How Much is Enough?

Featured image full width Audio post

If You Could Have Everything You Need

Suppose a mysterious philanthropist asks you the following question: "How much money would you NEED right here and now, to retire today and never receive any income (from any source) for the rest of your life?"

Take a moment to think about it, and write down a number...
BEFORE you continue reading. This is important!

And Now... With a Little Twist

Suppose you're not the only one selected by this mysterious philanthropist, but you are one of five people who have been selected to participate in a contest.

The five of you all have similar debt-levels and costs-of-living, as well as similar, middle-class financial situations. You're all about the same age, equally healthy, have the same number of children, and you all live moderately low-risk lifestyles.

Privately, one by one, the philanthropist asks each of you the same question:

"How much money would you NEED right here and now, to retire today and never receive any income (from any source) for the rest of your life?"

The catch this time is that whoever among the five of you writes the lowest amount will be paid that amount. The other four players will get nothing.

Take a moment to think about it, and write down your new number...
BEFORE you continue reading. This is important!

The Difference Between What You Need and What You Want

Almost everyone who plays this "game" honestly, and exactly as we set it up (writing the numbers before continue reading) - will come up with two different numbers.

The first number is always higher than the second number.

Which is strange... because the question was exactly the same: "How much money would you NEED...?"

The difference between the two amount is called... greed!

If You're Greedy - You're Normal

In the article Do You Sabotage Your Own Success, we shared a basic fact about human nature, that people, at their core, are lazy, greedy, and Impatient.

Last week, in the article Are You Working Hard?, we dealt with the “lazy part”.

And today... we’d like to take a look at greed.

What does it mean to be greedy, how does it sabotage your success and happiness, and what can you do about it...

We define greed as a desire that keeps us wanting... MORE, MORE, MORE...

It could be an endless drive for more money, more fame, more knowledge, more time, more friends, more travel, more shoes, more years to live, more clients, more power, more anything...

The Important Word is “More”

There is nothing wrong with wanting more for yourself, your loved ones, and even the world.

Our species survived and thrived by striving for more, and by keep pushing to reach greater achievements - in science, art, social justice, technology and spirituality... just to name a few areas.

The problem with greed is that you never really satisfied with what you have.

It is this never satisfied desire for more that led, throughout history, to wars, pollution, slavery, elimination of species and forests, and lowering our moral standards in the name of increasing our standard of living.

Here’s a good question we rarely ask ourselves:

How Much is Enough?

And here is another good question...

What if you shifted your focus from more (quantity) to better (quality):

  • Instead of wanting more time with your kids or partner, focus on spending quality time with them...
    By paying attention, being present, asking questions, listening, sharing, playing together...
  • Instead of seeking more fame, become a role model to those who already know you...
    By being transparent and authentic, teaching, inspiring, motivating...
  • Instead of looking for more knowledge, put the knowledge you already have to good use...
    By practicing it, teaching, mentoring, writing a book...
  • Instead of searching for more friends, invest in the relationships you already have...
    By caring for each other, creating support groups, offering help...
  • Instead of striving for more money, live a life full of meaning instead of life full of things...
    By simplifying, beautifying, counting your blessings, contributing, being charitable...

“The interesting thing about greed is that although the underlying motive is to seek satisfaction, the irony is that even after obtaining the object of your desire you are still not satisfied.
The true antidote of greed is contentment.”

~ The Dalai Lama

Standard of Living vs. Quality of Life

Most people believe that as our standard of living (wealth, comfort, material goods...) improves, so does our quality of life (a.k.a. happiness).

But is it? Always? Really?

If there is one thing we learned during this COVID-19 year... is that having less of what we took for granted before (income, mobility, meetings, entertainment...) actually brought (for us) an increased sense of meaning, purpose, satisfaction, and yes... definitely happiness.

