Everybody on Earth wants to be happier. We wake up every day and go out into the world striving to maintain a consistent level of happiness, or hopefully, to improve on the happiness we’ve already achieved in our lives.

Yet happiness used to be about having rich relationships, giving back to others, and investing in yourself to ensure you’re always improving as a person. Somewhere along the way, our culture redefined happiness as having the nicest and newest things and spending your money on objects to impress others without any real gain to yourself. We’ve handed our happiness over to the possessions we have and the possessions we want to have. Because at the end of the day, it’s always about having more. 

happiness and our possessions - having less leads to a better life

Why Having Less Leads to a Better Life

When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.

– Lao Tzu

Your time is the most valuable and finite thing you have on this earth. Think about this. When you go to work, you’re exchanging your precious time for the money you make. Then you go and buy something material with the time you spent. If your only goal is to keep buying the newest and greatest thing, your life will end up being an endless cycle of spending your time on objects.

But you can’t get time back. Is that a fulfilling way to spend the one life you were given?

Our possessions that possess us

Current credit card debt in America alone sits at $750 billion. If our first impulse was to save instead of buy, think about how much better off we could be. Instead of buying, why don’t we save? Why don’t we aim to save and invest so that eventually we can be financially free and able to spend our time however we choose?

Better yet, let us try to be simply grateful for what we already have. In no other point in human history have we had so much, and yet been so unhappy. If you wake up every day grateful for all that you do have, your desire for new things will diminish.

Waking up to happiness

I believe that we’re at a turning point in our history. New research is emerging that shows how being more materialistic correlates with lower emotional well-being. The millennial generation that increasingly makes up the world seems to understand that experiences, friendships, and memories are the cornerstone of a truly rewarding and extraordinary life. You’re fully equipped with everything you need for maximum happiness right now.

Try it out for yourself. Wake up grateful for all that you have, and resist the urge to buy useless things that you know you don’t need. Focus more on yourself and others, and not the things they have. Free yourself from your possessions and you’ll experience life through a different lens. Free yourself from the burden of belongings that aren’t important to who we really are.

Go out there and live.