or your own genuine solitude?
Freedom, or power over an entire nation? A little while alone in your room
will prove more valuable than anything else
that could ever be given you.” The Private Banquet by Rumi
I read an article last week about satisficing. * The word combines satisfaction and sacrifice and signifies abandoning the quest for the ideal in favor of the good-enough. It means stepping off the aspirational treadmill, foregoing some material opportunities and accepting some material constraints in exchange for more time to spend on relationships and experiences. http://grist.org/living/2011-06-28
Many families and individuals are choosing to satisfice. These people are realizing that wealth and happiness and stuff and happiness are not synonymous. They are choosing less stuff, houses, money and financial security in exchange for a more peaceful, less rushed lifestyle.
Satisficing allows them to experience and enjoy quality family time, game nights, dinner at home, more exercise and play, reading time and an overall sense of well-being.
Having more does not make us happy. If it did we’d give up the quest for more as soon as we had more because we’d be happy. However, stuff can be enticing and we tend to think if a little stuff makes us happy, how much better to have plenty stuff. The question is: When do we have enough and where does it stop?
Because the drive to be busy is fueled by fear, it prompts the question, “If I take a break and leave the rat race won’t my house of cards come tumbling down?” There is a possibility that it may seem at first that everything is crumbling, but there is nothing of true value to our life that can be lost by slowing down.
There are those who have to work harder and longer just to make ends meet. These people are doing what they do out of necessity, instead of choice and desire for more.
If we choose to stay busy so we can acquire more, it would probably be beneficial to stop long enough to see what we’re sacrificing. Is the added stress worth the extra TV set, new car, bigger and better electronic equipment, or the latest phone and video game?
Living in this world can be a rat race filled with busyness, rushing, impatience for Self and towards others, and a never-ending need for more. It’s like being on an out-of-control merry go round. When we buy into having more we also buy into moving at the same pace the world is moving, which is extremely fast.
The good news is we can exit that ride and choose another. One that is slower paced and that offers health, family, relationship and spiritual benefits. We can choose out of the insanity and consider satisficing. We each have the power to make that choice.
I believe many opt to stay on the ride with the rest of the world because it’s easier than changing our habit of being busy. To exit the ride and get to a quiet place will require a choice and a commitment.
If we choose less stuff, houses, money, and financial security in exchange for quiet and peace we will get to experience less rushing and less busyness. We will even have time for Self and others.
Questions to ask and ideas to consider
Do we stay busy and do we need more because:
It makes us feel important or sought after
It is a hedge against emptiness
It suggests our life has meaning and we have a right to be on the planet
If we’re not busy others may think we’re just lazy or unambitious
If we do not give our children everything they want that everyone else has, will they be angry with us?
We feel guilty if we don’t stay busy. God forbid someone should catch us napping or reading a book during the afternoon.
We choose busyness. It does not choose us, therefore we can choose differently.
Stress and busyness OR quiet and contentment
More things OR less things
We have to weigh the equation and either stick with where we are, whether it works or not, or choose out it. No one can make that choice for us. It is possible to be in the world but not of it. It is possible for each of us to decide to practice satisficing.
* The Medium Chill by David Roberts
- Deliberate Busyness (simplyselah.wordpress.com)
- The Cult of Busyness (yougottasmile.wordpress.com)
- America’s Problem: We’re Addicted to Being Busy (newser.com)