Just enough

September 4, 2018

A short time ago, I recognized I take pride in my ability to have "just enough".

I also recognize that I'm incredibly privileged to be able to make the choice. There are many, many people who don't have enough food, shelter, money or the opportunities to choose that for themselves; it is forced upon them.

With that in mind...

Steve Jobs sitting in his home in California (1982)
Steve Jobs sitting in his home in California (1982)

For instance: That I have just enough food at work to get me through the day. That I'm wearing just enough of the right clothes while out adventuring that I'm not too cold or not too hot; that I'm just the right temperature.

It brings me satisfaction to know that I have just enough versatility with my mountain bike to tackle many different types of trails. That I have a fishing rod sufficient enough for catching a wide variety of fish.

So yes, it turns out I unconsciously aim to avoid over-estimating; to not bring too much with me. I also naturally seek to avoid under-estimating, or not having enough that I can't make it through. I desire to find the balance in between.

What I realized is that these are all situations in which I am mostly in control (except out in nature of course, no real control there).

At my job it's different: I don't have outright control over my workload. There, I don't get to really choose how many projects are too many or too few; I just get to choose how deep I go into each one.

Steve Jobs at home (2004)
Steve Jobs at home (2004)

I also don't get to control who contacts me or asks me to help them; I only have the ability to choose how and when I respond.

In the service design work I do, I most definitely seek to create a service with just enough to it. Just enough process, just enough language and just enough interactions to allow people to use, enjoy and appreciate it.

I wouldn't call myself a minimalist, but I do appreciate the philosophy. I still find enjoyment in material possessions, but I prefer to have just enough of them rather than too many or too little.

Last Christmas, my daughter gave me a drink coaster that reads "We cannot direct the winds, but we can adjust our sails".

She said she bought it for me because I love sailing. Turns out, she was also describing how her dad wants to and should live his life.