“More” is a word often associated with success. More money. More influence. More assets. More power. More friends. The struggle with using “more” as the measure is that it is rarely satisfying and never seems to be enough. We get more and still want more. Our driving desire becomes having more of what we already have. There are phrases and quotes built around “too much of a good thing”. It is the understanding that more is not always better. Sometimes it can even be bad.
It is not just having too many bad things that are dangerous. Cake is good, but too much of it is bad. That case can be made for almost everything. Too much of most things can be detrimental at some point. When things are bad it is easy to see the dangers of more. But when the thing that you want more of is not harmful or possibly even good, we struggle to see where it might bring harm. I personally value hard work. But too much hard work can have many implications, some good and some bad. So what are some places where more is not always better? Here are three times when more can have devastating effects.
When It Harms What Is Most Important
Have you ever given much thought as to what are the most important things in your life? Too often we have taken little time to prioritize what’s important only to arrive at the end of life and realize we had our priorities wrong. As I have heard said many times, there is nothing more disappointing than to climb the ladder of success only to realize you had it leaning against the wrong building. At the end of life, there are three things that usually appear at the top of people’s most important lists – health, family, and faith. One of the wisest moves we can make is to determine as early as possible the most important things in our lives and then guard them. As I mentioned earlier, I value hard work. The danger of too much hard work is that it can harm the very things we say are most important. Too much work can take a toll on our health and the time away can affect our family. I have seen too many people achieve success in their career only to leave their health and family in shambles with no way to recover either one. If more will harm what is most important in your life, learn to settle for less.
When It Distracts From What Is Most Important
There has never been a time in history when we have had more distractions surrounding us. Most of us carry a distraction factory around in our pocket; also known as your smartphone. Everything is designed to grab our attention and keep it as long as possible. Metrics are available for every app and website which reports to developers and businesses when you visited and how long you stayed. New distractions are being developed every day. More is coming, not less. Many people feel like they have to at least try to keep up so they take on more and more distractions in their life while the things that are most important suffer. We come home to our family because they are important only to be distracted by something less important or of no importance at all. We believe we have a calling or a mission but we cannot move in the right direction long enough because we are distracted. More relationships frequently distract us from important relationships. More opportunities can distract us from seeing the right opportunity. More is not always better. Sometimes more is just a distraction keeping us from what is most important.
When It Keeps Us From What Is Most Important
Each year our church hosts a leadership simulcast for leaders in our region. This is an important event for me. This year, on the same day as the simulcast, one of our local elementary schools held their annual event inviting men in the community to have breakfast with a boy in the school. I have a grandson at this school and wanted to be with him as well. I wanted to do both. Both were good; the struggle was timing. The breakfast started at 8 AM and would probably last a little past 9 AM. The simulcast started at 9 AM but there was a 15-minute drive between the two. I was determined I could do both by leaving early from the breakfast to get to the simulcast (which I was hosting) close to 9 AM. I stayed at breakfast as long as I could and left to go to the leadership event. I left my grandson alone in the cafeteria while the program continued. Because of the last-minute timing, I had to get someone to open the event for me. I missed the ending of one event and the beginning of the other because I was determined to get more in than my schedule would allow. After it was over and I had time to reflect, I wish I had prioritized a little better and scheduled someone to open the simulcast for me; simply planning to arrive late. That is what happened anyway. Then I could have stayed at the school the entire time. It was one of those times when more kept me from doing either event well. More kept me from what was most important.
Culture tells us to chase more. The problem is that when more becomes our goal, the only thing that comes next is more. It becomes a perpetual state of chasing and not appreciating or enjoying our current status. When we understand that more is often crowding out important it will help us prioritize our life. More is fine provided it does not hinder the priorities you have set for you and your family.