The Unsurpassed Gift of Being Enough

This Week’s BIG Idea

For the last couple of days, I’ve been thinking about new habits to start in 2024. The year is almost over and a new year is always a good chance to reflect on the habits that worked, as well as the ones that didn’t. That said, I’m already doing the 20% of habits that lead to 80% of the results: I meditate, exercise, read, write, and journal. At this point, anything that I start doing next year, whatever that is, is going to bring diminishing returns.

This isn’t a problem though. The problem is that we often get the feeling that something is missing in life. We feel we need more money, a promotion, a new car, or better relationships. But what if what we have is more than enough? What if we are more than enough? I mean, I optimized my life to the point where more isn’t the answer, but less might be.

There will always be things that we want to do at some point. We’d like to learn how to play an instrument or learn how to use a piece of software. Sometimes we have to accept that the reason why we don’t do certain things isn’t because those things aren’t important, but because other things are more important. I’d love to play video games again at some point. For decades, my entire identity revolved around playing games. If I wanted to do that again, I’d have to stop doing something else, and I’m not willing to make that sacrifice.

Like I said before, I have the 80% covered. So even if I want to “optimize” my life even more, the truth is that playing games again won’t lead to exponential happiness. When I went from not doing anything to exercising, I felt great. I got exponential returns from starting that single habit. Nevertheless, not all habits are created equal and you can’t expect every activity to do that for you.

It’s okay to struggle with habits, but we don’t have to make life more complicated than it has to be. Once you cover the basics, you’re good to go. Maybe this is a sign that I need less, not more. Maybe 2024 could be the year where I start subtracting rather than adding. That sounds like an amazing year and I’m looking forward to it.

What I’m Working on

For the last couple of days, I’ve been trying to get rid of a bunch of things I don’t use. Whenever I try to minimize my possessions I realize how difficult this is. I think this is the case because getting rid of stuff is an emotional process rather than a rational one. Rationally, I know that I haven’t touched a video game from my collection in months at this point. Emotionally, playing video games has been part of my identity for pretty much my entire life, and getting rid of them is like getting rid of a part of myself. In other words, I’m not ready to sell my video games yet. I have been getting rid of a bunch of papers and things I have no use for though. The process has been therapeutic, to say the least.

What I’m Listening to

You’re Not Lazy: How to Make Discipline Easy – Ryan Holiday: In this episode of Deep Dive, Ali Abdaal and Ryan Holiday discuss a series of topics, including the process of writing a book, focusing on processes rather than on outcomes, and obsessing over productivity. I’ve been following both Ryan Holiday and Ali Abdaal for a couple of years now and it’s amazing to see a podcast episode where they discuss some of the topics they often reference in their respective channels, as well as books.

What I’m Reading

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin: I read The Happiness Project a couple of months ago and loved my time with the book. I liked it so much that I’m rereading it and working on a summary for the site. For those unfamiliar, The Happiness Project is an experiment where author Gretchen Rubin started a series of habits to design a happier life. The project took an entire year and in each month, she focused on a specific area, such as marriage, eternity, or family.

What I’m Watching

These 4 Books Can Genuinely Change Your Life: I’m constantly looking for new book recommendations, especially in the non-fiction space. In most cases, I don’t care where those recommendations come from, but I have a handful of people who I trust. Some of my favorite books came from recommendations from authors like Ryan Holiday, Mark Manson, Tim Ferriss, and Ali Abdaal. In the video, Ali only mentions four books, but they seem fascinating nonetheless.

This Week’s Quote

“Before enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water.”

Zen Proverb

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