Why Less Is More

I’ve been playing a lot lately with these concepts: less, more and the thing in between (usually called balance). Why do we need more? And more of what? Why sometimes we tend to value balance, while otherwise we tend to lean towards one of the ends? And, most of all, why sometimes less is good?

The following list is my answer to the last question. And, being a list about less, I will skip every unneeded clutter and just start it away (it won’t take you more than 10 minutes to read the whole article):

1. Less Money in Your Life Will Push You To Value More Everything Else

The money rat race is a never ending game. The more money you get the more money you want. It’s a thrill in many ways similar to the one you get by putting your fingers in a power outlet. You get an amazing experience but at the same time you slowly decrease your overall resistance and health. Next time you’ll need more because you created a little bit of tolerance to it. And then a little bit more. And so on.

Money is just raw energy. Without a goal to direct it, without a plan to make it something material, it will remain in its raw form. And every form of raw energy is a dangerous thing to play with.

Now, imagine you won’t aim for this raw energy all the time. Imagine you aim for something simpler. Climbing on top of the world for instance. Or having a balanced family and raising kids. Or writing a fantastic story, painting or sculpting. All in all, just getting out your creative potential. The less money you’ll aim for, the more you’ll want to put your  creative potential to work.

Less is more: less money is more creativity.

2. Less Negative Thoughts Will Make Room For More Positive Thoughts

Now that’s an easy one. It works out of the box and everybody could understand it at the first glance. Just eliminate the negative thoughts and you’ll make room for some more positive thoughts. Alas, it’s not always like this. The problem is we’re having different understanding of the concept “negative thoughts”. What I perceive as a negative thought may be something natural for somebody else. Negative thoughts are highly personal. They are shaped by our life experience, upbringing, current environment and more.

So, how can you identify those negative thoughts in the first place? My number one trick in doing that is: are they making me feel angry? Am I experiencing feelings of fear and abandonment? If yes, that’s a negative thought. No matter how “right” that thought may look like in my own internal values system, if it triggers feelings of anger, revenge or fear, it’s a negative thought.

Less is more: less fear, anger and revenge will definitely make room for something else. And that something else has no chance left but being something good. We already got rid of the bad stuff, right?

3. Less Fights Means More Time for Understanding Yourself

Fighting is a constant activity in our modern society. We’re doing it almost on autopilot. Every time we’re not heard, every time something is not working according to our own expectations, every time somebody is making us feeling bad, we’re starting to fight. Most of the time, we’re doing it on the inside. We’re arguing, we’re playing our case, even if we don’t say it out loud.

We’re getting better and better at that. I know I won thousands of fights on the inside: I knew I was right. But in the end, it doesn’t really matters who is winning a fight. All that matters is that you’re using your resources in something useless. You’re spending time and energy on something irrelevant. Ok, it’s in the past now. Move on.

Fighting is such a waste of time. Just make this simple exercise of writing down every argument you had in your mind (or out loud, if you’re more extrovert) and be amazed about how much time you’re spending on this. Now imagine how it would be to make this time available for something really important, like understanding yourself.

4. Less Compromise Means More Power for Your Own Decisions

Compromise is a good social tool. It was invented to keep some sort of a balance between different opinions and create a middle path, allegedly a safer one. As such, compromise is a useful tool for survival. But as with any other good thing in our lives, overusing compromise made it toxic. We compromise on almost everything.

When was the last time you gave full power to your decisions? When was the last time you took into account your own desires and goals, without getting infected by external intentions? If you live in a modern society, you did this last time when you were a kid. And I bet it wasn’t very well received, either.

Less compromise will bring back color and shape into your life. It may not be the color and shape you would expect, but it would be your color and your shape. You can start modifying that world, once you get a hook on it. But without shrinking compromise to the size it deserves (a last minute survival resort) you won’t be able to get a grasp on the correct world. You’ll work on an infected vision of it.

5. Less Procrastination Will Push You To Get More Done

I bet you didn’t know that, by even procrastination can be done in a productive way. Joke aside, spending time without doing what you are committed to do is such a waste. Procrastination is the bigger client of our modern time expenditures. We spend more time procrastinating than maybe sleeping.

Imagine how it would be to have less of procrastination in your life. Less time spent on nothing. Naturally, you’ll start doing things. You’ll start making the world spin again. Staring at something (a project, a task, a client) without acting on it will make it stop. It won’t move, it will be dead. Procrastination is just a softer way to slowly kill your time (in both senses).

6 Less Something Is Always More of The Opposite

And with that, we’re getting to the core of it. Less something is always more of the opposite. That’s the fundamental principle of quantity and it’s a basic rule of our perceived Universe. Some of you may think that’s just a normal fact and I emphasis a normal fact too much. It’s simple, everybody knows that less of something is more of the opposite. Well, for those of you who are really getting this, I apologize. You’re not into the target of this article.

But if there are some readers who think that less of something could really trigger more of the opposite, and that is an incredible powerful tool for switching our world, our life, our universe upside down the way we need it, the last item on the list is for you.

7. Less of This Blog Post Means More Time for Your Brain To Ponder Things By Itself

That’s right, I could go like this forever. But I won’t. I think it’s far more better for you (and, to some extent, for me too) to let you think things by yourself now. If you mentally allocated 10 minutes to this blog post, be happy: you only spent 5 so far, so the remaining 5 are going to be used for somebody really special: you.

Just leave this blog post behind and start thinking: do you have too much of something?

How less of that can give you more? And more of what?

