Funny how things go sometimes... Earlier this week I got an email from my friend James Richardson suggesting that I may want to post on my blog an article he wrote on the concept of "enough". James' email landed in my mailbox at just the right time. Just a few weeks ago, I decorated the wall by my computer desk with large adhesive letters spelling the word “ASSEZ” (it means enough in French) to remind myself that I am more than enough and that I have what it takes to succeed professionally and more importantly, personally.
“Enough” is a concept that I have been meditating on for a couple of months now, ever since the phone stopped ringing and the contracts dried up. I ask myself what is enough? What is the difference between what I need to be comfortable and what I think I want? Even more interesting, what is the difference between what I feel is enough and what our consumerism culture says is enough? Is there such a thing as “too much”? Yes, definitely.
But somehow, I always end up with the fear of not being and doing enough. The paralysing feeling that I dream too big. In French Canada there is a saying that permeates our culture and our way of seeing ourselves as the permanent underdog “Que veux-tu?On est né pour un p'tit pain!” which means essentially that we were born to be small so do not hope for anymore than what you've got. I didn’t realize how much that had become part of my psyche until these last few months.
Here is James' article:
Are you often faced with the notion that you don’t have enough yet to contribute? Not enough education, not enough context, not enough experience, not enough wisdom? Do you ever wonder if you will catch up on this proverbial treadmill?
What if ‘not enough’ was ‘enough’? What if you flipped the notion on its head? Wisdom can be found in paradox.
First of all, “enough” is a relative term. Enough is always in comparison to some standard or requirement. In some cases, it is accurate and appropriate (i.e. you need to graduate med school before you have ‘enough’ education to start practising medicine…). In other cases, it is perhaps an artificially set metric where contradictions are readily visible (i.e. how much education / experience do you need in order to be a successful entrepreneur?)
Secondly, ‘enough’ in the proposition is stated as a destination, a commonly shared definition. A different perspective would be to view ‘enough’ as a journey. When you choose to go and visit a destination that you have never been to, you embark on this journey based on research (referrals, references, common knowledge) and you believe that you know enough to get going and you will know when you have arrived at the intended destination. With eyes wide open, the destination leads to new discoveries and an exciting journey that expands your horizons. The journey is the value; from the anticipation of arriving at your original destination, through to the exhilaration of exploring and experiencing something new and wondrous.
Thirdly, if you give ‘enough’ a connotation of scarcity (not enough), it is a bitter pill to swallow. Flipped on its head, “not enough” can be noble humility, accompanied by the confidence in being able to meet the challenges before you. Viewed through the lens of abundance (what you have, not what’s missing), this position of humility means that you have much to learn/experience and you always will – and that is as it should be. The confidence in the here and now means that you have worked hard at getting ready for ‘later’ and that you are always ready to be the real you. Of course you may stumble; of course you may wobble – but these are growth opportunities! Seek out the number of people that speak of their experiences where they grew the most! “When I made that mistake…” - “when I had to move on from that job…” - “when I made that blunder…” - they learned that connecting the dots happens looking back – not forward!
Humility is noble. It prepares the heart for a wondrous journey. A ready heart frees the spirit for growth and actualization. The spirit thrives and grows in motion, not in stagnant immobility. A perspective of abundance opens up possibilities. Well-considered possibilities lead to more interesting travels.
Have the courage to move forward. Know yourself and what you have to learn. Have the faith that humility, curiosity, conscientiousness and care will get you to the right place at the right time. Believe that you don’t have to take my word for it, look for your own proof in many places. This isn’t my philosophy, it’s an accumulation of observations I have made.
‘Not enough’ is ‘enough’, and I don’t think we have enough of it!