Are You More Drawn to Simplicity or to Abundance?

Zen GardenI 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.

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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About Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin is the author of several books, including the New York Times bestsellers, Happier at Home and The Happiness Project. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness. Gretchen has emerged as one of the most thought-provoking and influential writers on happiness to have emerged from the recent explosion of interest in the subject. Though her conclusions are sometimes counter-intuitive—for example, she finds that true simplicity is far from simple to attain, and that used rightly, money can do a lot to buy happiness—her insights resonate with readers of all backgrounds.