Start Thinking About Your Own Life

Here are just a few of our own examples to get you started:

  • As we saw our income dry out, we chose to make all our courses available for free for six months... resulting in thousands of grateful participants.
  • As all the restaurants were closed, we chose to upgrade our cooking skills...
    We now got so used to eating healthy, tasty, varied food made from the best ingredients, and cooked with love and attention... that we refuse to eat again in a restaurant.
  • As physical meetings stopped, we developed an intense and deep daily online communication with our loved ones, on a level we have never experienced before.
  • As outside entertainment died off, we both found new interests in life and in each other, which we pursue for hours every day.

What if What You Have is... Enough?

Here is an interesting thought experiment, that if you reflect on it and answer it honestly, might give you the rare opportunity to find contentment and gratitude in what you already have.

Ready? Here it goes...

Imagine that for the next 5-10 years your income will stay exactly as it is today.
The source of income might change, but the absolute number of euros or dollars or pounds stays the same.

Your mission is to come up with as many creative ways to keep and even increase your quality of life (not necessarily the standard of living).

Now, share your ideas with us in the comment box below.

Can't wait to learn from your answers.

And until then...

Live fully, stay awesome…

Vered & Nisandeh Neta

If you find this article valuable... please take a moment to share it with your online connections...


  • Interesting twist 😀 I would increase the quality of my life by:

    – taking care of my parents now they grow older
    – inviting family and friends more often
    – sharing cars and stuff with neighbours
    – having more time for my husbands children
    – selling everything and moving to Portugal to lead a simpler and sunnier life
    – writing daily to share my insights
    – doing a volunteer job at an animal shelter
    – more reading
    – more walking
    – more meditating
    – organizing retreats at low costs
    – probably someting with gardening
    – spending more time with my husband, the love of my life

  • Hi, what a good blog!
    I’m in this situation already for 25 years.

    My income was frozen at the time I became ill. All the time I was creative and became more present.
    Health is for me the greatest present I can get, and if I can do what I want to do I feel blessed.

    Like my book I presented at 29 of November 2020.

  • Marianne Kruiswijk says:

    I left one of my jobs in February this year. The situation had become toxic and harmful for my health.
    I work 20 hours per week since then. My income is 60% now: less money, but more of everything else.

    More time for paying attention to what I do.
    More time for my friends and family.
    More time to work in my vegetable garden.
    More time for walks and tours on my bike.
    More time to take care of my health.
    More time to read the books that are piling up next to my sofa.
    More time to listen to old LP’s on my new gramophone.
    More time to write letters to loved ones.
    More time to do research for a biography I want to write.
    More time to try out new recipes.
    More time to…. sleep 🙂

    And what I learned is this: I was running and stressing to much. Because of that I ate in restaurants more, my shopping was done in a hurry.
    That resulted in spending more money in a need of comforting myself. Being busy can be expensive….

    Marianne

    • Vered Neta says:

      This is such a fantastic and inspiring contribution Marianne.

      Thank you so much for it. The insight is great.

  • I am rather satisfied with my income today. If it stays the same, I will be able to live my life in a pleasant way and saving some money as well.

    However, to answer the question, increase my quality of life could be obtained and stick to the goals that I have put for myself, without being distracted by obstructions that are placed on my path (and often are placed there by myself).

    • Vered Neta says:

      Thanks for your honest answer Tineke…

      Here is a thought… Have a look how you could INCREASE the QUALITY of your life , if your income will be lower?
      Come up with some creative ideas what could you do to increase the QUALITY of your life even if this scary thing would take place….

      Curious to hear what you would come up with.

  • 20 years ago, when I worked as a mental coach, a lot of my clients indicated the lack of money to progress. I always played the three million gulden question (was before the Euro time), which was I choice with some experience.

    Tomorrow morning you have a letter in your mailbox from your bank and there is Three million gulden on your bank account and it is not fault it is yours. What are you going to do now?

