The Art of Enough and Fake Abundance

It’s easy to get caught up in the race for more. Sometimes I get to the end of the day and think about all the things I didn’t do or could have done. And it’s hard not to feel a bit letdown.

Yesterday, there were a lot of things that I wanted to do that I didn’t get done:

  • I didn’t create a reshoot a video for Paid to Exist that I’ve been wanting to do.
  • I didn’t do any strength training. (I did go on a 15 mile hike the other day though, so maybe I’m off the hook.)
  • I didn’t further any of my marketing goals.
  • I didn’t do as much writing as I wanted to.

There a lot of things I didn’t do. And they’re all valid and important things to me. But sometimes life happens…

  • I woke up at 5:30am, had a mastermind call, then went back to sleep (see: 15 mile hike)
  • I made dinner for my wife (Pad Thai, and it took me a while since I had never made it before)
  • I took a nap because I had a headache from quitting caffeine

And now that I think about it, yesterday was a pretty awesome day overall, despite the disruption of my prolific work expectations. But the point is that my first reaction was to judge how I felt by how much I accomplished. As if my sense of worth is somehow determined by how many things I check off a list.

Maybe you can relate.

Last week, Charlie wrote about why we need more reflection on enough and it got me thinking a lot about what it means to be enough, to have enough, to do enough.

It can seem like there is a conflict between an abundance mindset and an efficiency mindset. If you have enough, that means you need to be satisfied with less, right? You need to pare things down until you are surviving simply on the essentials needed to sustain yourself and your physical body.

But I don’t think that’s the only way to frame enough. I actually think that enough is the doorway to abundance. If you are always seeking more, and think you are going toward abundance by collecting more things, you will only find fake abundance. No matter how many resources you allocate, there will always seem like more are missing. Because you are not content, you cannot experience abundance.

And that’s because real abundance exists in the present. Real abundance has nothing to do with you creating it or achieving it sometime in the future. Abundance is what reality is made of. You don’t have to do anything to make it so, that’s just the way it is. The only way to experience that abundance is to open yourself to what already is.

If you think you have to take control of your own abundance, that’s only half true. Really, the only thing you need to do is stop resisting what already is. And much of that resistance comes from either:

  • Seeking abundance in the future
  • Believing that you have to do something about it

Letting go of those two things is hard. But it really starts with one simple thing:

Being enough.

The more that this present moment, right now, is enough, the easier things will start to get. You will no longer be resisting the abundance around you. Even if you’re experiencing a sense of lack based on your circumstances or situation, that’s only because internally you are resisting. Stop resisting, and you’ll see your situation change. I’ve seen it happen over and over in my own life. I’m sure you will too.

And enough doesn’t have to conflict with more. It’s just the starting point. You can have enough and. What you desire expands from enough, from what already is. It’s not a reaching out to fill something that’s missing, it’s an expression or unfolding from your core that is always complete, and always whole.

That wholeness exists right now. Can you feel it? Can you become aware of your wholeness?

When you feel like you are enough, and that what you have is enough, it feels good. And it’s the only way to experience real abundance.

photo courtesy of incurable_hippie

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Karol Gajda August 6, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Wow. You put this so well. And this is especially relevant to me currently. “…the only thing you need to do is stop resisting what already is.” Love that.

Thanks Jonathan!

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Jonathan August 7, 2010 at 9:31 am

Yeah, it’s amazing sometimes how simple things can really be if we let them be that way.

Mike Roberts August 6, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Being enough… so simple.

By focusing on this, it seems to be a short cut that allows me to let go and better experience life as it truly is. More and more, it is getting easier to let go.

Great post! These last few, have really hit home.

~Mike

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Monique DiCarlo August 6, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Yes I can relate very well, sometimes I spend from 9 till 11 at night at my laptop, and still I feel I could have done more! Besides the regular SM tools I also have 4 blogs and a website and there’s always at least one that will not get my attention for some time…
Looking at the things you DID accomplish seems much more realistic and creates energy for the next day…
Wow a 15 mile hike…I did a 4 hour hike (mountains) with my 7 year old daughter a few weeks ago and figured out that at 45 the recovery time is much longer ;-)
Where can I find a guy who’ll make me Pad Thai???
Going to enjoy some “now” time…NOW!

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Jonathan August 7, 2010 at 9:33 am

Wow, congratulations to your daughter for doing a four hour hike. That is really impressive for a 7 year old!

As for a guy that can make you Pad Thai, I wish I could help you with that one. :)

Brett August 6, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Hey Jonathan,

I’m getting tired of saying “excellent post” to you, but I have to say it anyways.

So – excellent post.

The conflict between experiencing abundance/feeling as though I’m enough and always striving for excellence and doing more than just sitting around all day to bask in my enoughitude has been in my mind for quite a long time, and you broke it down so nicely that my mind went ‘click’ and I now understand it so much more.

