Do You Have Enough Stuff Yet?

John O'Leary
February 10, 2020

John O'Leary

#1 National Bestselling Author & Speaker Expected to Die. Now Teaching Others How to Truly Live.

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.

– Socrates

"I wonder if they're happier than I was?"

This question was asked by a lady seated next to me on a flight. Judy – proudly 72 years of age – was referring to the iPhones, iPads, headsets and other devices being fought over by the two little ones in front of us. 

It got me thinking how much things have changed since I was kid… and how massive the change has been since the woman next to me was a child in the early 1950s. Consider this:

  • The average television was 10 inches, black and white, boxed in real wood. If the antenna was working, you'd get both channels. Today the average television is 47 inches. And if a show we want to watch isn't on, we can stream it.
  • The average family had one car. It had no radio, no airbags, no power steering and no seat belts. Today, we average more than two cars per family. They're jammed with safety features, navigation, concert-quality sound systems and voice-activated commands.
  • The average home size was 932 square feet. Today we enjoy an average of more than 2,700 square feet.
  • And my personal favorite is that the total number of storage units in the world was zero in 1950. Zero. If they had stuff, it was stored in the basement or given away. Today, there are more than 50,000,000 storage units! That is 50,000,000 units to enclose the stuff that doesn’t fit in our houses, even though they're three times the size!

All relevant indicators suggest we're in a far better place. We have more wealth, health and longevity than at any time in the history of civilization. Unemployment is historically low, stocks remain historically high and we enjoy historically unmatched personal freedoms.

And yet.

We have far higher cases of suicide, depression, anxiety and stress. According to a recent survey from the Pew Research Center, more than 50% of us report being pessimistic about the future. Nearly 65% consider themselves generally unhappy.

It makes you really consider Judy's question. I wonder if we're happier than she was?

As a speaker, I've traveled to some of the most luxurious properties in the world and to some of the most impoverished communities. It amazes how unhappy and miserable people can be while sipping wine at a 5-star hotel, and how utterly joy-filled people can be with absolutely nothing monetarily, but a willingness to share the little they have with one another.

Frequently, those who have the most affluence become accustomed to it and choose to celebrate so little while those with little choose to rejoice in everything. With far greater reliance on family, dependence on faith, engagement in nature and connection as a community they overflow with contentment, joy and peace.

My friends, I'm not encouraging you to quit your job. Don't sell all belongings, take off your shoes and return to the woods.

Instead, open wide your eyes to the truth that the greatest joys in life aren't purchased and aren't only for you. No, the greatest joys are free, are accepted and shared with those around you. [Click to tweet.]

Want more happiness? Crave greater joy? Desire more from your life? Me too. 

Let's start by being content with who we are, all we already have and the limitless possibility still present.

This is your day. Live Inspired.

The post Do You Have Enough Stuff Yet? appeared first on John O'Leary.

John O'Leary

Want John O'Leary for your next event?

Find out more information, including fees and availability.
Find Out More
Keep Reading
In Awe 21-Day Challenge - Day 20
John O'Leary
John O'Leary
March 30, 2020
Go back to: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day ...
What FDR Would Say Today
John O'Leary
John O'Leary
March 30, 2020
"The great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization itself is forever upward." [Click to tweet.]– ...
Live Inspired Podcast: How the Last Few Weeks Have Impacted Me (Monday Moments ep. 241)
John O'Leary
John O'Leary
March 30, 2020
On this week’s Live Inspired Podcast Monday Moment ...
In Awe 21-Day Challenge - Day 20
Go back to: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12 | Day 13 | Day 14 | Day 15 | Day 16 | Day 17 | Day 18 [Haven’t taken the IN AWE 21-Day Challenge? Join here.]Welcome to Day 19 of the IN AWE 21-Day Challenge! Today we spark inspiration, meaning and joy by choosing CREATIVITY.CHALLENGE:...
Read More
What FDR Would Say Today
"The great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization itself is forever upward." [Click to tweet.]– President Franklin D. RooseveltDuring seasons of profound uncertainty, it's reassuring to know we've endured mighty storms in the past, weathered them together, and were actually transformed for the better because of them. We recognize thi...
Read More
Live Inspired Podcast: How the Last Few Weeks Have Impacted Me (Monday Moments ep. 241)
On this week’s Live Inspired Podcast Monday Moment segment, John O’Leary shares an important message on perspective.Join me every Monday for a quick burst of inspiration on our "Monday Moment" segment.In spite of adversity, there remains reason for hope, truth and even joy.Subscribe & listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play...
Read More
Our Children are Watching
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world....
Read More
Live Inspired Podcast: Fact-Based Optimism: Why the World is Better Than We Think (ep. 238)
Gregg Easterbrook joins John O’Leary on the Live Inspired Podcast to share the research that the world is better than we think.Today I welcome back Gregg Easterbrook, New York Times bestselling author + guest on one of the most popular Live Inspired Podcast episodes of all time.When Gregg joined us in January 2019, the market, health + longevity...
Read More
Galvanized by Accountability
Coronavirus helps humanity level up."If anything matters then everything matters. Because you are important, everything you do is important. Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, my purposes are accomplished and nothi...
Read More
Live Inspired Podcast: Recognizing Greatness During COVID-19 Turmoil (Monday Moments ep. 237)
On this week’s Live Inspired Podcast Monday Moment segment, John O’Leary recognizes greatness during the COVID-19 turmoil.Join me every Monday for a quick burst of inspiration on our "Monday Moment" segment.Subscribe & listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, iHeartRadio or listen here:What week, out of any that I can remem...
Read More
JFK's Take on Coronavirus?
With ever-expanding anxiety around coronavirus, it can feel as if the end is near, there is no reason for hope and we are all doomed. Just go home, wash your hands and wait for the end.And yet, it's heartening to remember: This is far from the first time we've stewed in adversity as a nation or as a global marketplace. I wanted to share a brief ...
Read More
John O'Leary Podcast Transcription
Introduction: I'm Brian Lord and on the show today, we have John O'Leary as he shares his story of survival from a fire that left him with burns over 100 percent of his body, what legendary baseball broadcaster Jack Buck did for him and what it was like to return to the Cardinals Busch Stadium. Brian Lord: John O'Leary is a remarkable per...
Read More
2020 Take on Mom's Life-Saving Question
Don't wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don't wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills. Don't wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.– Earl ShoaffCoronavirus.Market drops.Slowing economy.Divisive, bombastic politics.Even the possibility of the Olympics being canceled.Perhaps you've read these headlines from today's news cyc...
Read More