What does it take to make you happy? How much do you have to have to be grateful?
To the barefoot man, happiness is a pair of old shoes. To the man with old shoes, it’s a pair of new shoes. To the man with new shoes, it’s more stylish shoes. And, of course, the fellow with no feet would be happy to be barefoot.
This leads to the ancient insight: If you want to be happy, count your blessings, not your burdens. Measure your life by what you have, not by what you don’t.
Yet in our modern world where we’re continually exposed to endless increments of more and better – others with more money, better TVs, and bigger houses – this is very difficult.
For some people, the pleasure of having something good is drained as soon as they see someone else with something better. Our sense of contentment is created or destroyed by comparisons.
A life consumed with unfulfilled wants is an affliction. The antidote is the concept of “enough.”
This starts by thinking more clearly about the difference between our needs and our wants, between sufficiency and abundance.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with wanting more and striving to fill our lives with things and experiences that give us pleasure, so long as we don’t believe we need whatever we want.
When we think we need what we really only want, we make our desires preconditions to happiness, thereby diminishing our ability to appreciate and enjoy what we do have.
It’s easy to think that happiness is achieved by getting what we want when it’s really a matter of wanting what we get.
In the end, enough is enough.