Understanding you’re enough just as you are paves the way for no outcome dependence and applying yourself to things that you really love.

For example: if I believed I were truly enough and complete on my own, what would possibly force me to get off my ass and start doing something?

The answer: if I truly loved doing something, and it made me feel alive, then I’d do it. That way, the abundance mindset cuts out a lot of the things we do out of compulsion and a need to please our egos. Accepting that we’re enough just leaves room for things that we love, and that’s it.

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Lachlan Cotter August 6, 2010 at 6:39 pm

I agree wholeheartedly that real abundance begins with the inner world and often all we need to do is stop resisting what is already there. We live in the present moment. Period. If you can’t enjoy the here and now for what it is, then you hold yourself apart from happiness now and in the future. At the same time, there’s nothing wrong with seeking more, on any plane. There’s a kind of anti-materialism backlash that paints material consumerism as a repulsive, gluttonous thing. While some kinds of consumption may by unhealthy, material wealth in and of itself is a positive thing. The very essence of life is growth and expansion. It expresses in the material world just as in the spiritual. But you are right: you don’t have to do anything besides shift your thinking.

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Jonathan August 7, 2010 at 9:34 am

You’re right Lachlan. We need a healthier mindset when it comes to material things, desire, and being mindful. We don’t have to pursue one at the exclusion of the other. If we go too far toward one virtue, it then becomes a vice. We have to find more of a balance.

Thomas August 6, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Wow, I just wrote a post about this.

Not viewing it as abundance but viewing it as Gratitude. As you said, the only way to feel that abundance is to be grateful for what you already have. To feel as if you are abundant in the present.

Because the future is always going to be the future. Even when you get all the money you want or that car that you’ve been drooling over, once you have it you’ll replace it’s throne with something better. You have to. The throne can’t be empty– the only way it can be empty is if it doesn’t exist.

The more I read from people who preach abundance but at the same time are hyper-efficient and seek to fill their days with work related activities, the more I think that the efficiency mindset, in many cases, is a trap.

So many of us go from not doing anything with our lives to this proactive, go after your goals attitude that we think that we should work that much harder. In reality, you’re just replacing old addictions with new ones. Instead of being addicted to things you found relaxing, like watching the T.V. or going out to the bar, you become addicted to work. You seek to fill all your free time with things that are devoted to self-improvement and leave little time for enjoyment.

Enjoyment is important. Yeah, it’s good to strive to be all you can be, but we don’t have a lot of time in the grand scheme of things– the sad truth is that you’re not going to get a lot of the things done that you want to do, because you have less than a hundred years to do them in. There’s way more out there than a hundred years worth.

Be grateful and enjoy your life. The grass is only greener because you’re paying so much attention to it.

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Jarrod - Cultivating Heroes August 7, 2010 at 1:12 am

It really is about not internal resisting exactly what you are right now. If you are perfectly happy with who you are at the core of your essence and being true to that then there is nothing that needs to be changed.

From their, it is ‘all good’ :)

In seeking external like money we are generally actually seeking a change in internal state that we believe money will bring. Your internal state is always immediately accessible so why not be right now?

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Jonathan August 7, 2010 at 9:36 am

You hit it dead on Jarrod. Shifting your internal state is always an option, *right now* — so why not take the easier path, rather than waiting to shift your state by achieving something in the future?

Emily August 7, 2010 at 3:38 pm

(I also wrote this on my Surviving Limbo FB page with a link to this post. Thank you for the insights.)
This has been on my mind a good bit lately. I am very hard on myself for not being able to do much. My energy levels and emotional reserves are pretty low. However, I’m becoming more mindful of how I spend my energy allowance each day. You’ll see me take steps forward and back as I try to make my life more meaningful. For example, FB is actually on my goal list since it’s my primary social outlet. I tried a 2nd account to better keep up with my friends (I later found out that was against the rules…oops). That didn’t work. I moved everybody back over here, got too caught up in games, tried eliminating altogether. Now I’m trying to discipline myself with 2. The point of all this is value. I have a separated “Friends List” because positive interaction is more important to me than games. I still like games, and the nice thing is the people on my “Gamer List” can be moved to my “Friends List” if it turns out we get along. The point of all this rambling is that it’s quality not quantity that counts. If the 1-3 things I do each day all match up with a value, who cares if I’m not a Supermom or Super Career Woman?

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Richard August 8, 2010 at 8:08 am

If you truly believe in and experience abundance you don’t need to seek anything other than what you want in this moment – the rest will be there for you when you need it. That doesn’t mean doing nothing since you still need to reach out and take what’s in front of you.

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Ken August 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I quit caffeine last week and feel your pain! It took about four days for the headaches to stop. I quit cold turkey and it was rough.

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Katie Brandt August 9, 2010 at 7:31 am

I can relate to the feeling of not getting my to-do list done at the end of the day – it is not a good feeling.

