In the startup world growth is king. The common path is to re-invest your retained earnings and get more investment dollars to grow the business as fast as possible. Being profitable is actually seen as a negative indicator since you should have been spending every dollar in the business to grow it. This will keep your investors happy and then perhaps you will be one of the unicorns that will sell your company for millions.
This fast growth path is rarely questioned because in North America we believe in more, more, and then just a bit more. I read in an article that a prominent American billionaire was asked what is enough money to him? His answer was just a few more million. I have wondered if there is another way to approach business and life in a more sustainable way and actually have an answer to that question that isn't just essentially, more...
Let's start with the business side, in the beginning, I toyed with the idea of hunting for investors and even met with some people in silicon valley. The realization was unless I pivoted to be even more tech-based and could 20x ( which means eventually provide the investors with 20 times their investment back) I was of no interest. I kept asking myself the question, do I want to be this giant corporation in the future or do I rely on organic growth and perhaps stay an SME ( small to medium enterprise)? With my business school brainwashing, I kept finding myself hating the word small. No one starts a business thinking small, in this part of the world, everyone wants to be big.
I had to fight my inner biases towards wanting more and challenge myself to think about what I really wanted from this business rather than what my ego wanted. In the end, I decided that I wanted a business that truly created value and solved a problem for people rather than focus on becoming a company that could 20x. In doing so I had to challenge my conditioning of wanting more to instead be wanting contentment. I realized the need for more will never go away even if you reach your goals because the goal post will just keep moving.
On the personal side, I recently had an ah-ha moment with my counselor. Some things we will never be able to digest when it comes from a spouse, friends, or family, only a neutral third party can make hear certain things. Her question to me was "when are you just good enough?", she asked this because I am perpetually trying to be better. A better person, a better sibling, a better wife, better to myself, not saying I always was better but I am always trying. I realized this was just another form of more, more, more. Her homework to me that month was just to be and enjoy the fruit of all my efforts. Trust me, that is easier said than done. Just be content, isn't that what I wanted to begin with?
The mentality of more is really just being focused on the future which makes us miss out on the present. Her wise words were about just being here in the moment rather than bettering myself for the future. This is not to say that I shouldn't ever be working on self-improvement because I've often found that the answer to almost anything is balance. The problem is many of us have been trained to be out of balance, skewed towards the future, always searching for more rather than just being content.