Finding Happiness: How You Can Own More by Owning Less

by Jason on February 16, 2010

Life is funny isn’t it?  All through school we’re told to get good grades so that we can get into college.

Once we get into college we are told to get good grades so we can get a good job.

Once we get a good job, we work a ton of hours so that we can move up the ranks and get a better job, which usually requires more time and more pressure so that we can set ourselves up with the next promotion.

We do all of this in hopes that once we reach a certain job status or certain level of income that it will provide us with happiness.

We want more money to accumulate more things, which just take up more time that we don’t have, which leads us to wonder at some point in life,

Is this all there is?

A Merry Minimalist

Are promotions and hard work bad things?  Of course not!  But, many times, we have it all wrong.  I need to constantly remind myself of this, so maybe we all need a bit of reminder:

True wealth is not found in our promotions or our jobs or by helping a company turn a profit!  It is found in the quality of relationships and pursuing our passions!

So maybe we need to take a step back and simplify.  We just might find that minimizing our pursuit of stuff may just lead to a greater quality of life.

Simplifying lifestyles leads to owning fewer “things”, but let’s take a look at how owning fewer trinkets can lead us to owning more:

Own more time

You’ll free up time to do things you enjoy.  Maybe it’s spending time with family and friends.  Maybe it’s sitting down and reading a good book.  Maybe it’s a home project you’ve wanted to get done.

It’s amazing how quickly our “I’d like to do” list gets piled up.

For example, we say, “Oh, I’d like to take the kids to the museum, or I’d like to take my wife out on a nice date, or I’d like to spend more time volunteering at a non-profit organization” and then those things never happen because we’re too busy.

Maybe it’s time to take a step back and look at how much time we spend building our own little earthly kingdom rather than investing into others.

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Own more money

The whole premise to the Millionaire Next Door, the popular book by Thomas Stanley and William Danko is that based on their research they found the majority of those who lived in upscale neighborhoods and had high incomes were not weathy – they just lived high on the hog.

When we kill ourselves to move up the ladder so we can make it into the next upscale community and keep pace with the next income bracket, a funny thing happens.  Our net worth typically doesn’t increase.

Those who realize the foolishness of keeping up with the Joneses and are satisfied with what they have tend to see an increase in net worth because they save money rather than blow it!

Own more happiness

Remember the song “Cats in the Cradle“?  It’s a sad song about a dad who never played with his son because he was always so busy.  The tables turned on the dad down the road when his son told him he didn’t have time to visit with his father because he was too busy himself.

You could be the best employee at your job, moving quickly up the ranks, but if your spouse and kids can’t stand you because you are never home or never involved with them, what good is it?

Simplifying our lifestyle or decluttering your life from “stuff” will free up more time for you to invest into and enjoy things that will bring greater returns – like quality of relationships.

Share your thoughts!

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