20 thoughts on “Why Less Is More”

  1. These are great thoughts. You got me thinking about the fact that less money forces you to value everything else much more. As more money comes in, we start to value things less. But I also find that if someone has worked hard for their money, there is always a sense of value for things. Its only those who get the money without earning it that cannot put a real value onto things. Just my thoughts.

  2. Good points and an important post in the times of excess and greed. People just are naturally jealous and envy what other people have, not realizing that comparing oneself to other people is what makes you actually unhappy – there is always someone who has more money or a nicer car than you have, so the solution is to stop comparing.

    It is amazing how much more time (and money) we have in our lives after we stop buying stuff that we really don’t need. It enables us to work much less and do more of those “unproductive things” we love to do that can actually be very productive regarding our own personal happiness. 🙂

    So let us all focus on wanting less irrelevant things in our lives.
    .-= Petteri´s last blog ..Why Comparing Yourself to Others Is Harmful and How to Stop It =-.

  3. Great stuff regarding the less money. So many people think more money will solve your problems. I always ask them, How many of your problems will disappear with $10,000? The answer of course is none, only an attitude change can make it happen.

  4. Dragos –

    I love the concept of being in flux between two extremes. I strive to find the right place on the scale and know this is a constant balancing act. Every action we take rules out another choice we had. You’ve captured some of the paradoxes really nicely. The money one resonates for me – I hadn’t thought of it as raw energy before and that is a nice metaphor.


    .-= Phil – Less Ordinary Living´s last blog ..How to avoid getting fired by George Clooney =-.

  5. Wonderful post, Dragos! Thanks for sharing this. I agree with you that less negative thoughts will make room for more positive thoughts. I would just like to add that in order to do this, one has to find out his underlying values. What experiences does he want to get out of something? Once he figures out what his underlying values are, it would be easier for him to focus on the positive aspects of his life.

  6. Dragos,
    Forgive me, I have been addressing you by the name of John as I have seen that this is the person replying to all the users commentary.
    .-= Ana Goncalves´s last blog ..Surrending truth =-.

  7. Dear John,
    I’m really enjoying reading your blog. That is a good way of describing money, that its ‘raw energy’ as indeed it is just that, transferrable at your own choice. I think that what counts in this whole attitude of ‘less is more’ is how you view yourself in the world, and how you encounter the experience itself. I agree that ‘less can be more’ but then at the same time the statement is easily reversable for each new experience and how one exists within it.

    Something extra to add; Less can also mean loosing the expectations you have of yourself in fulfilling criteria when experiencing certain situations.
    .-= Ana Goncalves´s last blog ..Surrending truth =-.

  8. This is indeed a wonderfully provocative post! I do echo the sentiments that there can be a baseline for when ‘less’ might not be best, but for many of us the idea of less is more is worth pondering in one aspect of our life or another. I like making more room for positivity.
    .-= Sandra Lee´s last blog ..CSS upgrade and the Bueno theme =-.

  9. A beautiful post, Dragos…reminds me also of restaurants who serve very small servings (less) of delicious delicacies that go a long way (more). Thank you for the thoughts. I sent it to my husband for his daily inspiration. Less is More Less is More Less is More. Particularly helpful when I go clothes shopping ;)!

  10. Generally, I agree with what you’re saying. However, I think there’s some privilege inherent in this post. Less money is good for you–yes, that’s true if you’re making tons and tons and money is only making you buy more and more, spend more and more time with your possessions. However, some of us are well below the poverty line and struggling to simply keep a roof over our heads. I think that there’s a baseline below which this advice doesn’t necessarily apply. Take meditation, for example: less money, less time spent doing expensive things, might lend more time to meditate. But it’s very difficult to meditate when you don’t have a dependable shelter from the elements and from crime.

  11. I think that experimenting with less is a question of finding a better balance. To use Jonny’s example, less chocolate cake is not necessarily a bad thing — it could help a person create a healthier lifestyle. But too little chocolate cake isn’t a good situation either: what’s the point of having an incredibly healthy lifestyle that you can’t enjoy? Just like everything else, we should apply ‘less’ in moderation.

    But I do think that a lot less of a whole list of things would make for a much easier life.
    .-= Thursday Bram´s last blog ..36 Secrets the Productivity Gurus Won’t Tell You (But Our Heretics Will) =-.

  12. I always enjoy your writing, Dragos. Your first point got me thinking. You say if you have less money you value other things more. I think that can be true to a point. However, I think there’s a tipping point. When you have so little money that you can’t pay your bills or get the basic necessities, then getting more money can become an obsession. I guess like everything, there has to be a balance.
    .-= Carmen´s last blog ..How to Write Excellent Blog Posts and Love Life Too =-.

  13. If I have LESS chocolate cake then there definitely will be MORE anger in my life, that I am certain of but apart from that unique situation its a great idea of looking at the concept of “less is more” in practical terms.

    Also I second Parker Lee (which is an awesome name btw) in liking the “Money is Raw energy” comment, good visual.
    .-= Jonny | thelifething.com´s last blog ..Time To Seriously Revolutionise Your Thinking And Kick Start Your Success Plans Hard =-.

  14. Wow Dragos, this is a really good article.

    It really made me think, I especially like, “Money is just raw energy. Without a goal to direct it, without a plan to make it something material, it will remain in its raw form. And every form of raw energy is a dangerous thing to play with.” –Dragos

    This is so true, money is nothing if you don’t know how to wield it correctly. I guess I love money, so this stood out to me the most, I could go on and on with other quotes I loved about this article…but I’ll try to exercise less is more 😀

    .-= Parker Lee´s last blog ..Get People To Like You. No, R-e-a-l-l-y, Like You. =-.


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