Finding Success While Owning Less

When we think of success, we often think of people who have amassed great popularity and own millions of dollars worth of stuff. But finding success is not so complicated. In fact, if you strive for that picture of success, you will like end up frustrated and discontent.

I’ve always made a point to live fairly simple. I’ve also been caught up in the game of ownership. Over the years, I’ve come to see that ownership can be very overrated.

Ownership Leads to Spending More Money and Time

Almost everything we own requires some kind of commitment. Ownership comes with sacrifice and responsibility. And although you may have been taught that sacrifice and responsibility are good things, they might not be so great when it comes to owning too much stuff.

Before I break things down a little more, I’d like to point out that a good portion of us who claim we own houses, cars, boats, etc., don’t really own them at all. We are in the process of paying for them. With that in mind…

  1. Houses can be debt traps: I’m not against home ownership. However, buying a house comes with a lot of excess costs. Many people buy too much house. That creates a month-to-month dilemma which often leads to overspending. Houses also require furnishings, utilities, and work. And the bigger the house, the more time and money you’ll spend.
  2. Cars are better off paid for in full: It’s so easy to buy a car on a loan these days. But car payments eat away at our bank account. Next time you’re going to buy a new car, I encourage you to consider buying something used and less expensive so that you can pay for it all at once.
  3. Credit cards usually own you: For me, owning a house often has forced me into using credit cards. When you run a little short on cash, you just swipe. And if there is any kind of unexpected major repair that comes up, you might have to spend thousands of dollars on credit.
  4. Too much stuff makes for less happiness: I don’t know about you, but I’ve discovered that I don’t really use about 50% of everything that I own. Be honest. Do you use all your stuff? However, even if I don’t use it, I still have to take care of it, pay for it, store it. It creates clutter, expense and stress. Does that sound like a good recipe for happiness? I didn’t think so.

Finding Success Might Be Easier Than You Think

So then, what is finding success? I’d say, “it’s simply living within your means while finding satisfaction with the people and activities you love.” Simple, right? Yes and no.

It is a simple idea, but it’s hard for us to wrap our heads around it. It’s also a hard thing to do when pressure from the media and our peers tells us otherwise. However, it is something anyone can accomplish. But just like those extra commitments you take on when you buy too much stuff, letting go also takes sacrifice and responsibility.

You have to be willing to really study your own habits. You need to know what’s important, what you love, and differentiate that from your wants. That’s not always easy. I know. I’ve yo-yo’d back and forth a few times over the past 20 years. However, currently, I’m on track to finding success with less.

I encourage you to consider your own life. Do you have more than you need? Are you going deeper into debt? If so, it might be time to make a few changes.

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