Can you accurately answer this? At what "amount" will you be happy and content and say "I've accumulated enough"?

I’m absolutely hooked on the series Billions on Netflix and I find the characters, their lives as billionaires incredibly fascinating. Not for wishing I was them but for wondering what keeps them ticking to want more.

In season 3 the main character, Bobby & his wife, Lara, are having an amicable discussion on the splitting of assets during their divorce proceedings and Bobby advises that due to his circumstances, his assets may be taken away by the government leaving him with $300 million.

To which, his wife, Lara, gasps and says “….but it doesn’t sound like it’s enough”.

I nearly fell off my chair!

This begs the question - what is enough? When do we feel happy with what we have and how much we have? 

In our own lives, how many reflect on what truly matters and what is driving us towards the accumulation of more?

In Shawn Anchor’s fabulous TED talk he mentions that most of us follow an old formula for happiness and success -

If I work harder, I’ll be more successful and if I’m more successful then, I’ll be happier. But this is what ends up happening, every time we have a success, our brain changes the goalposts for that success. ie. you got a job, now you have to get a better job or a promotion; if you meet your sales target then, we make a new target.

So if happiness is on the other side of success, our brain never gets there. As Shawn states, “…what we’ve done is push happiness over the cognitive horizon….and that’s because we think we have to be ‘successful’ then, we’ll be happier” 

The concept of enough is subjective and we have to define our own enough and this is a task in itself. There is a point beyond our survival and our comforts where the accumulation of things does not bring us lasting contentment.

How many of us have bought our kids new toys, only to see them discard it within days if not hours as it no longer brings them joy? How many, on the other hand, have seen kids play with the most simple objects (perhaps a cardboard box), using their imagination and creativity and you can see that it really lights them up inside?

The feeling of being fulfilled is more valuable than money but yet we chase money, at toxic levels. It makes us consume more and work more - on repeat.

Many of us would agree that time is perhaps the most important resource we have. How are you spending your time? Finding your enough allows you the freedom to stop chasing things that don’t matter to you. It’s understanding that beyond your “enough” is a waste of money and therefore your time and stopping you from doing the things that matter to you most. 

The key is that happiness exists now and the realisation that what you already have is plenty. Finding your enough will set you free. It is where you will find peace and calm in your life.

How do you find your "Enough"?

This is a very personal process and each of us has to develop and action our own way of finding our enough. But here are a few guidelines to help you begin the process. Finding your enough is about realising what is adding value to your life.

  • Take stock of what you already have. Look at each item or each group of items and assess the value it brings to your life. Does it bring you joy? If not, put it aside and see if you can give it away. I guess this process is to declutter and possess only items that make you happy and that you value. By doing this, and it does take time, you'll easily start to see the excess consumption that does nothing for you and by contrast, that you only need a few things to feel fulfilled.
  • Deeply reflect and work out what you want to achieve? What are your goals and ultimately, what is your purpose? Once you are clear or more clear on this, you're ready for the next step.
  • Take your income and look at all of your expenses. What are the expenses that you can do without? This could be shopping for new clothes, the 2nd or 3rd holiday a year, the new gadgets and latest technology. Get to a point where you are able to more clearly define the amount of spending you need to achieve a level of comfort and to help you achieve your purpose and goals. This is your enough.

Finding this point is truly liberating. It focuses you inward and not to media defined notions of happiness, value and success. Finding your enough is a personal journey and there is no right or wrong way to get there.

It is the realisation that happiness comes from within and happiness is in the here and now. Not in the consumption of more. 

So, will you begin the process today?