What is the Sign of Enough®? It’s that moment when any of us for whatever reason stops and says “OK. That’s enough.” And then begins some targeted and relevant action in response. It may be when not one more thing will fit in the garage, closet or spare room. It may be when you realize that you’ve been busy every night this week and now that it’s the weekend, there are three different things you could do at any given time. It might be when your daughter or son looks up and informs you that you’ve missed most of her or his games that year. It might be when yet again you’re packing to leave on Sunday afternoon for a business trip. Or it might be when you read another story about the appalling economic inequality in our country and the extravagant salaries being paid to CEO’s, especially as compared with the employees in their organizations. Or it might be the latest “loosening” of the environmental regulations to allow some large energy company to do what they claim needs to be done for us to remain competitive.
It certainly is the case that not everyone has enough. But many of us do. In many different ways. And an important question to ask is whether or not this current state of affairs is making us happy. Is our “more, bigger, faster” culture helping us live more deeply fulfilling lives? Are we taking sufficient care of one another and of our world?
Looking back I find I first wrote about “enough” in 1997 when I was living in San Francisco during that decade’s dot com boom. Story after story emerged about 20 something millionaires experiencing severe ennui because they felt “now what?” I know, oh that we should all have such problems! Nevertheless, I felt sorry for them because 24 seemed too young to feel as if the best parts of life were behind you and you’d never again face such a wondrous challenge. . . and win!
And so they went shopping and bought fabulous cars worth more than many people’s homes. The term MacMansion was coined for what they built and then filled with every conceivable new electronic toy being developed by fellow entrepreneurs down the road. And then, many turned their attention to the “next new thing” and began building and developing products and processes that may or may not have been needed or of benefit to the world with hopes for another big sale or wildly successful IPO.
And I began to wonder—when will they have enough and how will they know when they do? Here I want to say that these are not the only folks who have been and are on this hamster wheel . . . they were just the most apparent to me at that time.
From those ruminations the question “How will I know when I have enough?” was born along with the realization that each of us will have a sign . . . THIS is enough. And so what has become a many-year project, “The Sign of Enough®”, was born.
Travel with me along this path and let me know your thoughts. It is time for all of us to think about this question and to listen to one another’s fully formed and emerging thoughts.