If given the option, would you choose quality over quantity? What does the question mean? The phrase quality over quantity means it’s more important to have fewer high-quality relationships, moments, interactions, food, and clothing, than tons of less valuable versions.
But most of us repeatedly choose quantity over quality. It’s ingrained in us from a very young age. As a child, I loved receiving new toys and clothes. Whenever my mom left for the store, I’d say, “buy me something.”
When Christmas came, I counted my gifts to see how many I received, and then counted my brother’s for comparison.
I counted the number of eggs I collected on Easter Sunday, the number of friends who wrote in my yearbook, and the stacks of clothing that filled my closet. I desired more of everything.
Unfortunately, the desire for more isn’t just a problem in childhood. As adults, we can count the number of likes on Facebook, the number of cars in our driveway, and the amount of money piled into our bank accounts.
Choosing Quality Over Quantity
How often do you choose quality over quantity? And how often do you do the reverse?
Do you choose possessions, likes, and money over more meaningful measurements?
Many of us select the most abundant option when given a choice. We learn to care more about counting possessions than carefully selecting which ones to cherish.
If we aren’t careful, we can waste our lives searching for quantity when we should be searching for quality. Measuring success in terms of numbers is an inaccurate assessment of our lives.
The Quest for More
When we focus on quantity, we can quickly lose track of the things that matter. In school, we aren’t happy with a handful of friends; instead, we want to be the most popular.
At work, we aren’t happy with our jobs. We want to reach higher rungs of the corporate ladder.
We want higher bandwidth, increased capacity, and quicker transactions.
But striving for a quantity-based life can lead us to feel ungrateful. When we choose quantity over quality, we can’t stop counting.
This quest for more can make our lives feel empty. We wonder if happiness exists around the corner. Perhaps my next possession will fulfill me in a way I’ve yet to feel fulfilled before.
Our consumer-driven culture motivates us to upgrade possessions and increase the number of things we own. But the quantity of our belongings doesn’t improve the quality of our lives. Instead, it impairs it.
In the quest to increase the number of items we possess, we stay on the hedonic treadmill. We continue to perform jobs we don’t love and earn money buying stuff we don’t care about.
We can never have enough when we focus on quantity. We are always searching for more but fail to feel satisfied. We live our lives constantly, longing for more.
Multiple times a day, we face the option to choose quantity over quality.
We can buy fewer high-quality products in favor of many cheap ones. Spend more time collecting social media likes rather than forging deep, meaningful relationships or waste countless hours staring at smartphones rather than spending a few moments with people we love.
But is this how we want to live our lives? Can we learn to stop counting and focus on quality over quantity instead?
There are many reasons to choose quality over quantity. Quality can help us save money, time, and energy. It can also help us feel happier, healthier, and focused.
10 Reasons and Examples to Choose Quality Over Quantity In Life
The following examples demonstrate the importance of choosing quality over quantity. I hope they help you stop counting and start focusing on the path to a better life.
Having more of something doesn’t always bring greater happiness. When my son turned eight, we asked him how he wanted to celebrate his birthday.
“We can throw a big party in our backyard with all of your classmates,” I suggested.
“I only want to invite three people,” he told me. “I’d rather have a couple of friends I care about than a house full of people.”
We took three friends bowling that year because my eight-year-old didn’t need a room full of kids singing happy birthday. Instead, he wanted a few good friends to stand beside him as he blew out his candles.
My son didn’t need more friends to create a better birthday party. Deep inside, he knew a few good friends was more than enough.
2. Quality Time
When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, I became hyper-aware of the quality versus quantity conundrum.
At every office visit, my father’s oncologist looked him in the eye and said, “We must consider the quality of your life over the quantity of it.” My father died this spring, and those words echo in my ears louder than ever.
I didn’t want my father to die, but I didn’t want him to suffer either. My father’s death and the days and months leading up to it forced me to contemplate quality over quantity.
How do we spend time when we are feeling alive and well? How much time do we spend with those we love, and what do we do when we are together?
When in the presence of others, do we answer text messages or concentrate on the person sitting directly in front of us?
Quality time means devoting the space to the people you love and talking with them without distractions. These quality moments are the ones we commit to memory and happily recall when walking down memory lane.
