When you’ve done enough, there’s a sense that you’ve arrived. Done what you needed to do. Not necessarily more or less, but you’ve reached a point of contentment.
- You’ve slept enough…to function through the day.
- You’ve cooked enough…to feed the mouths at your table.
- You’ve run fast enough…to satisfy your goals.
You get the picture. Enough isn’t going to get you to the moon, but it’s going to get you through the day. And enough has an implied ellipsis (…) that allows you to what you need to do, and to do more if you really want to. Enough is a start.
So what happens if you find out that what you’ve done isn’t enough?
- You didn’t do well enough.
- You didn’t make enough [money, food…].
- You didn’t run fast enough.
You’ve fallen short. It’s tempting to see not enough as a dead end, or at least a u-turn. That’s not the case. Just like with enough…there is an ellipsis at the end of not enough – it just takes more gumption. When you’ve done what you think is your best and you discover that it didn’t get you to the goal, you have to evaluate how badly you want whatever it is, and dig deep to see if you have more to give.
As a mom, nothing enrages me more than someone saying that one of my children is lacking in anything – that they aren’t [smart, fast, tall…] enough. It’s reason for hackles and an ‘I’ll show you’ retort. That’s not always the right response, of course, and fortunately, good sense and logic often help to filter the emotional reaction into a useful response. One that, hopefully, teaches my kids to set goals and work toward them.
As an entrepreneur, not enough can be the kiss of death – not enough [money, manpower, resources, time…]. Those are big hurdles. But they’re hurdles – not walls – and they just show you where to put your work.
As a runner, I love setting a goal that I’m not [strong, fast, nimble…] enough to reach. It gives me something to strive for. That’s fun.
At first glance, enough and not enough seem like opposites, don’t they? It’s pretty empowering to think that, actually, not enough can motivate more powerful progress. It’s all in the strength of the ellipsis. What counts that much for you?