I had a conversation with my dad (@TomMullooly) this morning, and he told me the very first word that I ever spoke was “more”.
It got me thinking about the word itself. More. One syllable, four letters, but so much is packed inside that word.
More is an inspiring, greedy, ambitious, destructive, challenging, nerve-wracking word. More can be great. More can also be terrible.
Personally, I have a hard time balancing the need for more with being at peace with what currently is. Physically, emotionally, financially – there always MORE you can be doing, MORE you can be achieving, and that’s the beautiful, but dangerous, thing. However, when “more” means “more cake please” (see picture for reference) THAT is always a beautiful thing!
Personally, I’m a people-person. I enjoy spending time with people. I enjoy having as many friends as I can. I enjoy having everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) like me. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but there are certainly downsides. I find myself stretching myself too thin sometimes. I find it hard to say “no” even when I know that I’m exhausted and need a break. Overall, personally I view my desire for more as a positive, while constantly working on fixing the negative aspects.
Financially, more can be very dangerous. In finance, we’ve all heard of the hedonic treadmill when it comes to money. The mindset of “once I reach X amount of dollars in the bank, I’ll be happy” – only to move the goalposts once you get there. At the same time financially, more can be extremely empowering. Having a sense of drive, ambition, motivation to constantly improve your financial situation is hardly a bad thing. It just needs to be channeled and utilized in healthy ways. Figuring out how to simultaneously balance and appreciate everything you currently have with an undying desire to improve is a superpower. I haven’t mastered it yet, but I’m getting there.
In business, and your personal life, the word “more” can present some frustratingly difficult questions to answer. How do I get more business? How do I become successful? How do I accomplish everything I want to accomplish?
As 2020 winds down, I want to challenge everyone reading this (including myself) to really work on a few things.
- Work on appreciating what you have.
- If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that every day is sacred, and tomorrow is guaranteed for nobody. You’ve worked hard for what you have, and even if you don’t think what you have is a lot – celebrate those wins. No matter how small. Staying present in the moment and setting aside that need for “more” for just a little bit can go a long way in recalibrating your perspective on things.
- Work on channeling your desire to have “more” in a healthy way.
- It’s good to want more. It’s good to have drive and ambition. We need to be able to harness those feelings and attack each and every day in a productive, healthy way. Constantly striving for more at the expense of your physical and mental well-being isn’t worth it in the long run.
- Work on focusing on what you can control.
- This one is BIG. We’re currently going through quite a bit that is out of our control. Whether it’s an election, a pandemic, or something else – remember what you can and can’t control. When it comes to your finances, you can control how much money you save and spend each month. You can control what kind of debt you take on, and how you pay it off. At the end of the day, your personal cash flow decisions are going to move the financial needle much more than the stock market will. Personally, you can’t control what other people think of you. You can control how you interact with others and your reactions to what happens, but you can’t force someone to like you. Focusing on your own personal actions is what matters.
It’s remarkable how so much can come from just one word. One simple question is enough to upend your entire thought process. “Do I need more?”
One way, at least financially, to know if you need more is to make a plan. Having a financial plan by your side can be a point of reference whenever those pesky doubts creep up.
We are all constant works in progress and will be forever. It’s important to remember that we can always improve, we can always get better, we can always want to grow while simultaneously learning to be content with what we have.
Who knew my very first word would turn out to be so important?