    Answer are on average, with my answers behind them:
    1. Buy a house. Great that cost you 750.000 gulden. You have left 2.250.00 gulden left over.
    2. Buy a new Car. Nice that cost you 100.000 gulden. You have now 2.150.000 left over.
    3. Make a world trip. That cost you another 100.000 gulden and you have 2.050.000 left over.
    4. I give a big party for my friends an family. Cost will be 50.000, and you have now 2.000.000 left over. So now you have what you want and what is the next thing you going do.

    From that point it always got interesting.Two million is a lot of money and makes you more than financial independent, interest rates were higher then but it still counts.

    Without the financial burden my people needed really to think about where they want to focus on to make their life of what they wanted. In most cases it quickly worked out that they just could do >80% of that even without getting the three million.

    For myself I came at that time as far the even with one million and with all the mortgages I had. I could live a very good live.

    Now 20 years later and a family of 4, I think that even with half of that about NZ$500.000, as I now live in New Zealand, I will have more than enough to live and get my kids to see the wonders of the world. And we can do with less, we just travel less.

    We emigrated to NZ and we have a wonderful house, children and some nice pets. We emigrated because here it was possible to raise my kids with one parent working and sometimes even not. We do not need to have pre-school, after-school, between-school, evening care for the kids. There is always one of the parents home.

    • Vered Neta says:

      That’s a fantastic example and a great process to do Menno.
      Thanks for sharing it with us

      Now my question to you is what would be then adding QUALITY into your life today?

      • By adding quality is both parents having time to spend with our children. As the home stay parent I sell some E-bikes with fantastic service and get on this way more people out of their cars.
        Due to less stress I came up with some nice processes which allows me to re-store older e-bike batteries and enhance the lifetime of peoples E-bikes for a fraction of a new battery.
        It also give me time to maintain my house and garden better and I even picked up a new hobby.

        • Vered Neta says:

          Thanks Menno for this further in depth understanding of what adding quality is for you.

  • Dee Verhij says:

    Try a potentially deadly desease. That will cure you from greed and make you realize that money is what you need to provide yourself and your loved ones with comfort (to what extent is another discussion). To love, being loved and feeling safe is what makes you content.

  • Boy Soochit says:

    Is not about greed nor contentment, it is peace!

    • Vered Neta says:

      Thanks Boy for this great input.

      However, don’t you think that part of contentment is… PEACE?
      Curious to know what would YOU do if your source of income will stay the same in the coming 5 years how would you increase your QUALITY of LIFE?

  • I was laughing when I read this, because it was the reason why, when Nisandeh stopped with Open Circles, I was not sad at all. I felt I had taken what I needed from the courses in marketing and how to run a business and I still had materials to work with for years to come thanks to the videos that I can look back at.

    I already felt for a while that enough is enough and that I was satisfied and did not want to strive for more more more.
    Quality of life does not depend on stuff. It can make life more comfortable. Of course I also still wish for more sometimes.

    For years I wanted to have a house with a garden instead of an apartment. This year due to COVID, losing my apartment was suddenly an option which was very frightening. I really became to re-appreciate it, and whenever I need a garden I go to a park.

    So yes, even more gratitude and satisfaction with what I have, instead of pushing to achieve more.

    • Vered Neta says:

      Thanks Martine for your great and honest contribution.

      Think about it… Isn’t it sad that we only start to appreciate what we have only when that thing is in danger of being lost…
      Learning to appreciate what we have without the danger of loss of it could be the new achievement.

      Maybe achievement has nothing to do with attaining STUFF but attaining new skill, habits (like gratitude), and behaviours…
      What would you then strive to achieve Martine> Curious to hear

  • Ylonga Arets says:

    Take even more walks in nature, which I already do and enjoy very much. Take more time to meditate and imagine.

    Look for more and tasteful vegetarian recipes.

    Reserve more time as I do now, to support other people and foundations, like amnesty and so on.

    Work, so plant and grow more in my vegetable garden.

    • Vered Neta says:

      Awesome ideas and suggestion Ylonga.

      Thanks for this great contribution

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
    >