All our interactions with capitalism fetishize more.
More stuff, more wealth, more hours, more choice.
The problem with more is that at some point, there won’t be any. More,
But we still predominantly focus on it. Particularly at work or in business. More clients, more turnover, more sales, more footfall, more staff, more money, more hours, more work, more productivity.
The relentless hamster wheel of more… until what? When does it end?
In 1972 – Limits to Growth was published. It was widely mocked at the
time for being a doomsday fantasy.
Its central point was this, the earth is finite, resources are finite and unchecked growth in the economy, population and material possessions would ultimately result in one almighty crash.
Now, call me a doomsday fantasist if you like – but this is my vibe. And I
think it applies on a day-to-day in my own business micro level as well as
on a global, governmental responsibility macro level.
In his book, Company of One (which, incidentally, isn’t just about flying
solo, but a mentality that can apply to all companies) Paul Jarvis talks
about setting upper limits for turnover and profit.
What if, instead of continuously increasing targets year-on-year we set a
target that we would not exceed. Based on sustainability, resource, our
own (and our employees) health and wellbeing and of course, our
outgoings as a business.
Take Crystallised for example, we’re a micro business (definition: less
than 9 employees, turnover below £632,000) – since starting the
business in 2013, all of my business mentoring, education and training has focused on growth.
What’s the plan to get to £500,000? And £1,000,000?
When is the next hire? In what timeframe will the team size double?
When will you set up a second office in London?
But we never talk about what is enough?
What is enough so that:
- everyone is paid well and in proportion to cost of living
- suppliers are paid on time
- clients / customers are thrilled
- expenses are covered
- taxes are paid
- every person is rested, cared for, taking their holiday, and fulfilled
by their contribution
- negative impact on the environment is minimised
- positive impact on our community is maximised
These are the questions that are increasingly shaping my decision
making and will direct the work Crystallised does over the coming months
Enough isn’t a compromise, or a failure. Enough is not the enemy of
innovation or invention. On the contrary, enough requires smart thinking,
creative approaches, and new solutions to old problems.
Enough is sustainable, not just for the business, but for the economy, the
industry, the profession, people! Enough is space, to do an incredible job
and not burnout while doing it. Enough is being able to work a 4-day
week and have a team of people who are rested and raring to go.
If your business strategy was ‘enough’, what would you stop doing? What
would you keep doing?
The challenge for me is, unlearning all those behaviours that tell us more
equals success, more demonstrates my success, more is better.
Things I’ve read that shaped my opinions on this:
Limits to Growth, The Club of Rome
The Fallacy of Endless Growth, Pacific Standard
Company of One, Paul Jarvis
The Molecule of More, Daniel Z. Lieberman and Michael E. Long
I talked a little about the idea of enough on the Inspiration North podcast.