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Asking The Heavy Question: Quality or Quantity?

Asking The Heavy Question: Quality or Quantity?

Quality or quantity is one of the most discussed quandaries amongst us when deciding what’s more important in our lives. Whether you side with quality over quantity or vice versa, what exactly motivates us to rationalise choosing between the two?

Is it better to opt for an all-you-can-eat buffet or go to a Michelin star restaurant that serves fine dining? Is it better to spend limited time with your partner after work every day or spend the whole weekend doing something together? Is it better to have 10 pairs of cheap jeans or one pair of well-made designer jeans?

While our decisions are based on particular situations at any given moment, it’s interesting to find out how our perception of defining what is best for us has changed over time.

The Evolution of Quality vs. Quantity

Since the rise of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, consumerism and the idea of quantity over quality has increased dramatically. Suddenly, having more meant being somewhat better off and showing higher status and wealth. The creation of ‘the more the better’ way of thinking fed into the minds of the consensus and so was born the idea of quantity over quality.

This can be seen in the mindset of ‘if I have more clothes, I have more choices and people will see me as rich, popular or fashionable’. It’s also seen in the perspective of believing that the more you buy for your spouse or partner, the more it shows your love for them. In other words, the short term instant gratification of giving material items is suddenly symbolic of love. Equally, the idea of getting our money’s worth is another example of the need for quantity like going to the all-you-can-eat buffet to eat as much as you can for a smaller amount of money.

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But this narrow mindset is slowly changing with people’s views of satisfaction, and what is defined as ‘the best’ has significantly hit a turning point.

The idea of minimalism and ‘less is more’ is becoming a more common way of thinking with the value and worth of something being more important than having large quantities. Spending more money on a pair of designer jeans with emphasis on the better brand and quality now instantly means this pair of jeans is better than 10 pairs of cheap jeans. Spending $100 on a Michelin star fine dining experience may mean you get less food than the $20 all-you-can-eat buffet but the value of that fine dining experience is worth more in terms of quality.

    How Has the Quality Mindset Overtaken the Quantity Mindset?

    The increase in education and literary skills together with better peace and prosperity and, therefore, stability amongst nations has meant that the generation today aren’t focused on the need for survival. In other words, there is generally a lesser worry about food, water or shelter that past generations have had to go through. Instead, people today are more exposed to the finer things in life and have the luxury to be able to focus on this.

    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was a psychological look at human curiosity and motivation. In his theory, Maslow explains that we need to go through stages of deprivation in order to create motivation and subsequently level up. In terms of quantity and quality, acknowledging the importance of quality can only come from the experience of vast quantity and its lesser value in our lives.

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    We’ve now learnt that it’s no longer about survival (quantity) but rather how we can live well (quality).

       How Does This Impact Our Behaviours?

      The idea of quantity and quality is very situation-specific. While the idea of appreciating the concept of quality over quantity is a positive change in our society, it’s really down to our own individual preferences and what we consider best for ourselves.

      You may be someone who loves to go to the all-you-can-eat buffet because it gives you a wide variety of foods and you can eat to your heart’s content. This makes you happy and you don’t perceive it as a bad thing. Or you may be someone who loves fine dining and paying through the nose for less food because the whole experience is something that you consider ‘worth it’.

      Is it better for you to spend every day with your significant other where both of you are tired from long days at work and therefore not able to give each other undivided attention? For some, maybe, but others may feel spending a full Saturday together where you’re both rested and focusing on each other as a better option.

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      Quality and Quantity: What is the Ideal State?

      As with everything, moderation is key and this goes for the concept of quality versus quantity. The present generation are working towards a more cultivated mindset of measuring worth where quality is seen as the best option for balance and overall happiness. But it’s important to think about the circumstances in which someone find’s themselves and making the decision that best reflects that situation.

      In today’s society, peer pressure and self worth is ever more fragile due to social media and this makes it challenging for people not to play the comparison game. This means there is a conflict when it comes to certain situations around quantity and quality.

      Ideally, we ought to strike a balance of quantity and quality in different areas of our lives. The idea of quantity is good if, for example, there is a sale at the supermarket and you can stock up on needed products. Whereas, the idea of quality is positive when you spend 2 hours in a relaxing spa with your loved one and enjoying each others company rather than 2 hours every weeknight in a rushed and tired state.

