How Much Is Enough?

How much is enough? Guilty as charged. I’ve never fully addressed the question of - how much is enough? Most of us are caught up in the rat race - the more impressive job title and the accompanying raise in salary, the next car upgrade, the bigger house, etc. - all of the modern-day trappings. We have become accessories to our own emotional downward spiral as a result of not having answered this question.

I have been killing my body and mind for decades – relentlessly reaching for the carrot in front of me. I have never really set short-term or long-term goals when it comes to personal fulfillment. I have striven for the next best thing professionally and, in turn, monetarily.

I believe we are products of our environment and upbringing. I had a father who was a bit too zealous in his desire for his children’s success. The sentiment was there, but the delivery needed work. 

Getting a “B” in school or having a bad hockey game didn’t bring positive feedback, but rather disappointment. This continues to have a lasting effect on how I view myself and my own achievements. I never quite measure up. I need to work on this.  

Yes, I believe we should all have our “number” and “position” in life – how much money or status is enough to help us realize true happiness?


For the record, I’m not saying we should stop ourselves from striving further in life. I’m simply encouraging you (and myself) to determine how much it will take to stop the self-torture?


Melissa and I have had this discussion recently and I am putting it into practice.


I would also like to paraphrase Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs.” For the record, I don’t believe in a hierarchy when it comes to needs. I feel that needs are of equal importance. Having said that, the following are some basic needs:


  • Physiological: Food, water, and shelter. 
  • Security and Safety: Financial security, health and wellness, safety against accidents and injury.
  • Social Needs: Friendship, love, family, social and community groups.
  • Esteem Needs: Self-esteem, personal worth, prestige (be careful with these).
  • Self-actualization Needs: Achieving our full potential (be careful with this, too).


In my opinion, the last two bullet points should be considered with caution. These two points continue to be a challenge for me. Again, there is nothing wrong with striving and reaching our full potential. Just don’t drive yourself crazy in the process.  


How much is enough? Once it's answered, it frees us and actually eases the continuation of our life journey. The rest is simply “gravy.”


I encourage you to invest some time in answering this question. Take as long as you need. But be sure to address this crucial point. I believe it will bring satisfaction and peace to our lives. Isn’t that enough? ~Ted     


How Much Is Enough? YOU! Others Can Strengthen Belief in Yourself

Think back to a time when someone inspired you. It could be at a conference, in a classroom, or at a sporting event.  Maybe even a simple act of kindness.  Whatever the case, the motivation of others can strengthen belief in yourself.

I had been struggling with smoking cigarettes for ten years. I was completely hooked – smoking two packs a day. I had tried just about everything. I lived every moment thinking about my next cigarette. I felt defeated. 

The turning point for me was watching hockey great Wayne Gretzky get inducted into the hall of fame in 1999. There was something about that moment that caused a flick of the switch for me. People were cheering, Gretzky had a look of accomplishment, humility, and peace – three things I really needed in my life. I wanted to live that moment in my own parallel universe. 

I decided to be relentless in my efforts to quit smoking and sought the help of a medical doctor. It took a combination of using the patch, nicotine gum, and a prescription of Wellbutrin to finally win the battle. Side note, this approach worked for me, but seek the help of a medical professional to determine the right course of action for yourself. 

Later on in life, I was blessed by having watched the movie “Unbroken.” It’s a story about Captain Louis Zamperini, bombardier in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. After his plane experienced mechanical difficulties, he and his crew crashed into the ocean. They drifted at sea for 47 days. 

Captain Zamperini ended up in a Japanese prison camp and was tortured for two years. The best part of the movie was his brother’s quote: “If you can take it, you can make it.” Wow. He originally heard this quote from his brother while training for the Olympics. It served him well when he was being tortured. Of course, I applied this quote to every aspect of my life – especially my battle with bipolar and OCD.

I was motivated to manage and overcome nicotine addiction and mental pain because of these inspirations. 

From whom do you draw motivation to believe in yourself?

You have likely read books about famous people who you admired. These often show you what they had to go through to become successful. They share their painful experiences and all of the challenges they faced to achieve their goals.  

Perhaps one day, you may be fortunate enough to meet such people.

It’s great that others can strengthen belief in yourself. However, I caution you not to place them on too high a pedestal. Doing so can feed the doubt about yourself. You may start to believe these people have abilities that you don’t possess. Though their challenges may be different from yours, they all had to summon inspiration from someone or somewhere, just like you.  

Additionally, at some point you must take action and follow through with your plan. 

You never know, others may be coming to you one day saying how you helped motivate them to simply believe in themselves. How much is enough? YOU are enough! ~Ted

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