Do you need it? Do you want it?

People today buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, to impress people they don’t care about.  

 

Think about that.  To a certain degree, we all buy in to that statement.  Some a little; some a lot.

Below is a post that I found online that articulates a mindset that would be a healthy adoption for all of us living in countries of abundance.

 

 

Here are my wife’s comments when I showed her the article:   “That’s a great article.  We should post it somewhere, and reread it whenever we think we need to get a bigger and better tv…”

I just purchased a 60 inch Smart TV about a month ago….   😦

 

Enough is Enough

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.

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Lessons from Pigeons

I came across a great article that studied the behaviors of pigeons in a controlled environment.  I think there are a couple of great lessons that parallel with human behavior.

Enjoy!

 

2 Lessons on Adapting and Entitlement

During an experiment, pigeons were put in cages with one green and one red button.  In one cage, if the birds pecked the green button they would get food every time.  In the other, the green button yielded food erratically and the pigeons had to persist to get enough food.  In both cases, pecking the red button did nothing.  Both sets of birds thrived, learning what they had to do to survive and to ignore the red button that yielded no food.  But when the birds that were used to getting a reward every time were put in the cage that fed them only occasionally, they failed to adapt; they hit their heads against the cage and pecked wildly at everything in sight.

 

 

There are two worthwhile lessons from this study.  First, the pigeons quickly learned from experience to avoid the red button because it was unproductive.  There are lots of people who would lead smoother and happier lives if they just stopped pushing red buttons that never give them what they want.

Second, even birds who have it too easy get spoiled and develop an entitlement mentality that prevents them from adapting to situations where they can solve their problems if they just work harder.  Some people are like that too.  They don’t deal well with new circumstances especially those that require persistence.

Part of being responsible is learning from experience to appreciate the benefits of tenacity and the wisdom of avoiding useless, harmful and self-defeating patterns of behavior.

Life Is Like A Jar Of Rocks


A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him.  When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2″ in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full?  They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.  He shook the jar lightly.  The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.  Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He then asked once more if the jar was full.  The students responded with a unanimous – “Yes.”

The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and proceeded to pour their entire contents into the jar — effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.  “Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.  The rocks are the important things – your family, your spouse, your health, your children — things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.  The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car.  The sand is everything else – the small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks.  The same goes for your life.  If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.  Play with your children.  Take time to get medical checkups.  Take your husband or wife out dancing.  There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.  “Take care of the rocks first — the things that really matter.  Set your priorities.  The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.

The professor smiled.  “I’m glad you asked.  It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers.”