They say that the correct number of bikes a cyclist should own can be boiled down to a simple equation: n + 1, where n = the number of bikes you currently own. With that as my mind set I share with you the following story.

I’m an avid cyclist with a wife, four kids and lots of college tuition actively limiting my discretionary spending. I would love to indulge my selfish desires and purchase the bike of my dreams, but my better self understands that it can wait for another day.

My friend has no such problems. He is a successful business owner who really likes to buy stuff…lots of stuff. One of the things he purchased last year was a shiny new 29” full-suspension mountain bike. It’s not just any mountain bike; it’s a work of art with all the latest components and a jaw-dropping price tag in the $8,000 range. No…that’s not a typo.

Every time I visit him I also visit his bike. I spend time just looking at it. It’s gorgeous. On my latest visit last fall I mentioned that I was training for a 40-mile mountain bike race in Wisconsin and, being the nice guy that he is, he offered up his new bike for my use. I jumped at the chance.

I was sure that this new ride would change my experience and improve my time over last year. I would be amazing! My first few training rides on it were pretty fun, but to tell you the truth, it quickly became just another bike. The newness wore off and I was once again left with the sad reality that it’s not the bike that goes fast, it’s the legs pushing it. And when race day came I actually turned a slower time than last year!

I’m a graphic designer and the expensive bike experience reminded me that my guiding design principle of “less is more” is also a worthy life principle. I put my head down and thought up a few ways in which I can apply that well-worn saying to other areas in my life.

Less stuff = More room

Less spending = More money

Less envy = More contentment

Less expectation = More satisfaction

Less entitlement = More gratitude

Less social media = More social life

Less complication =  More simplicity

Nothing groundbreaking, I know, but thoughts certainly worthy of consideration on a cold January day.