Everyone has a list (mental or otherwise) of desires. I suspect that on some level, many people believe that their happiness depends on having what they want. I will save discussion on the validity of that belief for another day. For now, let’s just assume that it is true. The interesting thing is that having everything that you want is a shockingly simple thing to achieve. It may not surprise long-time readers that I will approach this solution using some simple mathematics.
If what a person has (H) is greater than or equal to what a person wants (W) then they will be happy ...or
So how are we to achieve this condition? The obvious method is through the attainment of the list of things you want (increasing the value of H). This is simply a matter of paying the price for those things you want, thereby converting them into things you have. To quote the book Walden…
“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”― Henry David Thoreau
So long as you are willing to do what it takes (by trading your time, energy, and resources) to get the things on your list, you can have them. The problem here is that the cost may be high, the work may be difficult, and the process may take a very long time. Thankfully, there is a second method to having everything that you want.
If we return to the idea that H must be greater to or equal than W, then the second way to achieve this should be obvious. Instead of paying the price to obtain more “haves” (increasing the value of H) you can simply endeavor to want less (reducing the value of W).
I may have promised a simple solution, but I never claimed that it would necessarily be easy. Reducing your W will likely involve examining your priorities (How important is this to me really?”) and your motivations (“Why do I want this? Is it to impress the neighbors?”) for starters. To return to pages of Walden…
“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”― Henry David Thoreau
While I have a definite admiration for those who lead a happy life of few and simple needs, I do not want to overlook the benefits of paying the price for more, when it makes sense. I believe that there are things in everyone’s life for which it is worth “paying the price”. The good news is that one does not have to choose between the solutions of having more and wanting less. There is no doubt a certain balance and equilibrium to creating the vision of one’s ideal life and doing what it takes to make it a reality. I can’t help but to conclude with one last bit of Walden wisdom…
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” ― Henry David Thoreau
Related: The Responsibility to Confront a Lie