Living in a fancy part of Phoenix, Arizona, I became a witness and a random participant of human greediness. All around is about consumption: drive a faster car, live in a bigger luxurious house and make more money. I look in the eyes of women who shop for a Louis Vuitton bag that is going to be number X in their collection, men who have multiple cars in their garages. Sometimes we have conversations with these people that lead to understanding that…more is less. So how to get more with less? Don’t get me wrong: I love designer’s clothes, the excitement of shopping and spending money overall. Though what I experienced throughout the years of self-development and work with clients in coaching is that more stuff and abundance of possessions lead to increased emptiness and less satisfaction. Sounds contradictory, so let’s explore this phenomenon together.

When we get something that we like, we activate a brain’s pleasure circuitry. Unfortunately, the activation doesn’t last long: you can experience it when you put on a brand new dress: wearing it for the second or third time is not as exciting so you want to repeat the excitement that you had when you first got this dress and…go get a new one. Novelty is a big marketing trick used by retailers and even dating services:  it’s just hard to stop getting something that is new and different, like a better future is promised with a something or someone new.

If to put it in a formula:

Consumption and satisfaction

In a nutshell, the more we consume, the more we want to consume that leads to less satisfaction. We are encouraged to seek and stay with novelties: this house is getting small, that car is getting old, or this life partner is not good enough anymore. Go change, go get another one.

Though when I ask my clients a question: do you want to be more satisfied or have more goods, they say as one – “more satisfied.” If so, let’s look at what leads to satisfaction.  Satisfaction doesn’t come with “more”. It comes with:

  1. The acts of subtraction. Start removing the aspects of your life that you don’t need: refuse enter shopping malls more than once a week, get rid of whatever clutters your house and office, pack a smaller bag when you go on a trip. It means subtracting from your life anything that is cluttering, bringing chaos and waste (including waste of time.)
  2. So called “virtuous behavior”: neuroscientists proved that regular exercise, meditation, volunteering and other ways of helping others activate the same pleasure circuitry in the brain that monetary reward, fast food, sweets and even orgasm.
  3. Our experience of connectedness to other people and life forms in this world. Dinner in a company of a close friend gives more long –term satisfaction than hours of shopping.
  4. Exercising will or making what we intend to happen actually happen. Voluntary regular staying in the nature, keeping a diet, growing business or whatever goals we genuinely set and achieve leads to more satisfaction than another glass of wine that we later on regret having.

Want to feel more satisfied and be happy with less? Schedule a FREE coaching session with me to learn how to get more with less.


As usual, I would be happy to hear from you.

With love,

Masha Sweitzer.