A dominant belief in our society is … more is better.
But in so many ways, this is not true; and in so many ways, it is not helpful.
Even when we need something, having more and more of that something, beyond what’s needed, doesn’t necessarily make for better.
Consider oxygen, for example. It’s indisputable that we need oxygen; but too much can actually kill us. Similarly, we need food; but again, consuming too much food can obviously lead to serious, health problems.
This even holds true when it comes to money; more money is helpful for a while. But once an individual or family earns more than whatever’s considered average in their context, more and more money doesn’t really add more and more of anything much (if it does, its benefits are minimal).
And finally, one of the biggest mistakes we often make within this “more is better” myth is within the domain of productivity and to-do lists and feeling like we always need to be doing more.
Now before I go on, let me say that I’m a big fan of to-do lists, and a big advocate of productivity. To-do lists can help focus attention and effort and enhance productivity which then, in turn, can contribute to feelings of achievement and satisfaction, both of which are important components of happiness and quality of life.
But all of this is only true to a point. As with oxygen and food and so much more in life, this only works in moderation. Further, and on the issue of what you eat, when it comes to real health, it’s not just WHAT you eat but also, sometimes just as importantly, what you DON’T eat.
Which brings me to the main point of this article. What you do and how you do it is undoubtedly important for living a happy and successful life. But so too, is what you DON’T do; and I think this deserves emphasising because it doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves.
So many of us are constantly ADDING to our lives; we do this and try that and learn new things or take on new responsibilities. All of which is fine … but again, only to a point.
And that point becomes relevant and important when we realise that we don’t have enough time to do all the things we have on our list; to do all the things we want to do!
At the risk of stating the obvious, we only have so many hours in the day, days in the week, weeks in the year and years in our lives. We only have so much energy and it’s important we use this energy and use this time we have on what’s really important. Which means we need to be careful NOT to use it, or dare I say to waste it, on what’s NOT important.
Yet time and time again, I see people doing this. It’s an easy trap to fall into because we can easily get sucked in to doing what other people want us to do, or what society assumes we should do.
But this won’t lead to happiness, or to success. And so, my suggestion today is for you to consider what NOT to do, what to STOP doing. I invite you to write up a NOT-to-do list. Each task or activity you remove from your day or life, frees up more time and more energy to do more of the things you really want or need to do for a good life.
And doing more of the “right” things will more than likely, lead to you feeling more of the “right” things.