There’s a built-in human biological need to want more. Hundreds and thousands of years ago our ancestors kept our species alive by hunting and gathering. That yearning for more got them up and away from the warm campfire every morning to go out and fish, collect nuts, make clothing and find shelter. That built-in need for more is still with us, and this drive helps us achieve some incredible things. A cure for polio, education for the least educated, clean water in places where there’s little access. At the same time, the biological need for more is getting hacked.
Now we fight against eating too much. We try to be mindful of mindless spending. We feel guilt as we clean out stuff we haven’t used in years or barely used at all. To combat consumption, trends like Minimalism are on the rise. From Project 333 to living in tiny houses, converts say that not only can they live on less they are much happier living on less. Owning less means less worry, less to maintain, less clutter which in turn means more time. More time to spend with family and friends, more time for experiences, more time to do things that feel meaningful. This is not to say that the folks who have adopted this lifestyle are paupers. They still buy things, but they focus on things that give them joy.
Full disclosure: while I love the idea of Minimalism I’m currently not a minimalist, but I have been trying to consume far less by using these new mindsets. And I am not the only one. I see this shift in my friends as well. Time is flying, and so we are asking, are we using our time on what matters?
Our need for more doesn’t limit itself to our personal life but extends into business as well. I know of few association professionals who wouldn’t want to increase membership, the annual budget, attendees to the conference, and more. More dollars means more resources which in turn means more ability to do great things. Sometimes, though, doing great things doesn’t require much more money. Sometimes what members need is a deeper relationship with the association, with us the staff, and with each other. They want connection, and we want them to connect. More than money, what we need is time.
The decision then for every day and for every 3-year time horizon, is how do we make more time? How do we focus our time on what matters most? Let’s free up time to connect with members, connect members to the association, and connect members with each other. Connecting with members may not require much more money, but it will undoubtedly require time.