Adopting a quality over quantity approach is one of the best ways to live a more meaningful life.
As human beings, we’re wired to strive for more in all domains. We often set down the path of self-improvement due to our innate desire for nicer clothes, more money, a lavish home, etc.
However, this mindset doesn’t always serve us well. And in many cases, it can actually prevent us from finding the joy and fulfillment that we’re all after.
So without further ado, let’s discuss the true meaning of quality over quantity and highlight some practical ways that you can apply it to daily life.
Quality Over Quantity Meaning
Quality over quantity means that we should have a preference for better things, as opposed to more things.
It’s a philosophy that can be applied to anything — work, relationships, hobbies, goals, etc.
Quality means keeping your circle tight by only making room for high-quality people that deserve to be in your life.
Quality means focusing your energy on trying to achieve the top 1-2 goals that will bring the most satisfaction to your life.
Quality means removing low-value activities from your life so you have more time to engage in high-value activities that move your life forward.
When you adopt a quality-first approach to life, you’re choosing to sacrifice the good for the great. That’s the quality over quantity meaning that we should all strive to apply.
6 Ways You Can Choose Quality Over Quantity
Now that we’ve defined the meaning of quality over quantity, let’s dive into practical ways in which you can integrate this philosophy into your life.
Here’s six tips that will help you build your life around what’s most important.
#1: Quality Makes It Easier To Achieve Your Goals
Goal setting is an emotional process that taps into your deepest values and desires, which really fires up our motivational system.
And since setting goals puts us in a heightened emotional state, we tend to overestimate our abilities.
That’s why sometimes you might find yourself saying things like this:
“I’m going to get in shape, become more productive, and erase my social anxiety once and for all!”
However, we all know that this approach never works. Eventually, our motivation runs out and we can’t muster up the self-discipline to keep up with the lofty demands we’ve placed upon ourselves.
Adopting a quality over quantity approach to goal-setting solves this problem.
If you have the humility to limit your focus and commit to a long-term process, changing your life becomes far easier.
Pick one area of your life and commit to improving it for the next six months. Choose the area of your life that needs the most work, and then build your daily routine around it.
That doesn’t mean you let everything else fall by the wayside, but it does mean that you change your criteria for success on any given day.
As you narrow your focus and hone in on what really matters to you, making progress becomes that much easier.
#2: Quality Helps You Stick To New Habits
Adopting a quality over quantity approach to new habits increases the chances that you’ll follow through on your intentions.
If you wake up and see that you’ve committed to a one hour workout, two hours of writing, and twenty minutes of meditation, chances are you won’t feel very motivated to do these things.
The same principle that applies to goals applies to habits — focusing on everything is the same thing as focusing on nothing.
Real Life Application:
There are endless habits you can adopt in order to achieve your goals (quantity), but very few of them can be characterized as daily non-negotiables. (quality)
So look at your most important goal and identify the top-tier habit that will help you achieve it.
If you’re trying to write a book, that top tier habit will probably be a daily deep writing session. If you’re trying to work on your social skills, that top-tier habit will probably be talking to new people every day.
Once you’ve identified this habit, dedicate all of your energy over the next thirty days towards establishing it.
#3: Quality Gives Your Relationships Meaning
Your personal relationships are one of the key areas of life where quality matters significantly more than quality.
It’s important to build your social circle, but it’s just as important to ensure that the people in your life actually add value to your life.
The more you focus on spending time with those who really care, value, and encourage you, the happier you will be.
Real Life Application:
Write down the top five people you spend the most time with and get brutally honest about the following questions:
- Do I actually enjoy hanging out with this person?
- Is this person bringing positive or negative energy into my life?
- Are they putting in the same level of effort into our friendship as I am?
This exercise may help you realize that tough decisions need to be made. But the truth of life is this — spending less-time with low-quality people is part of becoming the person your best self.
#4: Quality Over Quantity Boosts Your Productivity
When it comes to productivity, quality is everything. If you can master the art of high-quality, distraction free work, you can accomplish more in two hours than most people do in a day.
The type of work described above is what Cal Newport calls “deep work,” and here’s how he defines it.
Professional activity performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skills, and are hard to replicate.
Deep work is the great equalizer in today’s world. When you can effortlessly get in the zone and lock in on the task at hand, you can take every aspect of your life to the next level.
