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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Retirement Redesigned

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The Power of Enough

This post is a duplication of our newsletter, The Weekly Reset, where we review a key theme each week. In the spotlight this week: The Power of Enough. Do you feel like you are constantly searching for more? Or are you content with what you have?

A note from Johann

Can we stop wanting more?

The power is in knowing you have enough

It’s hard to stop ourselves. Throughout life, we are socialised into thinking that more and more material wealth is a mark of our success. And for much of our lives, it is. We work to provide for our families and that provision manifests as material things.

And then it becomes a cycle. We desire more and more stuff, more and more of everything that we think will give us satisfaction and joy. We work hard to make more money to afford bigger and better houses, cars, smarter clothes and ever more impressive gadgets. Our list of wants and desires can become endless. All of this is understandable and, given the value systems we have grown up in, perhaps not surprising.

The question is if this never-ending acquisitive cycle will be satisfying for the rest of our days. Personal satisfaction is one thing, but I also see the damage that our materialism is doing to the planet and to the mental health of people all around me. If we decide we want to change our relationship with materialism, how do we break the habit of constantly wanting more?

Changing a habit is hard. James Clear, in his best-selling book “Atomic Habits” says one way to break a habit is to remove the cue that leads to it. He also says to change the environment that produced the habit. This means that simply going to a mall to stroll around even when you don’t need anything is a trigger for the habit. Just by seeing the shiny new gadgets, clothes and housewares, we inadvertently trick ourselves into thinking we need these things.

Instead of taking yourself to a place of unhealthy triggers, direct your entertainment needs to outdoor activities or elsewhere. Anywhere other than a place that will fuel your desire for more. We can cancel the catalogues and delete the apps for online purchases which make buying so accessible. Removing the stimulus is one thing, but we also need to look more carefully at what we have, why we have it, and how our needs are met by what we already have. We need to understand that we already have enough.

Start experiencing the pleasure of feeling what Marie Kondo says in her various books (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up) about the uncluttered life and a minimalistic mantra for your home environment. Jordan Peterson, on the same subject, says in his book “The 12 Lessons for Life” that tidying your own room will set your life straight.

All of this can help you experience the wonderfully satisfying sense that you already have your needs met. It is a liberating feeling.


Our top pick this week:

The Diderot Effect: Why We Want Things We Don’t Need — And What to Do About It

Oil painting photo of man sitting
Image as featured in original blog post

“The Diderot Effect states that obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption which leads you to acquire more new things. As a result, we end up buying things that our previous selves never needed to feel happy or fulfilled.

Life has a natural tendency to become filled with more. We are rarely looking to downgrade, to simplify, to eliminate, to reduce. Our natural inclination is always to accumulate, to add, to upgrade, and to build upon.

In the words of sociology professor Juliet Schor, “the pressure to upgrade our stock of stuff is relentlessly unidirectional, always ascending.”

The Diderot Effect tells us that your life is only going to have more things fighting to get in it, so you need to to understand how to curate, eliminate, and focus on the things that matter.

Reduce exposure. Nearly every habit is initiated by a trigger or cue. One of the quickest ways to reduce the power of the Diderot Effect is to avoid the habit triggers that cause it in the first place.

Buy items that fit your current system. You don’t have to start from scratch each time you buy something new.

Set self-imposed limits. Live a carefully constrained life by creating limitations for you to operate within.

Buy One, Give One. Each time you make a new purchase, give something away.

Go one month without buying something new. Don’t allow yourself to buy any new items for one month.

Let go of wanting things. Realize that wanting is just an option your mind provides, not an order you have to follow.

Click here to read the whole article on the James Clear Blog

Our Spotlight video:

The Power of Enough

Every week we highlight a topic relevant to retirement and our third chapter of life. This week our spotlight was on the power of enough. Have you experienced the power of enough? Did you know that by controlling our desires we can take charge of our sense of wealth and fulfilment?

Click play to watch our spotlight video of the week

Spotlight of the week

Other highlights for the week:

Redefining Rich: How Minimalism Leads to a More Meaningful Life

A family in an open field
Image as featured in original blog post

Two year ago this weekend, my mind spun with the concept of what it meant to be rich.I knew the world’s definition well. The more stuff we acquired, the more weighed down I felt.

From the outside, my life looked full. And it was, but not with the right stuff. Meaning and joy were being steamrolled by aspirations for more and by misaligned attachments.

Then my ah-ha moment came. Being rich, I realized, has little to do with financial wealth and everything to do with building a life that is full of what makes you come alive. Of making space in your life for what matters.

“Was I rich in what matters?” I asked myself that day. Quality time with my family, silent moments in prayer, beauty, peace, joy.

Through radically simplifying my life—internally and externally—I’ve redefined the word rich, realizing the things I value most are often intangible.

Here are 5 riches I’ve found you gain by living with less:

  1. Stronger, “tuned in” relationships
    Living with less will help you tune into your relationships.
  2. White space
    With fewer possessions and commitments, margins surface. You suddenly have white space in your life, which you can now choose how to fill.
  3. Spiritual growth
    Simplicity nourishes your soul. It gives you space and time to go inward and learn who you really are.
  4. Reflection
    With more time to process the events of each day, you begin to see more purpose behind things that happen.
  5. Creativity
    A minimalist lifestyle leaves more space for creativity. When your first impulse no longer is to buy something new, problem-solving can require more outside-the-box thinking.

Click here to read the article on No Sidebar

Weekly Poll

This week’s poll: On our health after retirement
Option A: I’ll manage my health as best I can.
Option B: I can get healthier after retirement.

Click here to answer the question in our Facebook group

Last week’s poll: On what brings you joy
Option A: My happiness comes from getting the things I yearn for
Option B: I am satisfied by what I already have.

Last week’s finding:
60% responded – I am satisfied by what I already have.

60% image
60% Image

Most Popular Post of the Week

Stop Accumulating Stuff And Start Accumulating Experiences

Click here to read the article on Fast Company

Most Popular Quote of the Week

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” Marcus Aurelius

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quote by marcus aurelius with photo of man sitting on a bench in front of the ocean
Quote by Marcus Aurelius

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Johann is the founding partner of Reset Retirement where we focus on assisting people with planning for the non-financial aspects of their lives after full-time work. He had a long career in executive search and leadership as the founding partner and chairman of Heidrick & Struggles in South Africa where he was the head of the company’s board practice.