Is it better to have more or less? This is the newest marketing ploy presented by AT&T. The commercials take place in elementary school classrooms. In one particular scene the adult asks the question, “Who thinks more is better than less?” The young girl finishes her answer with, “We want more, we want more, like, you really like it, you want more.” It’s not complicated, says AT&T, “more is better.”
Though this is a brilliant marketing tool and the commercials are adorable, I have to disagree. These marketers are capitalizing on the fact that the desire for MORE is the very thing that drives our society. However, it is also the very thing that often leaves us unfulfilled, unhappy, and wondering what happened to the enjoyable life we used to know. I would have to argue that more is NOT always better.
Here’s the tricky part. More usually feels better in the moment. It feels good and provides instant gratification but it doesn’t always last. You know the saying, “I’ll feel better when…” We’ve all said it. This is how marketers keep us coming back for the next gadget or the newest upgrade and why most Americans spend life hopping on and off the hamster wheel, running at a very fast pace, looking for more. We want more money, more technological devices, more clothes, more success, more dates, a bigger house, a fancier car, to lose more weight, and the list goes on and on, and we are never content.
However, what these marketing ploys and our society in general seem to be missing is that, at our core, human beings are relational people. We were created to relate, connect, and love one another. In the quest for more, the things that each individual person values the most get pushed aside. Leaving us with a society in which external feedback is the source of esteem. We look for affirmation from others, job promotions, more Facebook friends, or comments about how smart or impressive our kids are to fill our sense of self. The hamster wheel does not allow time for a meaningful conversation with a friend or a quiet read on a beautiful day.
Sadly, our children are being born in to a society in which the idea that “more is better” is a way of life. They won’t even have the understanding that at one point there was a society in which wanting more was not the norm. What are we to do, you ask? As parents and leaders of the younger generation, we have the opportunity to make a change and it starts by transforming our perspective and our behavior. It starts when we get off of the hamster wheel ourselves and let them follow our lead. Here’s an idea of a place to start:
- Get to know yourself again. The part of you that doesn’t need goggles and rain gear to protect you from all the debris that flies your way as you continuously spin through life. I bet that person remembers the very values that were pushed aside when society told you to jump on this wheel and leave everything behind.
- Identify the values you discover in this process. Write them down. Own them.
- Create goals that will allow you to honor these values. Pick a value that ranks at the top of your list. Identify a plan to honor that value and follow through. Example: I value the opportunity to be creative. To honor this value, I will dedicate a 2- hour period every Thursday morning to work on the poetry I love to write.
As you begin to live more congruently with your value system, your esteem will naturally build and you will find you have everything you need within yourself. You won’t need more in order to be fulfilled.