Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Always Wanting More

"I want to be a billionaire so freakin bad"

On my way to work today I heard a song on the radio with the above line as the catchy chorus.  The rest of the song went on about all the things he could do if he was a billionaire, and the fame he would get, though I should mention he said he would probably adopt a couple of kids.  Growing up, people always wanted to be millionaires, now apparently that isn't enough, you have to be a billionaire.

Immediately after the song, the DJ came on saying how times were rough but that was okay, you should enter his contest because you deserve a new car, and that would make you feel better!

This stuck in my head all day and got me thinking about how we are driven to always want more. The media, pop culture, our neighbors, family; all expect and push this ideal that everything would be easier and more glamorous with more.  More cars, more money, more house, more parties, etc.  We spend so much time thinking about what we could do and have if we had more, that we don't pay attention to what we have, or think about how great our lives could be with less!

What if you had less?

The Minimalist Path
If you had a smaller house (or a sailboat) it would cost less money to maintain, and you couldn't fill it with as much.  If you had fewer bills you wouldn't need as much money.  If you didn't need as much money, you wouldn't need to work as much, or stay in a job you don't care for just because the pay is decent.

The way I see it is that there are two options if you want to be able to enjoy your life and not work forever:  

You could become a millionaire (or a billionaire).  

Or you could choose to live a minimalist life with fewer possessions and fewer expenses and live on much less. 

In between these extremes lay the majority of people who are just trying to get by saddled by debt and the desire to always want more. I was on this path, and in some ways still am (the house hasn't sold), but am trying desperately to break free. 

To me, the easiest path is the minimalist path.  It is a path that you can control, that doesn't require you to win the lottery, or to be a movie star, or a Wall Street tycoon.  I think the odds are definitely in your favor if you have less.


  1. I agree. We found out too late though. Things turned out ok, but if I could go back and do it again, I would definitely travel a lot lighter. I would also buy stock in microsoft :)

  2. We've definitely found the smaller the box the less stuff you put in it. In Atlanta we had a 3600 sq ft house- and we filled it despite the fact it was Hil, our Dog, and myself with no children. Then we 'downsized' to a 2600 sq ft house in St. Simons and again we filled it.

    The 'Aha' moment came when I realized that all the toys and rewards for hard work were actually anchors forcing to continue struggling in the hamster wheel because everything needed to be maintained and I didn't have the time to do it myself so I had to pay. Pay for storage, pay for cleaning, pay for maintenance- and all that meant working more more more to pay for the 'rewards' of all my hard work.

    Less is more (time, freedom, inner peace...)

    When we started the DE-construction process is took us about a year. From there it has taken another year to rebuild a new 'paradigm' (ugly popular word) based on our lifetime of experiences of what NOT to do again.

    Best of Luck,

    JC & the Family Unit

  3. Amen. I felt the same way when I heard that song. Have you ever read a little parable know as the Mexican Fisherman story? It gets at the core of the idea that having 'more' doesn't really get you anywhere. I love it! Linked here: http://littlehousesouthernprairie.wordpress.com/2009/07/16/the-myth-of-more/

  4. Thanks for sharing the story Emily. I had read that somewhere before, its very good!

    @Paul & Deb, yeah, some Microsoft stock would be nice!

    @JC: Thanks for the comment, less is indeed more.