John Rockefeller, a billionaire in the early 1900’s, was asked, “how much money is enough?” He responded, “Just a little bit more.”
This could be the mantra of modern American culture. We are obsessed with the belief that satisfaction lies in attaining just a little more. A few more friends. A spouse or a child (or another child). Retirement. A raise. Better weather. A vacation. More appreciation at work. It comes in a myriad of ways, but the obsession is the same.
We are consumers and we feed like locusts. We devour all that there is and move insatiably to the next crop, always hungry for more. Kevin Durant finally won an NBA championship, only to discover it did not fill the hole he had expected it would. He needs more. Jim Carrey famously said, “I wish everyone could be rich and famous so that they would see that it isn’t the answer.”
We are searching for more because we are searching for meaning. We are on a fool’s errand. More is not the answer.
Our nephews are visiting this week. Everywhere we go, they want a toy. They want the closest toy to them. They want to buy it and open it and play with it. And then, half a day later… they want another toy. It is a pattern most of us do not grow out of.
The problem is that we have believed in a fundamental lie. We have put our faith in toys, or relationships, or money. In reality, we have put our faith in what we do not have. We have cast ourselves as victims, believing that our hopes and dreams are external and need to be purchased to be owned.
Our obsession with more is a choice. It is a choice my nephews make and a choice the rest of us make on a daily basis. Most often, we chose a perspective without even realizing it. Our decision is buried under layers and layers of similar decisions made throughout our lifetime. But it is a choice nonetheless.
The secret treasures of peace and purpose are internal, not external. It is not something we have to purchase, earn, or aquire, it is who we are. We are chasing a treasure we already own.
The key to purpose is acceptance. Discovering the truth about who we are, what we are responsible for doing/being, and adoring The Source behind it all. The victorious life is not about a quest to find more. It is about an acceptance of our innate value and the calling we each have to live out of that (rather than toward it).
Our perspective is the lens through which we view truth. The only way to discover truth is to shed the superficial trappings that are just a shadow of the deep longings within us. If we want peace and purpose, we need to adjust our belief system. We need to move from an obsession with more things to an obsession with more truth.
Sadly, most of us will spend our entire lives under the heel of the cult of more. We will always be trusting our expectations for what is around the next corner. And the next. And the next. The only way to short-circuit the carousel is to make a different choice about where we place our trust and how we define meaning.