3. Quality Relationships
Would you rather have hundreds of so-called friends on social media or a few meaningful relationships?
The majority of social media interactions are meaningless. Yet we waste our days scrolling through pages full of people we’ve never met or haven’t seen in years.
In the meantime, we don’t take the time to reach out to real friends.
Catching up with old friends a few times a year is more rewarding than interacting with acquaintances on social media daily.
It’s not the amount of time that creates meaningful relationships but the amount of quality time we spend sharing stories, catching up on new events, and supporting one another.
Think of all the deep, meaningful conversations you’ve shared that impact your heart and mind long after speaking with someone you cherish. These moments may have changed your life trajectory or taught you a valuable lesson about the world or your place in it.
When we tend to our relationships, we share tidbits of wisdom and advice that can remain with us for the rest of our lives. We discover our interests, values, and ways we can make this world a better place.
4. Quality Interactions
If you’ve read this blog before, you probably know that I’ve been blogging for seventeen years. But the most meaningful part of blogging isn’t seeing likes on social media or the number of times my articles are shared. It’s not appearing in Forbes or other online publications either.
While I am grateful for those interactions, the best part of writing is the correspondence and comments I receive from readers.
When a woman reaches out in fear of a call-back mammogram or a new mom emails about becoming a stay-at-home parent, I know my stories are helping others.
When a reader struggles with the decision to quit his career or suffers from the mental anguish of financial favoritism, I know I should continue to write.
When a stressed reader reaches out with questions about managing his aging parents’ finances, I feel a deep, meaningful drive to continue blogging.
My social media count can remain small. If my words help others, that’s all that matters.
5. Quality Food
Choosing quality is about intentionally evaluating your options. Have you ever gone to a candy store and purchased an indulgent piece of chocolate?
Did you take a small bite and let it melt inside your mouth? Did you savor the taste? How does that compare to watching television while mindlessly eating a bag of M&Ms?
When you go to the drive-through after work, do you shovel a cheeseburger and carton of fries into your mouth, or do you savor each bite? I bet you savor the tastes at an expensive steakhouse more.
When we choose a quality meal, we savor the experience of eating. We take the time to think about what we’re eating and consider the value of the product we consume. We relish the moment.
When we eat high-quality food, we often make better choices about our overall health and wellbeing. I’m more likely to go to the gym if I eat salad the night before.
Choosing quality is about intentionality. When we evaluate our choices, we see how they impact one another.
Quality food helps us nourish our bodies and maintain a healthy weight. Consuming organic products satisfies our hunger while reducing the number of chemicals and pollutants we consume.
When we eat well, we take care of other aspects of our health. We tend to exercise, meditate, and seek spiritual enlightenment. We carve out time for self-care and strive to lead a heart-centered life.
6. Quality Work
Most of us inadvertently choose quantity over quality when it comes to employment by giving up quality work to earn more.
Rather than choosing a profession we love, we select a job that provides the highest pay.
More money always seems like the right option, but is it? If you hate going to work, crave a different path in life, or don’t want a career, then striving for more is a disservice.
The same goes for finding ways to make more money. Every hobby should not become a side hustle. Having more money isn’t always the answer. You are giving up quality time in exchange for that salary.
7. Quality Products
Of course, I can’t talk about quality over quantity without talking about stuff.
Shortly after buying my first house, my husband and I purchased a six-seat wrought-iron patio table for over $900, and my parents thought I’d lost my mind.
I was a recent college graduate with a hefty mortgage and a mediocre salary. Why on earth would I spend so much on patio furniture?
For years, I watched my parents buy inexpensive outdoor dining sets. They looked great for the first year or two, but eventually, they’d rust and deteriorate.
Spending over $900 on a table seemed insane, but you know what? That twenty-year-old purchase is still in use in my backyard.
8. Quality Saves Money, Time, and the Environment
We often equate buying cheaper products with saving money, but it’s a misconception. Choosing quantity over quality is almost always more expensive in the long run.
Quality products save money, time, energy, and the environment. Imagine if all of the big purchases in our lives lasted a lifetime. We’d avoid the hassle of shopping, hauling new products home, and discarding the old ones.
