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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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          Last Updated on July 12, 2019

          13 Simple Habits to Cultivate Self-Compassion

          13 Simple Habits to Cultivate Self-Compassion

          Self compassion is the purest form of self-love. Be real with yourself… are you practicing it everyday?

          Unfortunately, self-compassion is a foreign concept to a lot of people. We’ve all experienced moments in life when we feel discouraged, rejected or less than. When this happens, a lot of people spend more time and energy tearing themselves down instead of lifting themselves up.

          Can you relate?

          If you don’t show yourself love, you cannot expect others to show you love either. It’s that simple.

          The problem lies in peoples’ misunderstanding of what self-compassion is.

          Being self compassionate doesn’t mean that someone is selfish or arrogant. Research proves quite the opposite. Psychologist Kristin Neff was the first person to measure and operationally define the term “self-compassion.” She describes it as “kindness toward the self, which entails being gentle, supportive, and understanding.[1]

          Simply put, self-compassion is about giving the same kindness to yourself that you so freely give to everyone else.

          When you get knocked down by life, I believe that self-compassion is the fire that helps you build resilience and rise above your circumstances.

          Psychologists are finding that self-compassion may be the most important life skill, imparting resilience, courage, energy and creativity.[2]

          The question is… if self-compassion is so good for us, then why is it such a hard sell for so many people?

          When you decide to open yourself to self compassion, you also open your heart. This can be both a beautiful and painful process, depending on the types of wounds that you carry.

          Self compassion is an inside job, meaning that it’s up to you to learn how to honor and be accepting of your imperfections. Perfect is a lie that we’ve been sold by society. Nobody is perfect and that’s okay.

          If you think all of the work that you’re doing is supposed to produce a PERFECT result, it’s time to give up that story. It’s your flaws and imperfections that make you beautiful.

          Once you’ve learned how to fully embrace self compassion, you begin to see yourself and the world differently.

          No matter how tough it may seem to turn it around, here are 13 simple habits that you can incorporate into your daily life that will help you cultivate more self-compassion.

          1. Re-Evaluate Your Self-Talk

          Self-talk is something that we all do throughout the day. Do you talk yourself up or put yourself down? I know that I can be my own worst critic at times. This shame-based self-image has negatively affected many of my past choices in life.

          One of the best ways to transition away from negative self-talk is to actively developing self-compassion.

          Would you talk to yourself like you would to your best friend? If the answer is no, it’s time to shift your self-talk to one that is more empowering.

          Positive self-talk has been linked with health benefits including greater life satisfaction, increased vitality, and less stress, among other things.[3]

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          Work towards recognizing when you’re participating in negative self-talk and make an effort to change your internal dialogue. Instead of focusing on the negative, celebrate yourself and how far you’ve come.

          2. Forgive Yourself

          What are you continuing to punish yourself for? I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to carry around this painful emotional state for one day longer.

          When you hold onto guilt like a double-edged sword, it is impossible to move forward in life. The answer is to forgive yourself.

          Mistakes happen. It’s okay. Self-forgiveness requires that you be gentle with yourself.

          More importantly, always remember that mistakes are simply a part of being human. It’s how you learn, grow and become more.

          In the words of Melanie Koulouris,

          “There is no sense in punishing your future for the mistakes of your past. Forgive yourself, grow from it, and then let it go.”

          3. Date Yourself

          Have you ever held back from doing something because you couldn’t find anyone to do it with you? I like to take myself out on dates on a regular basis.

          If you think you need someone else to have a good time, you’re wrong. Spending quality time alone is one of the best ways to connect with and deepen your relationship with yourself.

          If you’ve been accustomed to being around people all of the time, spending time alone will be an adjustment.

          Yes, it will feel uncomfortable at first, but that just means you’re doing something right.

          By nature, we are social creatures. However, research is showing that solitude is just as importance as connection with others.[4] The ability to tolerate alone time has been linked to increased happiness, better life satisfaction, and improved stress management: When You Start to Enjoy Being Alone, These 10 Things Will Happen

          The relationship that you have with yourself is the most important relationship that you will ever have so it’s critical that you nurture it.

          4. Embrace Failure

          Do you ruminate on your failures instead of celebrate your strengths? If so, you’re not alone. Research shows that our innate negativity bias drives us to attend far more to our failures and dwell on our deficiencies.[5]

          We’ve all failed at something, and chances are that we’re all going to fail many more times throughout our lives. However, some people allow their failures to define who they are, to the point where they stay stuck in one place.

          A little self-compassion can go a long way. In my experience, I’ve learned that knowledge always comes at a price.

          If you don’t try and experiment with new things, you’ll never know what you are capable of achieving. Take it from Thomas Edison who once said,

          “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

          If you aren’t willing to do what most won’t do, you will never fulfil your true potential. It’s just a fact.

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          The next time that you fail at something, replace suffering with kindness. Evaluate what went wrong, celebrate what you did right, and learn from your mistakes.

          Where there is no growth, there is only stale and stuck energy. In my opinion, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. However, if can learn how to navigate your way through the mess of life with grace and ease, you’re winning.

          5. Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude

          When nothing is going right in life, it’s easy to get down yourself, or to blame the world for your problems. However, what would happen if you saw everything as a gift, even the worst of things? Hear me out.

          Your mindset determines your reality. If you have a negative outlook and believe that the world is out to get you, you will attract that energy into your life. Conversely, if you believe that the Universe wants you to thrive, it will be much easier for your to find the resources that are needed in order to achieve your goals.

