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How far do your ambitions go? Are you money driven? What will be enough to make you happy and stop you from chasing more?

It’s no news that we’re living in a time of mass consumption, heavy ambitions and constant striving. Everybody is looking up to the successful ones, aspiring to get to where they are. But you see these people who’re making millions and you wonder why rarely any of them ever stops.

Everyone knows it is human nature that makes us always want more, but doesn’t that mean that you’re never truly happy? Heading to the next target and the next and yet the next.

A memory came to me recently of something that a friend of mine said when I was a freshman and completely penniless. So penniless in fact that I didn’t have enough for food and was forced to divide a bagel between breakfast and dinner. Obviously, I wasn’t talking about it and accepted it as it is. When she realized the situation, she asked how I can be so cheerful and enthusiastic while half-starved, sleep deprived and overworked. It caught me by surprise really, her wondering. I thought about it and said: “Well, I can’t really change that at the moment. It will get better though, and in the meantime I have so many things to enjoy”.

We all have dreams and visions of our bright future, but not all of us are happy once we get there. Someone may feel empty, unchallenged, and purposeless; others disappointed of the result, failed expectations.

Yet there are those rare jewels of human beings who are happy throughout, wherever they are, whatever they do, no matter what they own. And they’re never those who write books about how to be happy and seize the day, live the moment. They don’t bother advising people how to live their lives, because they’re focused on living theirs. Not striving for more, rather making use of what they have and enjoying all those small things that make life beautiful.

So what if they never become “successful”, make loads of money, be popular and achieve something extraordinary? They’re already successful in life by fully living it, are probably popular with their friends instead of being busy all the time, running to catch the next scheduled goal, and are quite extraordinary by being among the rare ones who’re genuinely satisfied with themselves.

Wouldn’t everything be easier if we were more like that? Living a “guilt-free”, less busy life, full of normal things, today unappreciated by the modern needs of society? Otherwise, as things seem to be going, we’ll end up in a constant competition, a life race, trying to keep up or get ahead, with no time to stop, take a breath and actually see around yourself.

Not everyone is meant to achieve great “success”. Live on your own terms. Better having less than never having enough.

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7 thoughts on “When Is It Enough?

  1. I was just having this discussion with someone today. American society has become this race to fame and fortune. It’s a get-rich-quick or be miserable sort of existence. I challenge my students each semester with the same question: “Why are you here? Are you here because society says you have to be, or are you here because you want to be? Are you on a path that you will look back on in 30 years and have no regrets?”

    • Yeah, once you think about it, it can even get a little scary. I’m worried about people losing moral values and virtue and suddenly being associated as idealistic, whereas previously it was only considered a common sense. Keep challenging your students; you’re contributing and helping immensely! Thanks for your comment Jason!

  2. Sophie, interesting ideas here and I can see where Jason is going with this. I agree with the premise that you need to be happy with your life but I do believe that achievement can also make you happy. Define “live a normal life.” What is normal to one person may not be so for others.

    I truly believe a person can achieve whatever they desire in life but if they chase that dream for any reason other than to learn, grow and help themselves and others then it becomes a burden. Overnight success, the quick buck and the push to “get” what everyone else has is a frivolous pursuit although so many people see it as a sign of success.

    I guess it is how you define success that we all need to start with. It’s never really the same for everyone.

    Great thoughts here! Keep ’em coming.

    • Thanks Ralph! I was actually referring to the modern demands of keeping up, going ahead, surpassing, ‘succeeding’ in terms of money, career etc, but not everyone is suit to live such a life, though people feel bound to. I’m always up for growth and development, but everyone should find their own happiness. Nobody should feel as a loser if they are happy at home, or dealing with hobbies or part-time jobs. You make a great point; defining success should be the starting point. Thanks for your valuable contribution!

  3. Wise words, Sophie. I am with you 100% on this one. If you look back in history people were happy with way less. Today we struggle to work and earn and push ourselves, but many if us do it for the wrong reasons. Not out of necessity, but personal gain. I believe that less is more.

    I try to remind myself of the Tibetan monks or the Japanese (pre-industrialized). These people believed in morals and living for something higher than many of us do now. I can only hope to live a life as pure and fulfilling as them.

    • Wow, looking up to Tibetan monks! 🙂 Thank you so much Kevin. This issue has been haunting me since forever, and when discussing it with friends they always end up saying it’s where capitalism rests and that we can’t really change it. I honestly believe we can. Everybody can make a choice. Society pressures always existed and will always exist, but people are different and can choose their own path and be happy with their choosing. Less is more; I’ve seen people happy out on the streets, drawing, CHOOSING to be street artists or giving up big careers to spend more time with family. Thank you for your support; it means a lot!

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