More Is Always Better. Or Is It?

More is better.

Is that true?

When I think of the concept of “more,” I sometimes imagine a slick, second-rate Elvis trying to sell me an extended warranty on electronic equipment. Or a pimply teenager offering to upgrade my fries to super-size for just a quarter. Their message: “More is definitely better.”

The other side of my noggin houses a sage old man who looks a lot like the guy who sold Gizmo to Peter’s dad in Gremlins. He hears the offers of the first two clowns and defiantly bellows, “More is not better.” Followed up by the Yoda-sounding, “Less is more.”

Is less really more? Or is it less? What’s really better, less or more?

The answer, of course, depends on what you’re talking about.

More money. More opportunity. More love. In these cases, more is better.

More debt. More clutter. More Gremlins that have eaten after midnight. Now we’re talking about more being much, MUCH worse.

Seems pretty straightforward. But the trick is that we can chase more of something without realizing what we’ll really end up with more of. Sometimes a quest for more of something we want leads to more of something else we don’t want.

Let me explain.

We might desire more money to provide for a more stable living for our family. Not a bad thing at all. But that quest for more money might require more hours worked, resulting in more stress, more health problems, more doctor bills. Ultimately, this all leads to less time spent with family. Another case where less is probably not more (depending on your family, of course.)

I know parents who want more opportunities for their children, eagerly signing them up for more activities that will make them more well-rounded and their record more appealing to more universities. Meanwhile, the kid grows more resentful, more stressed, spends more time away from home and is influenced by more people other than Mom and Dad.

Not so straightforward after all.

Sometimes more is better. Sometimes more is not. This balancing act is a tricky game and not a easy as I wish it was.

My only advice is that in your quest for more (whatever that is), take a few steps back to see if it might leave you with much less than you bargained for.

P.S. What do you think of the Gremlin art? One of my initiatives for this year is to create more custom art for my articles. I do have a degree in illustration, after all, so I figured I should put it to better use. I must say, painting Stripe was a real treat.

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  1. For a while now, I’ve actually been focusing on “less”. Specifically, less stress, less busyness, less clutter, less obligation, less paperwork, fewer tasks, fewer projects, etc. What I’ve found is that making life simpler allows more space for the important stuff – time with family and friends, fun, great health, being present, creating memorable moments, etc. It’s been very interesting (and awesome) to see the change.

    PS. Love the Gremlin art! You should definitely do more custom art.

    • Ahh, less. An excellent example of less really being more. Good for you Sami. It really is amazing how much more richness we can get out of life when we have the courage to focus on “less.”

  2. Jennifer says:

    Your artwork is A+ and complements your A+ articles. Well done.

  3. I really, really like your Gremlin. Funny, I’d never thought of Gremlins as cute but yours has a sweet face. He almost looks like he’s getting ready to say something fun.

    And for the record, more fries is actually better.

    • He’s either ready to say something fun or eat your face.

      Open to interpretation, I guess. :)

  4. Shirley says:

    Love the artwork Jason! Keep up the good work.

    Also I loved using Gremlins as a fun example of why we don’t always want more. (Gave me a good chuckle remembering that ol’ movie.)

    Love these ideas on slowing down, doing less and relaxing. When you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed you tend to forget these things. Thanks for the lesson.

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