options, more challenges, more dreams – when does the pursuit of less make sense? How much is enough? Does what you have or don’t have define you? Why do so many people allow their lives to get so far out of whack by failing to ask themselves the kinds of questions that they routinely ask others: Why do you work? What gives you pleasure? What do you feel passionately about? What do you want? Most people are open and honest about life – until they need to be open and honest with themselves. Introspection takes too much effort and too much courage.

It’s hard to take a time-out from our busy lives to just think about what it is that is really important to us. How often do we take the time to reassess our life, to recognize the compromises we have made in order to attain the possessions we have acquired, to recuperate from illness or just the shear exhaustion of an incredibly stressful life? The constant need to gather more of everything and ultimately for some, to have the most.

While serving the needs of both work and home have we neglected ourselves? How many get so swept up in all the gathering and never pause to find true north on their inner compass? Others simply adopt someone else’s vision. Still others have achieved one set of goals and are at a loss as to what to do next. How many successful people who set career goals in their twenties or thirties find themselves somewhat disappointed by the view from the top when they reach those goals in their forties or fifties, the Peggy Lee Syndrome “Is that all there is?”

How high a price would you pay for enough? It is an alluring trap, because the extra effort you put into working harder and longer can pay off in the form of raises and promotions – which only reinforces the grind to have more.

Most people don’t realize how out of kilter their lives have become until they face a crisis – a divorce or a death in the family. Even when faced with the ultimate wake-up call of serious illness will they wonder why they did not take their health as seriously as their possessions?

The desire to have enough can be exciting but beware that you do not end up buried in all that excitement.

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