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Last Updated on February 28, 2018

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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          Published on November 19, 2018

          How to Live up to Your Full Potential and Succeed in Life

          How to Live up to Your Full Potential and Succeed in Life

          Have you ever heard the phrase “He had so much potential, it’s a shame he wasted it.” In our culture, not living up to your full potential is frowned upon, but why?

          In this article, we will look into the factors that influence a person’s potential and the ways to help you live up to your full potential for a successful life.

          What Determines a Person’s Potential?

          A person’s potential is determined by several factors: Physical Security, Emotional Security, Environment and Mindset.

          Physical Security

          Before we can even strive to fulfill our potential, our basic physical needs must be met. Without adequate food, water and shelter, our days must be spent acquiring these basic needs in order to survive.

          You can think of it this way, the person with the potential to become the most brilliant computer programmer ever could be living right now with a nomadic tribe in sub-Saharan Africa. But because they must spend their days meeting these basic physical needs, that potential will remain untapped.

          Emotional Security

          Humans are social animals, we don’t do well in isolation. Studies have shown that forming intimate bonds with others is incredibly important for our mental health. These bonds start to develop in infancy, babies rely on this bond with a parent or caretaker to fulfill their needs, and if the bond is missing for some reason it can have lifelong psychological consequences.

          Environment

          Your environment is another important factor that shapes how you achieve your full potential.

          Just like the computer programmer in the previous example. You could have the potential to be the greatest composer since Beethoven, but if you had no access to music or you came from a family that didn’t value that skill set, it’s unlikely that you would fulfill your potential in that area.

          Mindset

          For most of us, we don’t have to worry about getting enough food, water or shelter. Both our physical and emotional needs have been met (to a large extent anyway). And any limits that our environment has imposed are minimal (especially with the availability of the internet).

          So for most of us, the main thing that is limiting us from reaching our full potential is our mindset. Our mindset is the story we carry around with us in our head. It starts to develop in childhood and can be with us our entire life.

          Your Mindset Is the Key

          The problem with most people’s mindset is that it’s negative and limiting. The good news is that you can change your mindset. Author Carol Dweck in her best selling book Mindset points out that there are two types of mindsets: fixed and growth.

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          A Fixed Mindset

          A fixed mindset is one where you have concrete beliefs about yourself. Someone with a fixed mindset came up with “their story” in childhood and it hasn’t changes much over the years. They may believe that they aren’t good at public speaking, math or writing just because they struggled with those subjects in school.

          So when something goes wrong, a common thought for someone with a fixed mindset is “What an idiot, I knew I wasn’t any good at that.” Or “Well that just confirmed what I already knew, I won’t be doing that again”. Having a fixed mindset just reinforces negative thoughts and attitudes, making it harder to reach your full potential.

          A Growth Mindset

          A growth mindset, on the other hand, is exactly the opposite. With a growth mindset, you believe anything is possible (but don’t confuse this with being delusional! As a 5’10” 54 year old I’m not going to play in the NBA!). It’s more of the way you think about and approach problems.

          Let’s go back to the issue of not being good at public speaking, when things go wrong, instead of telling yourself that you have never been good at public speaking and never will be. A person with a growth mindset will analyze what went wrong and come up with solutions to make it better next time.

          For instance, they may take a class on public speaking at their local community college, or join the Toastmaster’s organization. Whatever it is, they don’t look at failure as an insurmountable roadblock, rather a minor detour on the road to their destination.

          How to Live up to Your Full Potential and Succeed in Life

          1. Develop a goal

          When setting goals, it’s important to keep in mind three things:

          First, they should be specific and not vague. So instead of saying “I want to live up to my full potential in life”, a more specific goal would be “I want to become the best (salesman, artist, internet marketer) that I can be.” This is a much more specific goal.

          Second, your goal should be measurable. In other words, you should be able to measure your progress towards the goal. Again, it’s much easier to measure your progress to becoming the best artist you can be than it is trying to measure your progress at living up to your “full potential”.

          Finally, a goal must be written down. This takes the goal out of the realm of wishful thinking and makes it more real. It also can serve as motivation if you post your goal where you will see it. Put it on your desk, or next to your computer just to remind yourself to keep moving forward. In short, a goal that isn’t written down is just a wish.

          This article can help you about setting personal goals to become a great achiever:

          How Setting Personal Goals Makes You a Greater Achiever

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          2. Understand that achieving your goal is often times a by-product of what you are doing

          Let’s say that your goal is to become the best writer you can be. You may want to measure your success by your ability to get published or in the case of blogging, how widely read your articles are.

          Instead of constantly worrying about reaching your goal to be the best, your time is much better spent just writing. As with anything, the more you do it, the better you’ll get.

          It’s the same with any goal, it’s important to set them, but achieving your goal of becoming the best salesperson is really just the by-product of you getting out there and selling!

          3. Don’t let popular opinion dissuade you

          Have you ever heard of the Bannister Effect? For years it was considered a law of nature that the human body was incapable of running a mile in less than 4 minutes. That was until May 6, 1954 when Roger Bannister ran a mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. He did what was long considered impossible, but it turned out that it was only impossible because people believed it was impossible.