Real Life Application:
While reading Newport’s book, there was one strategy he mentioned that really stood out to me. He calls the following exercise the “Roosevelt Dash,” and here’s how it works:
Identify a task on your to-do list and complete one Roosevelt dash. A Roosevelt dash is a brief period of distraction-free work where all of your brainpower is dedicated to one activity.
Newport recommends starting these timed dashes at fifteen minutes and then gradually working your way up.
Since you can’t just snap your fingers and become a productivity machine, this is a perfect way to gradually hone the skill of deep work.
#5: Quality Can Declutter Your Wardrobe
Most of our wardrobes are characterized by excess.
They’re filled with clothes that we don’t even care about, yet for some reason we keep these clothes around simply because they’re nice to have.
Given that the whole idea behind quality over quantity is prioritizing “need to haves” over “nice to haves,” what better place to start than your closet?
Decluttering your wardrobe is one of the easiest ways to simplify your life. And having done this process myself, I can tell you first-hand it’s a worthwhile exercise.
Real Life Application:
The process is pretty self-explanatory — simply sell, give away, or throw out any piece of clothing that isn’t truly valuable to you.
If you’re looking for a more in-depth overview of this process, then feel free to check out the following article on the minimalist closet.
#6: Quality Allows You To Save Money
When you shift your focus to quality over quantity, your bank account is definitely one of the biggest beneficiaries.
Financial freedom is just as much about saving money as it is about making money. There’s countless people who work normal 9-5 jobs for decades, save and spend responsibly, and retire at 55 or 60 with millions in the bank.
However, the story that’s far more common is the person who works for decades, spends a bunch of money on stuff they don’t need, and ends up working into their 70’s.
The only difference between these two people is their spending habits. So with that said, here are some helpful questions to ask yourself before parting with your hard-earned cash.
- Do I already have a similar item that serves the same purpose?
- Is this a status buy? Am I buying to keep up with friends, neighbors, or colleagues?
- Can I see myself using this product 6-12 months from now, or will it end up collecting dust?
Asking yourself these questions will help you choose quality over quantity when it comes to your spending habits.
Which Is Better Quality Or Quantity?
In most situations in life, it’s better to choose quality as opposed to quantity. However, there are certain scenarios where it’s actually more beneficial to choose quantity over quality.
For example, if you want to improve your dating life and you’re pretty inexperienced, then you don’t really have the luxury of a quality-first approach.
First, you need to go on dates with all kinds of people in order to figure out the type of person that you connect with. Once you’ve gained experience, then you can be more selective with who you decide to let into your life.
Another great example of this is my own blog! When I started this website, I had a passion for personal development, but I was a pretty inexperienced writer.
In order to improve my writing skills, I needed to choose quantity over quality for the sole purpose of getting the reps in.
Since then I’ve published over 200 blog posts, and while I’m no Stephen King, I’ve definitely improved by leaps and bounds since publishing post #1.
So when it comes to choosing quality or quantity, take into consideration how competent you are in the areas of your life that you’re trying to improve.
Sometimes, you may need to go the quantity route and worry about optimizing later.
Quality Over Quantity Quotes
To wrap up this article on the importance of quality over quantity, here’s some of the best quotes about the power of adopting this philosophy into your life.
- “Excellence comes when we balance quality with quantity.” ~ Amit Ray
- “While the number of friends may feed your ego, it will never satisfy your heart.” ~ Frank Sonnenberg
- “Quality is much more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.” ~ Steve Jobs
- “People may forget the quantity of your works but cannot forget the quality of your works.” ~ Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha
- “Life isn’t about quantity, it’s about quality.” ~ Malorie Blackman
- “Quality over quantity! If you’re always looking for your favorite sweater, that means you have non favorite sweaters. Get rid of the extras that you don’t need.”
- “Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.” ~ Nathan Morris
- “The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.” ~ Joshua Becker
- “It’s not always that we need to do more but rather that we need to focus on less.” ~ Nathan Morris
- “You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are full of yesterday’s junk.” ~ Louise Smith
- “If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more?” ~ Roy Bennett
- “The more you have, the more you are occupied. The less you have, the more free you are.” ~ Mother Teresa
- “Your home should be the antidote to stress, not the cause of it.” ~ Peter Walsh
- “It is not daily increase but daily decrease; hack away the unessential.” ~ Bruce Lee
- “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~ Lao Tzu
- “You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.” ~ Vernon Howard
- “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” ~ Hans Hoffman
- “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” ~ Antoine De Saint Exupéry
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