There’s a significant difference between focusing on less and focusing on lack. One is geared towards essentialism and intentionality, while the other is nothing but depriving ourselves of living a whole and meaningful life.
We live in a society where we are constantly bombarded with a high volume of messages, whether it be via advertisements, social media, digital platforms or any other outlets, and they all drive us towards a lack mindset. Because these sources are so deeply integrated with our living environments, we get conditioned over our lifetime to covet what other people have. We try harder and harder to keep up with the Joneses, not realizing that the Joneses are not living any happier lives than us; in reality, they are miserable themselves as they too are trying to get ahead of us. And that’s why it pays off to focus on less in these torrential times of access and excess.
The constant pursuit of more is not the right way to live and act. We need to stop trying to get stuff that other people have. Trust me, it will not make you happy. We need to realize that the void will never get filled with externals. We need to fight our urge to accumulate things and hoard. We need to bring purpose in our purchases, in our lives and in our way of living.
No matter how much we try, the lack mindset that we have cultivated over the years will not go away easily. But over time, as we train ourselves relentlessly to focus on less, we’ll be able to get a grip over our misaligned desires.
Focusing on less doesn’t mean that we don’t have to buy any more things. No, we humans are driven by progress and life is all about expansion. It simply means that we need to be deliberate with what we bring into our lives. We need to be satisfied with what we have and cultivate an appreciation towards it. And let this new outlook guide our behaviors and actions.
Less can be more if we choose wisely. We can always count our blessings no matter what stage of life we are in. As Marcus Aurelius writes in Meditations, “Don’t set your mind on things you don’t possess as if they were yours, but count the blessings you actually possess and think how much you would desire them if they weren’t already yours. But watch yourself, that you don’t value these things to the point of being troubled if you should lose them.”