Why people stop at wanting “more”

Blue gatePhoto courtesy of Gianfranco Vitolo

So I’ve talked about the problem with just saying that you “want more”. In most contexts, I hear it about money, but there are plenty of other areas where we use this wording. People want “more” time. People want “more” community. I ran the Shamrock Run again this past weekend, and the temptation to say that I wanted to “run farther” or “run faster” is pretty strong.

But a goal that is non-specific is also unachievable. No matter what you accomplish, it won’t be enough.

And not being enough, well, isn’t enough. Not for me at least.

It’s easier, and you’ll be well supported

I don’t think people give themselves unachievable goals (and thus the inability to feel satisfaction from achieving them) unless there’s a reason.

And in this case, there are a few reasons.

People say that they want “more money” but don’t follow it up with specifics because it’s easier. It doesn’t require any work, any soul-searching, any personal insight. You can just say it, and be done with it.

And it’s also non-specific enough to be universally agreed upon. Who among us would say, in response to “I wish I had more money,” “Really? I don’t.

Yes, it’s possible that some people give themselves an unachievable goal because of community.

This is the “waning tide sinks all boats” theory of interaction. You see it in the people who complain about their jobs and their life because it bonds them to others.

Having an awesome life can be pretty alienating, at least from certain people. Your happiness and success can feel like a threat to others’ own dismissal of their options. After all, no one wants to be called out on taking the easy route.

(If this is your situation, it might be time to seek out a different community, with people who aren’t as threatened by success.)

The gatekeepers

But it’s not just community reasons why people stop at the “wanting more” stage without looking into what they would need to get there.

It’s hard to look inside yourself. Once you do, you will contend with all of those inner demons that tell you that you “don’t deserve” more, that you’ll “never get what you want” so you should just “accept what you have.”

Undeserving, Futility, and Sufferance.

Those are the gatekeepers to the true desires inside yourself, and they are fierce adversaries. They do not take lightly to being challenged.

And most people don’t want to fight them.

The price for acquiescence though, is the hamster wheel. A goal you can’t reach. Satisfaction denied. Endless “more”.

I challenge you to push past this.

If it helps, think on a longer timescale. Years from now, do you want to be in the same place, wishing you had “more”, or do you want to have achieved the “more” you were seeking, and have moved on to other challenges?

Make the plan your own

You have a plan. Recall:

  1. Determine your current lifestyle
  2. Determine what comprises your desired lifestyle
  3. Determine what that lifestyle is likely to cost
  4. Figure out how far you are away from this goal

But what if it’s not money that you’re after more of? You can apply this to your needs.

Let’s take the goal of a better run. So in this case, the steps become:

  1. Determine your current speed and endurance. How fast do you run, and how far can you run without having to take a break?
  2. Determine what comprises your desired speed and endurance. How fast do you want to run? How far would you want to run without a break?
  3. Determine what that goal is likely to entail. How many times a week will you need to practice? What is your plan? You may wish to ask a personal trainer if you don’t know.
  4. Figure out how far you are away from this goal. This one should be easy.

Tackling these steps one at a time will make it easier to defeat your internal gatekeepers. It won’t make it easy, but at least you’ve got a fighting chance.

No more hamster wheel. You want something specific. You don’t just want “more”. Find out what it is, and then work toward it. Onward.

Mike Pumphrey

Mike Pumphrey

I'm the founder and author of Unlikely Radical, a site to help people succeed with money, achieve their goals, and live intentionally.

I offer a free phone consultation to anyone who is interested in changing their financial narrative. Are you ready? Click here for details.
Mike Pumphrey
Posted on March 23, 2017