Learn How to Say When

“When we were little, my brother and I each had large drinking glasses with drawings of superheroes painted on their sides. They could hold almost an entire quart of liquid, and it took both of our hands to raise them to our mouths. When our dad poured our milk each morning, he would instruct, ‘Say when.’ He delighted in teasing us by ignoring any other word but ‘when’ for our response. It meant ‘That’s enough,’ and it was Dad’s way of teaching us the first challenge in the success detox program, the sense of sufficiency.

… My dad’s phrase ‘Say when’ was appropriate because sufficiency relates not only to amount but also to having the ability to enjoy what we have already in the present moment. It is living without the monkey mind of getting all I can now because there may be no tomorrow. Unlike our primitive cousins, we can learn to control our appetites and desires. We can learn to pay attention to when we have had enough to live well and no longer have to keep trying to fill our glass. ‘That’s enough’ runs counter to the toxic success mantra of ‘Get as much as you can now and keep going for more later.’

…The Hawaiian model of po’okela teaches that true success is attained through never taking more than one needs and sharing as much as one can. More importantly, it is doing so in a regular, ritualistic manner.”

Paul Pearsall, Toxic Success