It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. – Seneca
What does that mean?
This is a classic quote, and explains the futility of comparing yourself to others. Yes, we need a yard-stick against which to measure ourselves, but trying to “keep up with the Joneses“, well that kind of thinking will just eat you up!
If you judge yourself against other people, you will always be unequal. They will always have a little more or a little less. Depending on who you measure against, you may find yourself wanting more, perhaps a lot more. Does that make you feel rich or poor?
The quote implies it isn’t a lack of stuff that makes us poor, but our attitude which does. There are places in any country where you can find people who are content, even happy, with very little. Because we have been trained to do so, we call them poor.
Why is curbing your cravings important?
For anyone who has been on a strict diet, either for weight loss or in preparation for a medical procedure, you know how real hunger can make you feel. But that’s not a craving. A craving is when you don’t have a need to eat, but something sounds really good, and you want it really badly.
That’s the kind of thing that, when applied to your financial situation, can lead you to feel poor. You don’t need to have something, but you crave it, and because you don’t have it, you feel poor. All the other people have it, but I don’t. I must be poor.
By curbing your craving, by desiring less, we can avoid feeling poor, and even be happy with what we have. Throughout the world, there are people with so little we sometimes wonder how they survive. Yet somehow, they smile. Because, somehow, they don’t crave more.
Where can I apply this in my life?
One of my favorite things to discuss in this situation is tech gadgets. Does everyone else have the latest cell phone? If you don’t, do you feel poor? Do you feel disadvantaged, or even like you are second class? That is the feeling the quote is discussing, the one we’re trying to avoid.
This can be difficult, as it is an emotional response. Even so, I combat it with logic. There are tons of fancy tech toys out there which I lack. I make up for it by skipping a generation or two, or convincing myself that I don’t need it, or that I need something else more.
Most importantly, I remind myself that comparing myself to others is not a very bright thing to do. Oh, I used to do it, all the time. That person is happier than I am. That one has a nicer car. That one always eats out for lunch. The list went on and on.
Eventually I realized that I was comparing my whole life to a set of highlight reels from the best parts of other people’s lives. The person who was always going out to lunch didn’t have a nice car. The comparisons I was making were totally inappropriate. All it does is lead to cravings. And bad feelings.
One of the few emotional tricks I was able to use to curb my cravings was to choose between two things. Do I want a new cell phone, or do I want to be able to go out to lunch once or twice a week? Do I want to pay the bank for a new car, or pay the mechanic less to repair my old car?
Take a moment and consider your life, and where you have cravings. Again, not needs, and not hunger, but cravings. Do you compare yourself to others and want what they have? If you feel poor because of it, please stop. If it inspires you to work harder and find a way (legally) to get it, keep it up!
Where do you tend to have cravings? Well, besides for chocolate. For me, as always, it’s tech stuff. While I’m looking at a new phone soon, I have skipped a generation of phones (almost two) and don’t feel too badly about doing so. That’s because I never felt poor because I lacked the latest one.
What can you do to reduce your cravings? Do you have other ideas or tips? If so, feel free to leave a comment with your methods so that others may try them. Who knows, someone might leave something that works better for you than my humble suggestions.
Do you have too little, or do you simply crave too much?
From: Twitter, @miss_quotation
confirmed at : www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/luciusanna122260.html
Photo by David
- Why do we crave chocolate? (berries.com)
- I envy, you envy, he envies, we envy, they envy… (cloud511.wordpress.com)
- Jealousy and Envy: The Emotions of Comparison and Contrast (psychologytoday.com)
- The More You Crave, The More You Crave (deepercravings.com)