by Leo Babauta
“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” - Socrates
In that one little line, Socrates summed up one of the major problems with our modern society, and offered a simple solution.
Pretty brilliant, I’d say.
In fact, he negated the need for me to write more, but stubborn as I am, I will proceed. I’d like to talk about this capacity to enjoy less.
Is it difficult to enjoy less? No, not really, but it takes a change in mindset, which as with many such changes takes time and adaptation.
If you enjoy chocolate ice cream, as I do, when confronted with a tub of it would you also enjoy eating as much of the tub as possible? I know that’s what many of us do when faced with delicious food.
But what if you learned to enjoy just a few bites of the ice cream? And with each bite, savor the flavor, the coldness, the creaminess, the chocolatiness. (Yes, that’s a word, spell-checker – I made it up.)
If you love clothes, instead of buying more and more each weekend, can you learn to cull your wardrobe into a few quality, beautiful pieces that you can wear often, and enjoy more?
The same applies with anything we love … including online reading and communicating (email, Twitter, Facebook, forums). We often seem obsessed with more of it. But instead, consider reading just the quality stuff, and if a blog or Twitter feed doesn’t deliver quality consistently, consider dropping it.
Learn to love less television, movies, chatter, spending, shopping, eating out, junk food, technology, consumption, productivity. You get the idea.
When you focus on enjoying less, you focus on full enjoyment. You learn to be content with little, and when you do that, a life of happiness is at your disposal. The only limit to your happiness, then, is how much you can learn to enjoy less.