55 / No Pain, No Gain

For F*ture’s Sake!

Hi, welcome to For F*ture’s Sake! A half-assed attempt to turn this filthy, stinking tanker of a civilisation around.

Last week, I wrecked my back digging a hole. I even fainted from the pain. Barely able to move, my industrious — and impressively strong — wife dragged me, lying face down on the kids’ bean bag, into the back seat of the car. She then spirited me away to A&E.

Remarkably, there’s not a bother with my back now. And, following my lazarus-like recovery, I’m back digging holes — but more importantly — writing diatribes.

So, my heartfelt apologies for the tardiness of today’s edition. I hope my excuse cuts some mustard.

Now, let’s get cracking (ooh my back)!

Reading time: 3 minutes

Part 1 - Essay


Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance. It isn’t a measure of barely enough or more than enough. Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough. – Brené Brown

At a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island, the late Kurt Vonnegut informs his pal, the author Joseph Heller, that their host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his wildly popular novel Catch 22 over its whole history. Heller responds, ‘Yes, but I have something he will never have... Enough.’

Bored and bedridden, I was reminded of this tale as I gazed longingly out the window at my trusty steed — a twelve-year old, 1.4 litre, black Toyota Corolla.

It made me wonder, since the car is so reliable and causing me no trouble, why have I been so keen to replace it? Isn’t it good enough?

Later — still bedridden (but not bored) — I picked up Thoreau’s Walden, a reflection on simple living. And as I read it, something struck me — darting back pain. But something else occurred to me too.

We are rich in proportion to the number of things which we can afford to let alone.” - Henry David Thoreau

How much is enough? I wondered.

How much success is enough? How much money? How much food, exercise, effort? How much stuff is enough?

I mean, obviously it can depend on circumstances. A large family needs more food than a single person. An adventurer needs more money than a hermit.

But in a landscape where everything seems like a hustle — and we can’t help but compare ourselves to others — the lure of more is hard to resist. And in this relentless pursuit of more, our intuition around what is enough becomes harder to hear.

In this context, enough seems like a radical idea.

But when study upon study suggests otherwise — that happiness cannot be found through the pursuit of material progress — I wonder what’s so radical about it.

Even the Dalai Lama agrees!

More is a desire, not a need — to which the law of diminishing returns can be applied.

Like drinking water when you’ve already quenched your thirst. The more you have, the less satisfying it feels.

So, instead of relentlessly optimising our private and professional lives for more, imagine how much better off we’d be, if we were so crazy as to accept we had enough already — and that we are enough too.

Bored and bedridden, I can already see this idea has saved me a lot of money. I’ve decided not to replace the car.


Part 2 - A Deeper Dive

Less stuff, more joy

Take The Jump is a UK initiative asking people to jump in the opposite direction of hyper-consumerism — to try out a new lifestyle, even for a few months.


Part 3 - Random bits

Ken Steinhoff

Thanks so much for reading. You can follow me on Twitter if you like. Take care - Scott