Do you find yourself always wanting more no matter what? There are so many things in life to wish for, and for some it seems like acquiring those things is all you need to be happy and feel satisifed.
It’s important to focus on what really matters – only then can you start welcoming happiness into your life. Here’s why always wanting more is a road to regret.
The problem with always wanting more
Chinese philosopher Laozi (Lao Tzu) once said that “there is no greater misfortune than wanting something for oneself”. Many Eastern religions and philosophers like Taoism and Buddhism teach altruism, or the need to serve others selflessly.
The real problem with always wanting more is when it goes from a want, to a desire or an obsession. A minimalist lifestyle teaches us to learn how to be happy with what we have, and to stop playing the comparison game with your friends and neighbours.
And a meaningful life is not centered around material things – a bigger house or a new smartphone will not give you a happy life. Though, pursuit of these things is not inherently bad.
Is wanting more a bad thing?
In all honesty, it depends who you ask. In modern day society, many of us would agree that wanting more isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
But if you were to ask an ancient Greek philosopher like Diogenes, they may have a different opinion. He was one of the Stoic philosophers heavily influenced by Cynicism, living in poverty and begging for his supper.
Though not all would agree – Siddhartha Gautama, know best to us in the West as the Buddha, spent many years practicing extreme asceticism in the search of true enlightenment.
After six years, the Buddha eventually found Nirvana through meditation. After this, he practiced a more balanced version of asceticism. And it’s likely that this should be the case for the majority of us in the modern day, too.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting more, whether that’s for yourself or for purely selfless reasons like looking after your family. Though a balance must be struck, and if you find yourself always wanting more no matter what you achieve and acquire.
Ask yourself; why do you want more?
A good way to determine whether your desire for more may be having a negative effect on your mentality to to ask yourself why you want more. In many cases, we want more to meet our basic needs as human beings – to eat, to live in a comfortable home, and to look after those we care about.
This can sometimes be defined by separating your wants and your needs from each other. It’s completely normal to crave the things that we consider a necessity in the modern day, however it’s important to consider the desire for the things that we don’t really need.
And part of this is looking at the reasons why we may want these things in the first place. This can be reasons like;
Succumbing to marketing techniques – In a capitalist world, it’s important to be aware of the effect marketing may have on our wants and desires. It inserts new products that we’d never even dream of buying in front of us, and it can be pretty convincing too.
Instant gratification – Buying things makes us feel good and in some cases feel happy. This ends up in us spending more money, to acquire more stuff we don’t really need, in an attempt to fulfil this need for gratification and a need to feel satisfied. Being aware of this is important, as what makes us feel good instantly may make us feel bad in the long term.
Keeping up with the Joneses – A common idiom that refers to an imaginary competition with one’s neighbour, trying to have more clothes or a bigger car than your next door neighbour is This is only made worse by social media, which shows us the highlight reel of other people’s lives – often people that we’ve never even met.
So, it’s important to ultimately stop comparing yourself to other people, as this will not lead to true happiness. A better life is often not found by buying bigger and better, but in the small things that money just can’t buy.
Understanding your desires
It’s important to note that desire is not inherently bad, and it’s completely normal for us to desire things. Whether this is more friends, more shoes or more money, desire for all of these things is normal.. to a certain degree.
Though the nihilist may say that wanting or desiring is the cause of suffering, desiring more things doesn’t always have to be bad. The key is in understanding your desires, why you wish to have them and whether they would make a substantial impact on your life.
Be sure to Express Gratitude
Expressing gratitude is key to finding balance between desire and obsession, and is essential if you want to stop wanting things that you feel that you’re entitled to. Being grateful for the life you’ve been given
Practicing gratitude involves appreciating the simple pleasures in life, walking through the park or visiting the beach. It takes practice to appreciate these things that have become second-place in society, but it can be extremely important for personal growth.
If you want to practice gratitude more, it may be a good idea to spend time starting a gratitude journal. This can help you to note down the little things that, when combined together, can have a big impact on the quality of your life.
And when you note these things down, you’ll probably begin to notice that they don’t involve more stuff you don’t need. Instead, your list will be filled with the beautiful things about your life that are enough for you to stop always wanting more.
The truth is that we need to find the balance between wanting more and being happy with what we have. Most people want more in the future for themselves and their family, though it’s important to remember what will truly being you happiness and what won’t.
The important thing to take away is that more things to not equal more happiness. And often, the things you need to make a happy life are already in your possession.