        How To Strike The Best Balance

        Quality and quantity can be a very individual thing depending on what you consider your worth and value is. Only once you’ve done this can you decide which is more of a priority in any given situation. So if you feel having options is important, then quantity is good for you but if you value stability and durability then quality will carry more importance.

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        • Make a List of Your Most Important Qualities and Values: Once you’ve done this you’ll be able to see more clearly whether either quality or quantity is more aligned with your values and personal needs. Alongside this, you must also know what the sacrifices are or actions you need to take in order to achieve the quality or quantity you want. So if, for example, you value quality and want to buy that expensive watch, then ensuring you’re financially capable to do so by saving up or stop buying endless cheap watches until you have enough money to buy it.
        • Learn To Appreciate What You Have: This is an important step because playing the comparison game or feeling pressured by others can cause you stress when pursuing the idea of quality or quantity in different areas of you life. Finding out your life’s purpose and creating goals can help you find out whether quality or quantity is important to you.

        Why Finding Balance is Sometimes Hard

        If you’re struggling to know which different areas of your life involve quantity or quality, then you’re not alone.

        Often we want the best for ourselves but also the best for our loved ones which can result in conflicting notions on whether quality or quantity is more important. We may struggle giving up one thing for another – in the case of the expensive watch, sacrificing money to save up when you see affordable, cheaper watches you could potentially buy can be hard.

        However, it all comes down to priorities and being confident in your direction. Careful consideration is paramount on what your ultimate outcome is. For someone, working hard to provide the best for their family (quantity) may end up sacrificing their time with them (quality) but at the end of the day which one makes the family the most happy?

          So, think carefully about your values and ultimate outcome in each area of your life and consider whether quality or quantity is the best path in each instance. Doing this can help you plan and achieve your goals and live a happier and more content life.

          Featured photo credit: Alexandra Maria via pexels.com

          More by this author

          Anna Chui

          Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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          1 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know 2 Can You Stop Depression from Damaging Your Brain? 3 How to Practice Mindful Meditation to Calm Your Thoughts 4 10 Personal Development Goals for Success and Happiness 5 10 Things You Can Do Now to Change Your Life Forever

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          Last Updated on May 21, 2019

          Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know

          Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know

          People who have low self esteem are always hard on themselves. Sometimes they even cannot truly accept compliments because they would second guess people’s intentions.

            In this article, we’ll look into the symptoms of a low esteem person and what you can do if you find yourself having self-esteem issues.

            Symptoms of a Low Self-Esteem Person

            Common Symptoms

            • Unable to trust your own opinion
            • Always overthinking
            • Afraid to take challenges, being worried you wouldn’t overcome them
            • Hard on yourself but lenient with others
            • Frequent anxiety and emotional turmoil

            Lesser-Known Symptoms

            Being a workaholic

            At work expectations are set clearly. Even if there’s pressure in the workplace, compared to relationships or the social world where so much is unknown and uncontrollable, work is more straightforward.

            It’s easier to meet the expectations and perform well at work. Therefore, some people with low self-esteem would shift their focus to work and put all their energies there.

            Overachieving or underachieving

            Many of us have already heard that people with low self-esteem tend to be under-achievers as they’re too afraid to take new challenges and not confident enough to fully utilize their talents.

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            However, there’s another extreme. Some of them are too anxious of failure and being rejected, so they will try their very best to be outstanding to prove their worth.

            Causes of Low Self-Esteem

            Most of the time it stems from our childhood. Here’re some negative early experiences that lead to low self-esteem:[1]

            • Frequent punishment
            • Frequent neglect
            • Chronic abuse
            • Harsh parental standards
            • Being bullied/boycotted
            • Being on the receiving end of someone else’s stress or despair
            • Lack of praise, warmth and affection
            • Staying in a family or group where other members are prejudiced towards

            Childhood is when we form our “Bottom Line” and “Rules for Living” which affects the way we think, that’s why all the negative early experiences can have a very long-lasting effect on our adulthood.

            How “Bottom Line” Affects Your Self-Esteem

            “Bottom Line” is how you usually feel about something, based on your early experience. For example, “how you felt when you first left home becomes the emotional bottom line for when you leave other things in your life.”, according to therapist Robert Taibbi [2].

