What do you mean less is more?
You’ve heard it. Less is more.
I first heard this counter-intuitive phrase in reference to fancy restaurants. You know, the ones which serve you up a teeny tiny portion of elaborate food on a fancy plate with a shocking price tag. Less is more. Less is more attractive, more desirable, and creates a higher sense of scarcity and desire, they insisted.
That made no sense to me. Less is less. More is more. What kind of wacky marketing are they using to sell this message? And who would be foolish enough to believe it?
Now I finally get it. Less is more and it’s not just with eating less (although it doesn’t have to come with the price tag of a 5-star restaurant either!).
Less is more in many areas of our lives because over-indulgence, as you may have found out through sweet experience, is not the way to either success or happiness.
The lure of over-indulgence and mindless accumulation
Over-indulgence and mindless accumulation are the surest way to confusion, frustration and even misery. Sweet, tempting and desirable as they seem on the surface, they are not a way to a happy heart for the long-term.
They can give you a momentary sense of delight or pleasure but that evaporates after a day or a week, and you come crashing down fast from their empty promise of happiness.
And if you are not careful, your lows will lure you into going back for more. Maybe you didn’t get quite enough: maybe you didn’t eat quite grandiosely enough, drink quite heavily enough, work quite hard enough or spend quite extravagantly enough.
And maybe that’s why you are not quite yet happy enough.
So, you talk yourself into doing just a little more - buy more, eat more, work more, drink more – then maybe the magic will happen. But no matter how much you do, you feel further from the promise land.
Your inner voice screams at you about how insane this all is, and to stop, to slow down, to be more intentional and less anxious. But that’s neither interesting nor sexy because you have lofty goals and doing less is sure to yield in average results.
Well, I don’t care about average any more than you do so I would never dispense any advice that would give you an average anything in your life. Average is boring and uninteresting, I agree but more is not the answer to, well, more.
The problem with more: More does not necessarily result in better, higher and happier anything. More is a reaction we have to not knowing the real answer. And when we don’t know any better, we do more of what is familiar in hopes that it all “adds up”.
I know it’s counter-intuitive but some facts of life are just so:
Eat less to feel better.
Drink less to enjoy life more.
Work less to get promoted and get a raise.
Spend less to have more.
And you may need to do more of certain other things (fodder for another blog post, hmmm!) in order to reach your goals and dreams, but today, let us focus on less and here’s why.
Your mind and your heart are your treasure boxes. You can’t add new wonderful things into your treasure box until you take out or do less of what’s not working.
Today we empty the box. We look inside. We clean it out and get it ready. We become both conscious and intentional of what goes into the box and we prepare the box for a great treasure hunt ahead.
14 Things to Do Less to Get More Success and Joy in Life Now
1. Eat less: I was shocked by how much I eat, thanks to calorie tracking with MyFitnessPal. Mindless eating, emotional eating and social eating can lead to those extra pounds that make you curse the scale down the road and go on a radical diet in reaction. Just eat less. Research has shown that you are far healthier if you stop eating before you are really full. Try it for a week. You’ll feel, shall I say, more satisfied, not to mention healthier?
2. Buy less. Ever since I fell into an accidental minimalist, I feel more content. Me! The over-consumer, materialistic, stuff-loving gal. I haven’t gone into radical extremes. I admit, I still buy stuff I don’t need but want, and I am not ashamed of it. But I am very intentional about my purchases. Buy with a clear mind and never on an impulse.
3. Watch less TV. I didn’t say watch no TV (or telly). Watch just a little less. Give your mind a chance to consume higher quality of information (and entertainment). Watch less mindless TV. If there are 3 TV shows that bring you joy, watch them, but if you turn on the TV because you are bored, do less of that.
Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday. ~Mary Schmich
4. Worry less. Become very aware of your worry and train yourself to do less, far far less of this. Worry makes you feel as though you are doing something useful but you are only taking time away from the real useful stuff. Use guided meditation to change the habit. It’s helped me tremendously.
5. Judge less. We never, ever, have enough information to judge someone else for what they (probably) did. But the energy, the emotion, the time it takes to judge might just be better used toward that dream project you have shelved or the book you haven’t cracked open or the important stuff in your life that needs your attention. Let others be. Judge less.
6. Be busy less. Busy isn’t respectable anymore. Drop “I’m busy!” as a response to everything. Be more authentic and more honest. Are you really busy or filling up your time with “stuff”? Do you want to be doing what you are doing? Take a closer look. Be less busy.
7. Work less. That’s right. Chances are you are working hard enough but doing less of what really matters to get ahead. This myth alone is what fueled me to create my free program for every careerist who wants to enjoy a successful career without – I repeat, without - handing their soul over to workaholism.
8. Be negative less. The negative thoughts in your head are killing you. Learn to identify them. Believe that they are telling you lies to keep you from living a happy life. People are not bad. The world isn’t against you. You are not unlucky or unfortunate. When you change your thoughts, you can begin to change your life.
A little kingdom I possess, where thoughts and feelings dwell; And very hard the task I find of governing it well. – Louisa May Alcott
9. Drink alcohol less. Yes, I can appreciate the (very) occasional glass of wine too, but drinking causes more problems than your health (or your finances!) deserve. You can still have a grand time with friends over a glass of sparkling water. You can still feel the high of life and be sociable. Drink less alcohol and be more alert for life.
10. Compare less: Compare yourself less to anyone out there and make it a rule that you can only compare yourself to your previous self. Are you better than yesterday? If not, strive for better tomorrow. That’s the only way comparison serves you well. The rest just steals your joy.
11. Gossip less: This is not only a number one career suicide at the workplace, it is a cheap way of feeling good about yourself by putting others down. Gossip is for small minds and it’s a habit that you need to consciously break. Lift others up in their absence as you would want them to do for you.
12. Make excuses less. Excuses are your fear speaking in the place of your power. Excuses are not the real you. Excuses that you “can’t” do something or it’s “too hard” or “too late” are blocking you, keeping you stuck. Don’t put up with that. Procrastinate less and do what matters to you because you can. No excuses.
13. Have a bad attitude less. Life doesn’t always go our way. My way of handling it used to be to show off a poor attitude. The less things went my way, the worse my attitude would get. Oh this was a hard habit to break but an essential one. Accept what happens. It’s not happen “to you” so much as it’s just happening. And there’s always – ALWAYS – a silver lining. Your job is to find it.
14. Give your power away less. You have inside you the power to achieve all that you desire. Most of us go through life denying its existence or trading it for fear, for shame, for guilt or for excuses. Do less of that. A whole lot less. Believe more that there is this power inside you, hide it less and feed it more love and energy. You will meet a new you before you know it.
That’s all I got for you, my darling! Love to hear your thoughts on “less is more” in the comments.
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