          Adopting an attitude of gratitude allows you to reshape your life in a way that makes you happier and more fulfilled. Not only will you feel more thankful for the people in your life, but also for yourself and how far you’ve come.

          Gratitude is the channel through which you are able to experience a greater degree of compassion, both for yourself, others and the world at large.

          What are you grateful for? Here’re 32 Things You Should Be Grateful For. Feel into it and remind yourself of it everyday.

          6. Surround Yourself with Positive People

          You become who you surround yourself with, which is why you must choose your people wisely.

          Do your friends put you down or lift you up? If it’s the former, I hate to break it to you, but it’s time to find new friends.

          If you surround yourself with people who bring out the worst in you, your life will follow suit.

          Only spend time with people who see the best in you and who encourage you to live your best life. Your success in life depends on it. At the same time, show up as a compassionate friend to others.

          7. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

          To whom do you compare yourself to? Social comparison is the tendency to evaluate yourself against others. We all do this from time to time.

          However, not all of us know the negative effects that it has on our emotional and mental well-being.

          Research shows that habitual negative social comparisons can cause a person to experience greater stress, anxiety, depression, and make self-defeating choices.[6] Social media has made it far too easy to spend more time obsessing about other peoples’ lives and less about our own. This is a recipe for disaster when it comes to building your self-worth.

          When you compare yourself to others, you allow that negative voice inside of your head to say that you aren’t good enough. This only reinforces your negative self-talk that others are better than you, which is far from true. The more you compare yourself to others, the more you lose yourself.

          Don’t get lost in comparing yourself to others. Focus on your innate talents and let them shine.

          8. Do a Digital Detox

          Do you have an unhealthy relationship with technology? The digital world has proven to be a gift and a curse for many of us. It has both connected and disconnected us from each other and from ourselves.

          A digital detox is a great way to get back to the present moment where life actually exists.

          By taking some time away from social media, it will give you more opportunities to spend time doing things that you love. More importantly, it will allow you to reconnect with yourself.

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          The next time that you feel the need to get online, step back and ask yourself – “What is happening right now inside of me that is making me want to distract myself?”

          9. Recite Daily Affirmations

          Your thoughts create your reality. This is why you need to condition your mindset everyday by reciting empowering and uplifting affirmations.

          The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a part of our brain that makes words that get repeated over time as part of our identity, positive or negative.[7] Therefore, when you repeat something positive to yourself everyday, overtime it becomes a part of who you are.

          I have been able to completely eradicate some of my limiting beliefs purely by making affirmations an integral part of my morning routine.

          More importantly, I have been able to replace my fears with confidence, just by training my brain to think positively about everything in my life.

          All you need to do is pick a phrase and repeat it. Here are a few to get you started:

          I am worthy

          I am successful

          I am loved

          I am abundant

          And more here: 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life

          10. Play More

          When is the last time you really threw your hair back and did something fun? It’s so easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of work and life. When you are immersed in the head space of constantly “doing,” it’s easy to forget the value of just “being.”

          This is why I believe it’s so important to make play an integral part of your life. If you don’t, you risk taking life too seriously, or worse, falling into burnout.

          Remind yourself that it’s okay to let loose sometimes. It’s called celebrating yourself! People don’t think twice why children love to play so much, and neither should adults.

          Playing has been found to induce the release of endorphins, which are your body’s own feel-good chemicals that promote a sense of well-being and help provide some pain relief.[8]

          It can be as simple as going to a dance class or spending a weekend away on your own doing whatever YOU want.

          11. Try Something New

          Routines are great, but when you’re stuck in them, you are less likely to try new things. When was the last time that you stepped outside of your comfort zone and did something that was out of the ordinary for you?

          Most people wake up at the same time everyday, drink the same coffee, eat the same breakfast, and go out with the same people.

          No wonder people feel stagnant. They have settled for a life of what I like to call, “sameness.”

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          If this way of life floats your boat, all good! However, if you are craving some excitement and energy, it’s time to change the game and engage in some new experiences.

          The more things you try, the more chances you have to create newfound passions.

          12. Say “No” More Often

          With endless to-do lists and responsibilities, finding time for self-care can feel like a luxury instead of a priority for many people.

          How often do you say “no” to things that you don’t want to do?

          If it’s quite often, awesome! If it’s rarely ever, join the people-pleasing club. I fall into this trap a lot because I have a desire to help people. However, sometimes I do things for people at the expense of my own well-being.

          Appreciating your need for “you time” is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Agreeing to things just because you’re afraid to say “no” isn’t supportive of your needs.

          Don’t forget that you don’t need to justify why you choose to say “no” in the first place. Your life. Your choices.

          If saying no is a great challenge for you, take a look at Leo Babauta’s advice: The Gentle Art of Saying No

          13. Create 2 Self-Love Ritual

          Self-love is just like a muscle. If you don’t flex it, it weakens. The very act of engaging in self-love practices is a form of self compassion in and of itself.

          It’s easily overlooked how rewarding it can be to spend some time every day nurturing yourself. Whether it’s meditating, taking a long bath, taking a walk in nature, or journaling, find a routine that allows you to connect with yourself on a deeper level.

          If you don’t take the time to fill yourself up, you cannot expect to go out into the world and give to others.

          Make yourself a priority. You deserve it.

          Final Thoughts

          Self compassion is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. Throughout this wild ride that we call life, remember to be kind to yourself.

          You’re doing the best that you can with what you have. We all are. You can’t really ask anything more of yourself.

          In the words of Christopher Germer,

          “A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.”

          How will you celebrate yourself today?

          Featured photo credit: Paige Cody via unsplash.com

          Reference

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