About you post, I am still trying to wrap my head around your post. But a question that keeps coming up – if being is enough, why would anyone take action? Why would anyone want to change for the better, either themselves or the world? Wouldn’t we all just be sitting around doing nothing?

Or are you saying that when I don’t get my to-do list done and I don’t feel right, I should just accept that what I did get done was enough? Even if I spent the day watching TV?

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Mike Roberts August 9, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Katie, I often experience exactly what you are talking about. The day ends and I didn’t get done what I had planned, maybe I even sat around and watched TV all day. Very hard to be “enough” during these times… but I still try to let go and experience that feeling. The reason is, because during those times when I feel like I am “enough”, incredible amounts of action happen and it doesn’t feel forced. It feels like I’m just “doing what is needed”…

Vince Robisch August 9, 2010 at 5:51 pm

This is an excellent post. It definitely hits home and this explanation of “enough” was fantastic.

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Christopher Foster August 9, 2010 at 5:53 pm

I love coming to your blog Jonathan.
There’s a paradox here, isn’t there?
I absolutely am enough right here and now, in this eternal moment. I’m already happy, already free.
And yet the very character of life is saying: look, here’s something you need to reach toward that you’ve never reached to before.
To enjoy the dance between these two opposites seems to me to be the essence of what this beautiful experience we call life is all about…
Can I close with a genuine thank you Jonathan for your kindness to me as I reach toward greater things with my blog…not forgetting the great truth you have shared here that I am enough right now and nothing more is needed.

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Ken August 9, 2010 at 7:28 pm

I quit a lot of things recently including meat, milk, caffeine, hard alcohol, and all junk food. One of the main things that helped me get over the hump is my very supportive wife.

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Tim (MiniLifeHacks) August 10, 2010 at 6:44 am

I’ve had similar days where nothing on my list was checked off but they were still very pleasant, and even productive. I think one of the vehicles here is presence.

“Whatever you do, do it as if it was the most important thing in the world”

If (when relaxation or other duties become priority over your checklist) put as much importance on these items as you normally would on your checklist items, then there will be no room in your mind for thoughts like “I should be checking off those items…” “This is taking up my precious time” and you’ll notice that this IS your precious time and you should be using it to the utmost potential, no matter what it is you are actually doing.

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teamcurtisfamily August 10, 2010 at 5:23 pm

The flesh is never satisfied, it always craves to have more. People tend to want, what they don’t or can’t have. Abundance doesn’t necessarily have to mean to have or want more, however it could mean to become more. As we continue to grow and change, we experience life more fully, more abundantly! Thought provoking post.

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Mike (Pro Borrower) August 10, 2010 at 9:37 pm

An excellent post. We compound our inability to live in the abundance of the present by borrowing from our future paychecks to accumulate more stuff.

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Amy Miyamoto (@LotusAmy) August 11, 2010 at 9:57 am

Thank you for highlighting the important reminder that “real abundance is in the present.”
This is so key on many levels!
;)
Amy

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Laura Lee Bloor August 11, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Ah, yes. I am sure everyone here relates to this. One of the blessings I’ve gained from the loss of loved ones this year is to find joy in what already exists. Or to use your example, “being enough.”

If we stop our monkey minds for a moment and just sit quietly, most of us can agree we definitely have enough. Yes, there will always be more goals we want to accomplish, but let them unfold as they will. Just having the vision and staying true to it is … enough.

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Lachlan Cotter August 11, 2010 at 5:34 pm

+1 : Meditation is the fastest route to bliss.

Jeremy August 13, 2010 at 9:23 pm

I can definitely relate to measuring my worth based on how many things I achieve. Sometimes it’s good thing, sometimes it’s a bad way to look at it….and I agree that we always want more – as in enough is never enough.

About two years ago I went though a divorce and lost a lot of money financially in the stockmarket and in property development. Nearly lost everything. From then onwards I realised I was chasing more abundance and forgetting to appreciate what I already had – mainly my life, family and possessions.

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Mike August 22, 2010 at 5:56 am

Reconciling your achievements, or lack thereof, with your sense of self worth is an important life skill. Two works which opened my eyes to this are THE WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR by Dan Millman and THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand. “Life’s a journey, not a destination…”

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Noel August 27, 2010 at 11:04 pm

I’m having this dilemma to getting more and more of the stuff i don’t have and feeling hard to suppress the desire to have more. So it’s a great point when you said the reason of feeling ‘lack’ and ‘not getting enough’ is because I’m resisting it internally. I guess the only way to solve my ‘greediness hunting for more’ is just to accept and appreciate what i already have – ‘Being enough’. Thanks~

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Ramblings of a Woman September 7, 2010 at 5:21 am

Awesome. We so need to accept the abundance we already have! I just recently wrote a post about what is ‘enough’. I went over th same things as you did here and your post just helps to reinforce in my mind the direction I need to be heading.
Bernice
http://bernicewood.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/so-what-is-good-enough/

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