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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 Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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          Published on December 2, 2020

          6 Surefire Tips to Build Self-Confidence That Is Unstoppable

          6 Surefire Tips to Build Self-Confidence That Is Unstoppable

          Aren’t we all just supposed to “fake it till we make it“? Isn’t that the key to success, how we should build self-confidence? Millions of books proclaim this diatribe each year. We’re told to plaster on a smile, don the latest fashion, and give ourselves positive pep talks in the mirror each morning.

          If you’re anything like me, you have read hundreds of self-help books and tried to catch the confidence bug. You might have even tried to tap into your inner Tony Robbins and cover your apartment with thousands of positive post-it notes. But, after about a week of positivity, you don’t feel more confident. In many ways, you feel more confused.

          Building self-confidence isn’t a formulaic process––it’s an individual process. It has to feel right and comfortable. It should fit like sweatpants, not skinny jeans. This means that, if we want to improve ourselves, we have to know and accept ourselves.

          If you’re tired of decorating your home with inspirational quotes or adding one more self-help book to your collection, this article is for you. I’ll give you the six practical tips that you need to build self-confidence and self-acceptance. Let’s get you started on this journey.

          1. Accept Who You Are

          You will never receive enough applause or accolades that will make up for your insecurity. If you want to build self-confidence, then you need to own who you are and learn to stand up tall in your shoes before adding more accessories to your personality. After all, confidence is not about being the most decorated; it’s about being comfortable in your skin.

          If you want to build self-confidence, then you need to take the time to celebrate your distinct personality. Take a moment to learn about your strengths and your weaknesses, and be at peace with where you are––even if it’s not where you want to be.

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          Self-confidence starts with accepting yourself––your strengths, weaknesses, and even your quirks. In many ways, it requires you to embrace your entire being. In essence, it’s giving the world your whole self and asking for nothing in return.

          2. Accept That You Will Be Terrified (and That’s OK)

          We all remember spelling bees when we were kids. We would listen intently and pray that we wouldn’t forget all the letters. As we uttered our guesses, our knees knocked, our peers stared, and sweat beat down upon our brow. This moment was torture––for everyone. It was terrifying having to stand in front of our entire classroom and scramble letters in rows.

          Self-confidence isn’t a cure to fear. It’s not a unique combination of pixie dust that makes us invisible to conflict or struggle. In many ways, fear is the only way to experience self-confidence. Isn’t that great news? Okay, it’s not the most fantastic news, but it is comforting.

          Think about it. If you want to get that promotion, you have to face your fear. If you audition for the lead on Broadway, you have to belt out Aida, even if you voice cracks. All of these moments are glorious because of fear. If there was nothing to face––no barrier to climb––then you would never experience the joy of success.

          Self-confidence occurs when we embrace the fear and allow it to compel us forward.

          3. Make Peace With Your Past

          Take a moment to stand still and look back. Where you are now is not where you were––and that is a powerful thing.

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          There’s something powerful about perusing through old photographs. We might cringe over our fashion choices and laugh at our crazy hairdos. However, we also experience the nostalgia of going back in time. For better or for worse, we can’t escape our journey when trying to reach our goal.

          If you want to build self-confidence, you need to be willing to accept your past, even the parts that you want to forget. You might want to burn the negatives and forge ahead, but to move forward, you have to find peace with your past and your present.

          Self-confidence is not pretending or performing––it’s making peace with who you were, who you are, and who you will become. In many ways, it’s accepting your experiences, taking responsibility for your mistakes, and figuring out how to move forward with healthy habits.

          4. Be Happy for Others

          One of the most significant ways to build your self-confidence is to celebrate someone else and take the pressure off yourself. Bask in the excitement of a friend or a colleague.

          We all want to be happy for those around us, but it’s easy to be jealous. Sometimes popping another bottle of champagne for a friend seems like a monotonous chore.

          If you struggle to celebrate others, you’re not alone. You’re not selfish; you’re self-conscious, and there’s a big difference. It’s impossible to applaud your friends or your colleagues when you can’t even accept the person staring back at you each morning.

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          Many of us were raised in households to believe that accepting our strengths means being prideful. We learned to shy away from the spotlight and refuse credit for a job well done. There’s nothing wrong with being reserved, but if your preference for privacy projects upon those around you. You’re not humble; you’re raining on someone else’s parade.

          Allow people around you to shine, and be their biggest fan. When you lift others, you celebrate their strengths without judging their weaknesses. When we take the time to be happy for those around us, it helps us celebrate our own victories build self-confidence.

          5. Be Willing to Put in the Work

          If you’re hoping to absorb and build self-confidence through the pages of another bestseller, I have one word of advice for you: put the book down and grab those weights, run on the treadmill, or lean into that stretch.

          Here’s the deal: Self-confidence isn’t easy; it takes work. It doesn’t come in a Flintstone vitamin; it comes through sweat.

          Building self-confidence requires everyone to workout, but not everyone will be working out the same way or at the same pace. Remember, building self-confidence is not about beating the competition. It’s about accepting who you are, improving yourself, and learning to trust in your knowledge and capabilities.

          6. Don’t Let Your Childhood Scars Write Your Story

          All of us have childhood scars, but we don’t have to carry them with us as adults. Even if you had a perfect childhood, your self-confidence was influenced by your personal experience.

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          No one can claim your story, but all of us can empathize with some form of childhood struggle.

          Our childhood experiences have influenced our psyche, our self-perception, and our ability to build self-confidence[1]. However, if we’re willing to see ourselves holistically, we’ll be able to live our lives authentically. It’s important to understand your journey as much as your goal.

          Take a moment and write down everything that comes to mind when you receive compliments. Do you dismiss them? Do you base your entire self-worth on them? Write down your reactions and then process the reasoning behind your response.

          You can do this exercise with a therapist, a trusted friend, or even on your own. If you’re willing to go back in your past and address your scars, you’ll be able to have a greater understanding of yourself and not be rocked by compliments or criticisms.

          When you’re grounded in who you are, you’ll be able to experience life without fear and, ultimately, write your own story with self-confidence.

          Final Thoughts

          If you want to build self-confidence, remember that it’s a process. Don’t hurry to the finish line to get to the end of the race. If you take the time to accept yourself, fail forward, embrace the journey, and give yourself grace along the way, you’ll have everything you need to be more self-confident.

          Take today and figure out who you are and who you want to be, and don’t lose your identity in the process. If you utilize these tools, you won’t have to fake it till you make it––you can make it without losing yourself along the way.

          More Tips on Being Self-Confident

          Featured photo credit: Etty Fidele via unsplash.com

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