My wife and I were at the end stage of a 4600 mile road trip. The passengers were us and 4 kids stuffed into a suburban and touring the OLD west. Cowboy gun fights, rock climbing, staying in yurts…you name it, we did it. We crushed this vacation.
We decided a great finale to the trip would be to stay at the Great Wolf Lodge for a night. Great Wolf Lodge is an amazing indoor water park, arcade, magic quest, kid’s paradise -money making machine.
There is so much to do it’s mind boggling and often stressful for all involved just trying to maximize the experience.
You guys know me by this part of the game – I want to maximize. In an effort to do so I think many times I miss the point that maximization is often not equal to more. I think there is a peak point of optimization and then anything beyond that shows diminishing returns.
This idea really seemed to prove itself on this trip… often times I don’t need more to be happy I just need some.
Case in point, The Great Wolf Lodge.
After a few hours of water slides, pizza, Dr. Peppers, running around, and craziness, my oldest asked if he and the other kids could just go up to the room and chill a little. “Dad, we’ve done it…Another hour of doing it more isn’t going to make me feel better, I just want to relax a little.”
Now I’ve been and will probably always fight being one of these guys…”Whaaaat? There’s still 2 and a half hours left?”
I could easily see myself talking my kids into staying another hour, squeezing the last drop of joy out of the water slide and taking my cost per slide rate from $15 to $8 giving me a financial “thumbs up” in the process as well.
But it wouldn’t have made anyone happier. It would have been forced and played out. In fact, it would have been conversely unhappier and less fun.
Remember, as a kid, how much fun it was to have a hotel room with no parents in it? Now that’s fun man.
So I let them go.
My wife and I decided to stay down and have a Mojito and watch the end of a World Cup soccer match. Also fun. We talked. Not having to scream over our kids…OK, we had to scream over 100’s of other people’s kids still water-parking, but you get the point.
The next day I was talking to her about our vacation and expenses and usually family stuff and she said, “I think a lot of why we were so relaxed last night and today was just the 15 minutes we had. It didn’t need to be a 3 week vacation by ourselves or a long drawn out 4 hour dinner…it was nice to just have a drink and watch a game with you. Sometimes a few minutes is all it takes.”
And as she does with her uncanny ability to summarize she states, “You don’t need more, you just need some.”
The exact same idea and application as my son. Some beats more.
Since, I have looked for this and saw a lot of application all over my life. Look for this in your life – I’ll bet it’s the same amount of joy and pleasure (or more) …with some.
I once heard of the 3 X rule – a similar principal. It’s used mostly for dietary things but seems to have a lot of spillover for mentality and mindfulness.
The 3 X rule is practical with pizza and beer as my primary analogy.
With Pizza and Beer, the first one is great. It hits the spot oh so perfectly. The second one is OK and, by the time you get to the third, it’s just so-so. Any more just gets miserable and is often filled with regret later.
Guys, I could literally come up with a million scenarios to back this point, but why do more?