            When we talk about self-esteem, the bottom line is about how people around you treat you, as we grow up taking the voices of people who are significant to us. Did they say you’re adorable, or you’re always not good enough? Did they neglect you that made you feel worthless?

            That largely affects the way you view yourself and hence affect your self-esteem.

            How “Bottom Line” Determines Your “Rules for Living

            Based on the “Bottom Line”, we would form our “Rules for Living”, which are the strategies for dealing with life. For example, if you have the belief that you are always inferior to others, your Rules for Living would be “better not to speak up and to keep a low profile”.

            How Low Self-Esteem Affects Every Aspect of Your Life

            So what are the consequences of having low self-esteem?

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            It Makes You Confuse Love with Low Self-Esteem

            Having a low self-esteem, you expect people to treat you badly.

            When people are being just quite nice to you, you feel overjoyed and have unrealistically good feelings for them. This can be easily mistaken as love and also scare people away who might be just interested in being friends with you (at first).

            It Makes You Have a Lower Hand in the Relationship

            As you think your partner is too good for you, you bear things that you shouldn’t stand for.

            Sometimes you even confuse love with self-esteem. Are you giving in really because you love him/her so much or you just dare not to speak up and bargain?

            It Makes Your Employers Feel That You’re Not Talented

            People with low esteem sometimes are actually gifted. But they don’t know how to show it and “sell” themselves.

            During meeting, they keep quiet, during presentation they speak weakly, during daily conversation they say “sorry” and “maybe” too often…As a result, employers and other colleagues perceive people with low esteem as people without much talents.

            It Can Lead to Depression

            Over time, low self-esteem can lead to depression according to a study done by University of Basel researchers.[3] Psychologist Dr. Lars Madsen added that low self-esteem is “a key factor in both the development and maintenance of depression”.

            How to Improve Self-Esteem

            As we can see, low self-esteem is a deeply rooted issue and leads to lots of consequences. To solve it, it’s not an easy task, but it’s possible. The key is, to use the right ways.

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            1. Ignore All Those “Positivity” Advice

            Very often, we hear people say “Stay positive”, “Hey cheer up!”. People with depression know all these do not help. It just makes them feel worse.

            Same for low self-esteem, simply telling people “To me you’re wonderful!”, “You’re actually awesome”, “Why don’t you appreciate yourself more?”, or even worse “Hey you should be more confident” does not improve their self-esteem. Instead, they would feel inadequate or even guilty of their behavior.

            2. Focus Elsewhere

            “Healthy self esteem needs to emerge subtly.”[4]

            Same as happiness, you don’t immediately feel happier when you tell yourself to be happier. You need some concrete ways to do so like pursuing a goal that truly matters to you, like spending quality time with your loved ones.

            When you want to improve your self-esteem, don’t try too hard on thinking of ways to do so. There’s no direct way to improve it. It should be a by-product of our overall life’s satisfaction.

            According to psychologist Abraham Maslow,[5] to live a fulfilling life, you should take care the 5 levels of human basic needs. To help you understand more about this psychological model we made a video to explain it:

            Or you can refer to the graph below:

            5 Levels of Human Basic Needs

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              To focus elsewhere, we’ve summarized the above items and put them into this list for you:

              • Deep connection with loved ones
              • A healthy body
              • Sense of control
              • A meaningful life purpose
              • Recognition and respect from others
              • Sense of security
              • Creativity

              As you gradually equip yourself with the skills to fulfil the above needs, you’ll forget about self-esteem and suddenly you’ll find that you just feel proud of yourself when you know so much that others don’t.

              Resources to Help Increase Your Self Esteem

              To help you gradually build your self-esteem, here’s a list of the best self-help books that can help you fulfil the goals:

              1. How to Win Friends & Influence People
              2. Outliers: The Story of Success By Malcolm Gladwell
              3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
              4. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
              5. The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health
              6. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Busines
              7. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
              8. Thinking, Fast and Slow
              9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
              10. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

              The Bottom Line

              If you find yourself having low self-esteem, don’t be hopeless. Have faith in yourself that you can regain self-esteem and become a confident and successful person.

              How?

              Understand the root causes of your low self-esteem and overcome these causes with the advice in this article.

              Featured photo credit: Joe Gardner via unsplash.com

              Reference

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