Posted by: universitymindlab | March 4, 2008

Why Less is Sometimes More…. Pt.1

Bakari Akil II, Ph.D.                      March 4, 2008

I bet I can enjoy my nickel better than you can enjoy your dime.

Redd Foxx, Comedian Extraordinaire 

We all know this person; you may even be who this article is about. The person who has the “American Dream.” Relatively speaking they are healthy, have quality relationships, a nice place to live, drive a nice car and work at a pretty good job. They have most of the new toys and gadgets such as a big flat screen TV, sleek cell phones and maybe even savings in the bank.

However, to them it is never enough. They want more; a bigger house, more clothes, a fancier car, a better job, more toys.

Of course this is fine. Naturally, people always want more. Especially as their Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs and wants are met. At times, most of us want bigger and better. However, the point of this writing is to offer perspective. It is to say that it is possible to strive for more and currently enjoy what we have. Further, this piece was written to warn the audience that sometimes we can search for something that we already possess.

What do we really want? 

What do you really want? What really makes you happy? More and more we hear from people who “have it all,” from movie and television celebrities to wealthy businessman with over a hundred million dollars state that money and wealth is not what makes them happy. In the Power Talk series by Tony Robbins, Charles Givens, the 1990s financial guru and multi-millionaire stated that wealth is not the be all, end all secret to a satisfying life. Celebrities such as mega pop rock stars David Cassidy and Rick Springfield also stated that after so much success, world tours, mansions and so much more they came to a point where they found themselves searching for more meaning in their life.

This leads to the question; What are we trying to get out of material goods?

At the root of any want (not need) is a desire for an emotional outcome.  We want to feel a certain way. Ernie Zelinski, in his excellent book, “The Lazy Person’s Guide to Success,” discusses this issue at length. He asserts that one of the most common reasons that people crave material goods is because of their need for status. To keep up with the Joneses. However, keeping up with the Joneses is a never ending cycle and can leave us physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted.

Let us take Zelinski’s concept a bit further. There are many different types of status and if you are a person who tries to meet all of those expectations, society’s or your own, it can be very expensive. If we try to compete with people in every arena of our life for the purpose of outdoing them, out of spite, envy, jealousy or even not to be ashamed, we place ourselves in the never ending cycle of the hamster’s wheel?

A way to avoid this cycle is to examine what really satisfies us and would fulfill our internal longings. Does what you want to achieve really require continuous drastic overhauls of your life? Is it possible that you could achieve the satisfaction that you crave in other ways that don’t require Herculean efforts? And here’s a question that digs at the root of many of the rags to riches stories that have inspired millions to join in the race for the “Big Idea” for wealth; Do you have to be a millionaire or multi-millionaire to thoroughly enjoy your life?

In part 2 of this, Why Less is Sometimes More, series I will discuss some specific instances of how less can be greater than more and why quality of life is so important.

If this post provokes thought, leave a comment. I would be happy to hear from you!



  1. […] Biography Eddie Murphy was born in Brooklyn New York, in 1961, the youngest son of Lstar.91-av.comWhy Less is Sometimes More??. Pt.1 Bakari Akil II, Ph.D.????????????????????? March 4, 2008 I bet I can enjoy my nickel better than […]

  2. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Upstage

  3. Many people spend their life chasing the next best thing instead of concentrating on what would really make them happy. In addition, many often use expensive material objects as tools to fulfill their emotional needs, when something less expensive or non-costly would suffice.

    While chasing these ambitions it is possible to neglect other things such as health, family, friends and the fact that they may already have all of the tools required to live a very wonderful life. Purpose and fulfillment may be what they are truly looking for.

    Self-reflection can serve as a guide.

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