You have to find, define and fix your personal level of ENOUGH. Where you possess everything you need, and buying more would actually make you worse off.
In my most recent post I have brought up the crucial question:
“How much do I need to lead a life that is meaningful, purposeful, and joyful?”
Once you have answered that question for yourself, documented it and then never change those goal posts in the future, you have set your sights on achieving Financial Freedom. This implies if you can’t answer that question for yourself you will never ever achieve Financial Freedom because you do not know what is enough.
Now the challenge is that the human species is falsely called homo sapiens (‘wise man’ or ‘thinking man’). A better term might be homo expetens (‘wanting man’), because what characterizes us most is our capacity to want, to desire, to yearn for and generally lust after.
According to evolutionary psychology, our brains were created in the Stone Age and evolved some 130,000 to 200,000 years ago in the Pleistocene era when our ability to obtain food, water and shelter was limited. These days we have developed the know-how to exploit natural resources and create goods and services. As a consequence, we find it hard to operate and cope in a world of abundance.
As such it is much harder than we think to realize when we have enough.
One of the biggest challenges to cultivating enoughism is starting to realize that the target of having money is just one dimension that is not in line with the meaning of life and our welfare.
Achieving Financial Freedom not only entails the discipline to accumulate wealth for a number of years but then also having the self-awareness of our own emotional flaws and biases to know what’s enough:
To find our personal reasons for living and for thinking well of ourselves that do not involve the accumulation of material things.
To become aware whether our sense of self-worth is bound up with things we possess.
To take some time to reflect deeply as to whether this way of life is hurting us or if it is truly satisfying to us as an individual.
To occasionally check in with the age-experienced and to listen to what they have to say about their life and their regrets.
Our time on this planet is short. The period when we are able to run, cycle up mountains, make love, raise children, snowboard and dance is even shorter. The clock is ticking and life is what happens while we are making other plans.
Why not now? As I said, our time on this planet is short and the longer we delay retirement the less we will be able to enjoy it.
I think our reasons may be that dreaded procrastination, fear of change and loss of (probably unnecessary) income. None of which are very good reasons.
In the western world and in the top countries in Asia like Singapore material life is pretty much as good as it will get. There is no point in chasing for more. From here on we are just bringing our own wasps to the picnic. It is time to be grateful and say “enough”, mindfully enough.
Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.
Enoughism will be the guide for the 21st century.
Do you know your enoughism-level?
“Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance. It isn’t a measure of barely enough or more than enough. Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough.” – Brene Brown
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking.” – Eckhart Tolle
* term coined by John Naish, “enough: breaking free of the world of more” (2008): Enoughism emphasizes less spending and more buying restraint. It is the antonym for consumerism.