Insatiability – More Please!

Bermuda Triangle of Productivity

[Image from Flickr user Leif (Bryne)]

More, more, more – it’s the pervasive mantra today.

Consider the following:

  • More tech devices will improve the quality of your life.
  • More email in your inbox means you’re a more important person.
  • More enhanced beverages will increase your performance.
  • More social media followers, friends and connections means you’re more popular.
  • More money will fix, well…everything.

Before you gulp down that 6-hour jolt of liquid lightning, ponder this: what’s fueling your drive for “more”; where’s this drive taking you?

Insatiability is more complex than it might appear. It’s natural to want more. The challenge and complications, however, lie in the specific focus of our “want”, the drive behind it and the process that develops as we pursue and attain it.

We won’t get too deep into the neuro-psych of this, but know there are both obvious and not so obvious reasons why we choose our particular wants. These reasons and wants, such as they are, have the power to influence our thoughts, our feelings and our actions. And ultimately, for better or worse, they shape (or distort) our vision. If this sounds like a set-up for some incessant treadmill, you’re probably right. If this sounds vaguely similar to addiction, there’s a very good reason. Check this out to see what I mean.

More is awesome. Even the concept of More is exciting, especially when it relates to something we want. The complication comes when the rush or novelty starts to fade. What do we do? We just crave More! Oddly, the insidious element is often not even the actual want – it’s the concept of More, made all the more powerful by the growing desensitization that occurs in the process. When the value of More begins to wane you’re left with no more than a scorecard and a pile of stuff. And, you probably don’t need a shrink to tell you this is a bit less awesome.

What to do?

Start with the two questions posed at the beginning of this article:
What’s fueling your drive for More?
Where is this drive taking you?
No one can answer these questions but you. Perhaps that’s the hard part.

So…let’s make it a bit easier.

For every “want” on which you focus, consider the Why that lies behind it. For example: Why would more e-mail signify more importance? Does it really feel better to win that competition when you share your inbox stats with a colleague? If it does, what does this say about your focus and values? If it doesn’t, what does this say about your focus and actions? What are you really focusing on; what’s the real message you’re hoping to send? Is there a more effective way to demonstrate your value to a colleague, and thus, choose a more meaningful focus? Another example: Why does having more social media followers, friends and connections mean you’re more popular…more “liked”? Might your 500+ online friends, connections and followers be more concerned about how their connectivity reflects who they are, or might they possibly be just a bit voyeuristic? Do you think they’d actually follow you in your offline reality? What if you limited your connections to those in whom you actually have an interest? What if you only endorsed your LinkedIn connections for skills you can legitimately verify…with no underlying quid-pro-quo in mind?

What if More was actually healthy and sustainable?

It can be! You choose the target of your focus. Take control of this choice…mindfully. Turn off the More madness by shifting toward meaning. Rather than “friending” frivolously, consider what you hope to experience or share through connecting. What you just might get is More value and actual connectedness. Instead of a mixed-brag to your colleague regarding your inbox, ask them what’s the best e-mail message they received that day. Share yours too – and watch how the conversation changes. What’s the likely result? More positivity, learning and value. Keep repeating this process for each “want” that’s hobbled by More.

We all have a drive for More in life – whether competing or compensating, it can become consuming. What will you choose to want; what will you focus on? What will you do to ensure this drive takes you someplace meaningful?

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