Questioning What is Enough

What Is Enough?

“Enough” is an often-used word in our language. It reflects adequacy — from insufficiency to exaggeration — of the subject that is the focus of attention, including people, places, things, and ideas. It can describe quantity or quality, depending on the subject or object. The relationship to the subject often determines the perception of what is “enough.”

How Am I?

You, of course, have opinions about your own and others’ adequacies and inadequacies. Such opinions can enhance relationships, although they more often detract from them. Can you imagine how your relationships might be changed if you showed up to interact with another without any opinions about your own or the other’s adequacy? Consider that for a moment.

It is common for people to believe in their own inadequacies. I often hear a person say (audibly or inaudibly), “I am not _______ enough.” Anything might go into that blank: short, tall, young, old, beautiful, slim. A variation is “I do not have enough ______.” Often people measure themselves against external criteria to decide if they are (or are not) enough or have (or do not have) enough. Consider how your own life would be if you believed in your magnificence without measurements.

How Do You Feel About It?

The key to whether or not an adequacy or inadequacy is a driver for you is how you feel about it. If you do not have enough skills to do a job that is of no interest to you, you will not generate many feelings, positive or negative. If you do not have enough skills to do a job that is of major interest to you, you will have strong feelings. Those feelings may prompt you into action or lead you to a path of despair or disappointment. Actually, the possibilities are too numerous to mention. How you feel about your own magnificence is often the key to open the door to happiness and prosperity.

How Much Is Enough?

Recently I attended a scientific lecture. A question came from the audience, “How much is required?” The scientist answered the question with a single word, “Enough.” The respectful audience allowed him the silence that made his point even more profoundly. Some of us giggled in appreciation while others seemed ready to push for more specific, measurable information. He expanded his answer, “Enough to be effective. Not too much, not too little. Enough.” Then most in the audience could appreciate what he was saying, and were able to let go of having a “rule” to write down in their notes.

Understanding “enough” as a principle allows you to use/have/be amounts or qualities that are different from others, and still be effective or feel satisfied and valuable. You know how much is enough by how you feel.

When Is Enough, Enough?

Years ago when I began my career helping people in groups, I noticed a dynamic of rehashing a decision that a group had already made. As a facilitator not emotionally involved in the content, I could easily view and recognize when enough was enough. This is sometimes more difficult when you are actively engaged in the discussion. Another variation on this question is: “Are we done yet?” Sometimes you just need to claim that you have had enough or that you are complete. It can be gentle or jolting. Many of us can certainly recall a parent’s or teacher’s voice, louder than usual, saying firmly as a euphemism for stop, “Enough!” So, in that case, enough is enough when the one in authority says it is.

What Is Your Question About Enough?

Today, consider what question you want to explore about being, having, or doing enough. Often I find that having a good question is more important than having a good answer. What is your question?