The Happiness Project

A chronicle of my attempts to test-drive every tip, principle and scientific study that promotes happiness

Are You More Drawn to Simplicity or to Abundance?

In the meantime, it got me thinking: is this a distinction?

I love dividing the world into categories. Abstainers and moderators. Radiators and drains. Leopards and alchemists. Marathoners and sprinters (formerly known as “tortoises and hares”–I like this terminology better, how about you?)

I’ve come up with a new distinction, but I’m still turning it over in my mind. I’m not sure it works out…I would love to hear your response.

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A conversation between two friends, at my children’s literature reading group meeting, inspired me to notice this.

One friend said, “I always want to feel empty,” and a friend responded, “I always want to feel full.” (They were speaking metaphorically.)

I thought this was just about the most interesting pair of remarks that I’d ever heard. I wasn’t able to pursue this conversation at the time, but I plan to.

In the meantime, it got me thinking: is this a distinction?

Does one group–I’ll call them the simplicity lovers–prefer to have less, subtraction, emptiness, bare surfaces, few choices, spare supplies–one tube of toothpaste? Does this go with a love of stillness?

And does another group–I’ll call them abundance lovers–prefer to have more, fullness, overflow, collections, many choices, ample supplies–five tubes of toothpaste? Does this go with a love of buzz?

What do you think of these two categories–agree or disagree? If it strikes a chord with you, what group do you identify with? I put myself in the simplicity lovers category.

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Gretchen Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project, a book and a blog about her adventures learning to be happier.

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