The Fulfillment Curve

November 25, 2014

It’s well documented that spending on basic necessities gives us lots of fulfillment, and spending on creature comforts gives us some added fulfillment.

But beyond that, the more we spend, the less fulfillment we get. In fact, we actually reach a point where our happiness peaks – and spending beyond that point clutters our lives and makes us less happy. That peak point is called ‘enough’ – check it out in this illustration:

Fulfillment Curve

Most subscribers to this newsletter are, like me, blessed to be living in a land of plenty – and are probably, like me, beyond ‘enough’ when it comes to stuff. Consumerism may be good for our economy, but it contributes to resource depletion, climate change and other environmental challenges. Perhaps worse, consumerism has led us to worship stuff: it seems the more we have, the better. The cost has been an erosion of our spirituality, our relationships and our sense of community.

Perhaps there is a better way – one that involves pondering our own interpretation of what’s ‘enough’.

A sustainability thought on the threshold of Black Friday and the coming Christmas shopping frenzy. (Check out Buy Nothing Day,, the countermovement now present in more than 65 countries.)

Thanks to for the illustration.


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