By purchasing quality goods, we reduce our impact on the planet. We minimize the amount of trash we produce and the number of carbon emissions generated each time we purchase something new.
Buying quality helps us strategically spend our money rather than needlessly wasting it.
Unfortunately, our consumer-driven culture encourages us to buy new things and quickly throw them out in a never-ending cycle. Searching for quality products puts a halt to that process.
It also changes the way we look at other aspects of our lives. Are we eating quality foods, building quality relationships, or choosing quality ways to spend our time?
9. Quality Over Quantity Leads to Efficiency
When we choose quality over quantity, we simplify our lives.
One would assume that owning more clothes would make it easier to get dressed every morning, but it’s not true. A quality mix-and-match capsule wardrobe is more manageable.
When you open your closet and see the quality, color-coordinated clothing hanging from the rack, it’s easy to pick an item off the hanger and put it on.
A closet full of cheap clothing complicates our options. Does this shirt match this skirt? Does this pair of pants even fit anymore? You know you have the perfect pair of shoes but don’t know where.
When you choose quality over quantity, you decrease the time it takes to get dressed every morning. Having less helps you get on with more important thoughts and decisions for the day.
Choosing to fill your pantry with quality staple ingredients makes it easier to create a healthy, life-sustaining meal.
When you choose quality over quantity, you free your mind to move on to other tasks. You know that you can get dressed quickly without staring mindlessly into the closet.
Choosing quality over quantity helps us redirect our attention. Do you need another dress, pair of shoes, or more likes on social media?
When you stop counting, you find satisfaction in the things you already own. Life is not a race to accumulate more. It’s a gift to be treasured.
When you stop choosing to add more to your life, you feel more content with what you already own.
You can reflect on the quality versus quantity decision each time you buy something new.
Learning to Choose Quality Over Quantity
It’s easy to tell you that you don’t need to focus on buying more stuff, but do you believe me when I tell you? Do you still feel the urge to buy more?
If so, I’d encourage you to clean and declutter your home. Walk into any room in your house, collect the contents you see, and place them in a pile in the center of the room.
Now go through them one by one. Do you love the object you see? Can you bear to live without it? Does it bring you joy or help you feel connected to someone in your life? If not, ask yourself if you need it and how often you use it.
Place the meaningless objects off to one side and continue to gather them until you’ve gone through every item in the room.
Then ask yourself how many of these things seemed important when you bought them. Did increasing the quantity of stuff in your home bring you more joy? Did the excitement and promise of a new, shiny purchase hold up over time?
If it’s sitting in the don’t need, don’t want, don’t like pile, it didn’t. Remind yourself about this every time you find yourself shopping again.
Owning more stuff didn’t lead to a greater payout. Owning a few quality objects you love would give you more bang for your buck than a room full of cheap items you will soon discard.
Intentionally Choosing Quality Over Quantity
Do you purchase quality foods to nourish your body? Do you cultivate quality relationships with people you love? Do you choose quality clothing that will last for years? When you have spare time, do you watch Netflix or call someone?
When we intentionally set a path to pay attention, it’s easy to see how often we get to choose between quality and quantity.
Next time, you face the option, which will you choose?
4 thoughts on “10 Examples & Reasons to Choose Quality Over Quantity”
I love your example of the quality patio set. That hits close to home. I’ve always been one to buy cheap stuff. And I keep re-buying the cheap stuff! But I’m learning. Now that I’m older and can afford it, I’ve prioritized purchasing quality. I’ve learned that it’s less expensive in the long run. More than that, though, I’ve learned that quality often brings more pleasure. It sounds silly but it’s true. The key is to practice mindful spending, of course — to buy cheap stuff when it doesn’t matter to you and to buy quality when it DOES matter.
@J.D., That’s an interesting point J.D., but as I age I’m beginning to wonder is there a time when quality doesn’t matter? There always seems to be a cost to buying cheaper goods. It might be our health, our well-being, or the environment at large. The more I weigh the decisions, the more I find that quantity often has a negative trade off.
Really great examples. I really didn’t have the option/cashflow to choose quality much in the past and I relish it now.
@NZ Muse, Being able to choose quality is a privilege. It’s unfortunate because the more you can choose quality the less you spend, but you need money to choose quality in the first place. It’s an awful catch 22.