          Roger Bannister didn’t let popular opinion stand in his way, and after he proved that the 4 minute mile was only a psychological barrier, others have continued to break records. Today the current record holder is Hicham El Guerrouj with a time of 3 minutes 43.13 seconds!

          4. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope

          Almost by definition, living up to your full potential requires you to step outside your comfort zone and expand your boundaries.

          Average people do average things, get average results and live average lives. Extraordinary people do extraordinary things, get extraordinary results and live extraordinary lives.

          You’ll only live your best life once you step out. Here’s how.

          5. Practice discipline

          Admittedly, this comes easier for some people than others, but it’s a skill that you can develop and will serve you well in all aspects of your life.

          Another way of thinking about discipline is just delayed gratification. How many times have you been on a diet, but there’s a piece of cheese cake in the refrigerator calling out your name!

          Having discipline is not a matter of not wanting the cheese cake, discipline is acknowledging your desire for the cheese cake but realizing that this craving is only temporary, and once it passes, you will be much happier that we didn’t succumb to a temporary urge.

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          The bottom line here is that while you may want to stop working at 5pm sharp, or watch the game on Saturday, but by developing the discipline to delay satisfaction you will be pushing your boundaries and reaping the rewards that come from that extra effort.

          6. Be confident

          Have you ever dealt with someone who was new at their job and lacked confidence? Maybe it was a salesperson who couldn’t answer basic questions about a product or just gave you flat out wrong information. Did you end up buying from that salesperson?

          My guess is no, I sure wouldn’t.

          Confidence comes with knowledge, discipline and experience. But how do you develop confidence if you are just starting out like our intrepid salesperson? While experience comes with time, knowledge can be acquired fairly quickly, especially if you have already mastered the art of self discipline!

          A good rule of thumb is to always start with knowledge. Learn as much as you can, take classes, get a mentor or just do research. If you are disciplined enough to develop the knowledge it will make getting the experience much easier.

          7. Accept that you will fail

          There is no such thing as an overnight success. Failure is a part of life and it happens to everyone. In fact, there is a whole body of thinking that failure is actually better than success!

          While most of us would agree that success is better than failure, when it does happen, here are some thing to keep in mind:

          Don’t take it personally. A failure in a job, career, business or marriage is just that. It is not reflection on you as a person. I had a friend who lost his entire fortune (over 20 million dollars) in a business deal. I called him shortly after and as expected he was very depressed. My only advice to him was to:

          “Never confuse your self worth with your net worth”.

          Move on, failures can be heartbreaking, embarrassing and demoralizing. Take the time needed to go through those feelings and process the emotions. Then, let it go, holding on to negative emotions keeps you stuck in a fixed mindset. Remember that your goal here is to live up to your full potential and succeed in life. Dwelling on past mistakes and failures is the surest way to derail your progress.

          Let failure be a learning opportunity. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason, it’s true! When I first started internet marketing, I started using Facebook ads for practically everything I did. Pretty soon I found that I was spending about $1,000 on ads that were generating about $200 in income, not a very good business model! I took that failure and redesigned my marketing efforts. I was able to both reduced my costs and increased my sales so that now for every $1,000 in advertising I am generating around $5,000 in income.

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          8. Learn to embrace uncomfortable situations

          Succeeding in life by living up to your full potential means embracing uncomfortable situations. Chris and Heidi Powell, well known personal trainers and hosts of the show Extreme Weight Loss use this technique with their clients. It works like this:

          They set a goal for their client that the client thinks is just out of reach. Then through encouragement and motivation, they help the client work though the uncomfortableness and pain to achieve the goal.

          This technique works for both physical and psychological challenges. Both our bodies and minds are capable of much more that we think they are.

          9. Set small goals to achieve big results

          When you are first setting goals, don’t be afraid to make them big! “I want to be the #1 salesperson in the company” or “I want to be a successful artist”. But once you have those goals set, you then need an action plan to get there. It’s in this action plan that you should set many small, easily attainable goals.

          For the salesperson, it might be to increase the number of sales they make by one a week in the next quarter, two a week for the 2nd quarter etc… For the artist, it might be to master a technique before the next art show, or produce X number of works to sell at the art show.

          Whatever the goals are, they need to get you closer to your ultimate goal while at the same time be attainable. Success builds on success, so achieving these small goals helps to motivate you to continue on to your bigger goals.

          10. Take time to recharge

          Everyone needs “down time”, trying to do everything yourself, all at once is a recipe for disaster.

          We talked a lot about being motivated and disciplined in this article; while they are essential to living up to your full potential and succeeding in life, having adequate down time is just as important.

          Any personal trainer will tell you that to get the most out of your workouts, you need to take 1 to 2 days off a week. This gives your body a chance to recover and actually get stronger.

          The same is true when we are trying to expand our boundaries and fulfill our potential. Making sure we have adequate down time prevents fatigue anxiety and poor decision making.

          Final Thoughts

          The success you’ll find from living life to your full potential is its own reward. One day, we all will look back on our lives and and think “I wish I would have done …”, “I had a chance to to be a … but I was to scared”, “I could have been a great … if I had put the time in.”

          I hope that in this article, we have given you both the motivation and tools to push yourself to your full potential in life, so that when you look back one day your regrets will be few.

          Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/_H0siQHdMM4 via unsplash.com

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