Without this you will never achieve Financial Freedom

Enoughism*

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?”

enough

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.

helping each otherOur 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.

 

 

11 Comments

  1. Hi Andy,

    Agree. Another word which I prefer to use is “no lacking”.

  2. How you live now when you have plenty, will tell me how you will live when you have little.
    Actually, most of us are from “very little” family.
    So what’s the difference now?

    • OooK, Temperament, to be honest, I do not really understand what you are trying to say with your comment. Maybe I am too narrow-minded.

      Who is “most of us” and how do you define “very little family”?

      Of course Enoughism is very subjective. You can have enough in a slum or not enough in a city. And maybe the things you need to ‘have enough’ aren’t the things you think you need.

    • Most of us of course I am referring to my generation. Singapore started to industralise only from 1960s.
      As a technician, my pay was only about $350+ per month.
      Living in a 3 room HDB flats were considered quite O. K. already.
      Sorry, I am talking about 40 to 50 years ago, Singaporeans really had very little barangs , barangs (Quite poor).

      • When I started work back in Germany in the early 90s my salary was about $700+ per month (luckily it did not stay that low for long).
        I lived in a house that was built by my grandfather, father and uncle in the early 1960s with no help from government. No HDB over there. But at least the land was freehold.
        Times have changed – for the better for most of us. Are we any happier now? Hmmm.

  3. You tell me how you live now, I can tell you how you live when you have …

  4. Hi Andy,

    I dun know my enoughism. I guess your post is how much is enough to FI or take a slower pace in Coporate life?

    I just assume it’s enough everyday to live as it is. I do worry sometimes if I have the means to take care of my single Sister, my family, my elderly without being burden when my time comes.

    But guess we can never have enough for every contingencies. So I guess I just have to make the best of what we have and assume it’s enough.

    I dun know how much is enough, but I think I am responsible enough not to be a wanton burden t others

    • Hi Silly Investor,
      My post is about achieving Financial Freedom, which for some means they can take it slower in Corporate Life and still staying in Corporate Life as they might enjoy that more than being “on their own” in retirement. What we do with our Financial Freedom is up to everybodys own decision.
      I agree that we can hardly cater for every thinkable contingency. That’s why thinking about one’s enoughism incl. those contingencies is important in order to ram the goal post(s) into the ground.

  5. Hi Andy !
    Yup! Very true ,,, also, ” you never know what is enough , unless you know what is contented ” ,, 🙂
    Cheers !

    • Exactly, and accumulating more stuff beyond ‘enough’ does not make us any happier.
      The curious thing with happiness is that we tend to remember having been happy in the past much more frequently than we are conscious of being happy in the present. Why is that so?

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