It’s easy to lose sight of what you have when you’re immersed in a world telling you that you need more. Turn on the TV during any commercial break and you’ll most likely observe a business suggesting that you need something new in order to be better. It can be a challenge to feel satisfied with what you have when you’re constantly surrounded by these unsolicited proposals from companies. It’s no wonder so many of us are impacted by the epidemic of “never enough.”
While progress should always be embraced, there is a solid line between striving to be better and feeling like you’re never enough.
Although society makes it difficult to see, the truth is, you are enough. You have what you need to achieve your goals. The key to realizing this is shifting your perspective.
Remember when you wanted what you have right now? Whether it was yesterday, three months ago, or seven years ago, there was a time when were striving for what you now have. I’ll never forget the feeling of selling my first photograph for $500 bucks and a pair of skis. Each incremental step is worth appreciating.
I’ve found that there are two key changes you can make to shift your perspective away from the “never enough” mindset. For me, doing these two things has allowed that feeling to fade away.
My first piece of advice is to enjoy the process. Whatever it is you do, enjoy it while you do it. Start by reestablishing your relationship with what you do. Realize that it’s not about some magical treasure at the end of the rainbow, but it’s the steps you take while you get there that stems the enjoyment. It may be a cliché, but it truly is about the journey, not the destination. In fact, the journey may even be the destination. If you are doing what you love, then you’re already where you need to be.
“Loving the process takes the power away from this epidemic of never enough.” [18:20]
The second lever I’ve found negates the “never enough” feeling is gratitude. Express gratitude for what you have and awareness for how far you’ve come. Think back to the question you’d asked yourself just a few moments ago: Remember when you wanted what you have right now? Once you became aware of that truth, you were likely overcome with gratitude for being where you are right now. It’s that gratitude that is so essential for being content with who you are and what you have.
“If you can be grateful for where you are–these experiences, they create a certain levity to life.” [19:09]
In eastern traditions, such as Buddhism, the belief is to withhold judgement towards yourself. “You have what you have.” [19:58] Acceptance of that truth is what allows you to set yourself free from the suffering of never being enough, or never having enough. Being content with who you are and what you have in the present moment can be your key to shutting down that empty feeling. You already hold the key to fulfillment, and that key is acceptance of yourself.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t strive to be greater or push yourself to achieve more. Rather you should accept and be grateful for where you are right now, as you strive to push yourself further. You always have the tools needed to make progress or achieve your goals. Keep in mind that achieving those goals will not make you anymore capable of contentment than you already are right now. Your self-contentment is being held hostage by that “never enough” mindset.
And if in this moment you’re not where you want to be in your career, relationships, etc., find gratitude for journey. Making small, incremental steps is enough.
“Growth comes in so many ways that go beyond checking a box, beyond the summit of a mountain or a new promotion.” [26:20]
Enjoying the process of what you do and being grateful are two things that are always available to us. That’s what makes these such powerful tools. At any moment, no matter where you are on your journey, you can make the choice to become aware of how much you truly have and how much you’ve accomplished. This is what I believe to be the cure to the “never enough” epidemic.
And just as you always have the tools to rid yourself of the “never enough” feeling, you also always have the tools needed to pursue your goals. Because at the end of the day, life is too short to not pursue your dreams.
So, whether it’s taking a class, reading a book or starting a business, take one step towards achieving your goal and allow yourself to be completely immersed in the enjoyment of doing what you want to do. Be grateful that you have the opportunity to do what you love to do. And accept that you are enough.
I hope these insights inspire reflection and encouragement. In today’s micro-episode I speak more in depth about this issue and about my personal experiences with the “never enough” mindset.
[00:05] Intro and reflection
[01:05] The epidemic of never enough
[07:00] My personal experiences with this concept
[16:02] Discussion on the changes we can make to our mindset to quiet the feeling of never enough
[19:22] An in-depth discussion of how eastern traditions combat the never enough concept
[21:13] Reflection on the issue of the never enough epidemic and it’s solutions
[23:05] Some insight from Steve Jobs
[26:00] Closing thoughts and reflection prompts
Listen to the Podcast
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