One of my daughter’s first words was “more”. Anytime she wants anything that she doesn’t know the word for–especially food–she screams, “more, more, more.” On one side I think it’s cute, but on the other hand, I’m thinking, “Oh no. It’s started.” Since time began human beings have been fascinated with the idea of more. We always think more is better and half the time we don’t even give any thought about what it is we want more of. If you think I’m exaggerating try this little test. Ask the next several people you see this question, “What’s better 3 or 10?”
Every time I’ve tried this in workshops people have automatically said 10 is better. When I remind them that I never told them what the number referred to they look puzzled. Then I say something like, “I meant 10 hornets in your rectum.” That freaks them out and they say they would rather have 3. “What,” I ask, “You’d want 3 hornets in your rectum?” Again they’re flustered. “No I don’t want any hornets in my rectum,” they correct me.
So how does this happen? Well, it’s because we’re addicted to more–more money, more food, more sleep, more time. Sadly, most of us will live our entire lives in the pursuit of more. The people I mentioned reacted to my question rather than responding. Even when they realized I wasn’t offering anything they wanted, they still reacted because the thought of choosing nothing has been all but pushed out of their mind. Think of the common saying that, “something is better than nothing.” Why is something better than nothing? Is that always true? What about some slaps across your mouth? What about some racism? What about some workforce reduction?
I know there may be a few people who will read this and say, “Well those things are different.” Believe me, I hear you. They are different. Unfortunately, unconscious behaviors cannot be modified and if you’ve ever known anyone with an addiction, you know that an addiction wins out over rationality. The same goes for the addiction to more. Right now America is in the financial situation it’s in because of an insatiable desire for more. In fact, most cases of debt can be attributed to this addiction. But what can we do about it?
The work I do on myself is to always ask myself if I really need whatever it is I desire and when I eat, I choose to not get stuffed just because something tastes good. To overcome this addiction, it is important to know the difference between a want and a need. Now, I am not suggesting that everyone starves or becomes a pauper. What I am suggesting is that a healthy understanding of what enough is can go a long way toward living a fulfilled life and helping others to do the same. My daughter got her desire for more naturally. I am not saying more is the problem at all. It’s the unconscious desire for more without the ability to discern when we are going too far that causes all the grief.