quality over quantity meaning

Quality Over Quantity Meaning & What’s More Important

The phrase “quality over quantity” is commonly used, but do you really understand what it means?

It is a philosophy of life that focuses on quality over quantity in different areas, including relationships, acquisitions, etc.

To clarify this concept, let’s first define quality vs quantity.

Quality refers to the characteristics and features of something. On the other hand, quantity is about volume, the numerical value of something – the amount of number. Quality is subjective. Therefore, its perception varies from one person to another. On the other hand, quantity is absolute and can be easily defined.

Quality over quantity seeks to analyze how good something is compared to how much of something there is. Quality can be used to analyze both tangible and intangible things. On the other hand, quantity is only used to measure tangible things.

Examples of qualitative measurements include:

  • Is a car well-engineered?
  • Is a book transformative?
  • Is a friend kind and loving?

On the other hand, examples of quantitive measurements include:

  • How many cars are there?
  • How many books have you read or do you have?
  • How many friends do you have?

So, What Does Quantity Over Quality Have to Do With Life?

We live in a highly materialistic world where quantity is perceived as better than quality. We think that the more money, houses, cars, items, clothes, friends, etc., we have, the better our lives will be. But is this not always the case?

Often, we are looking for gratification, which comes with quantity. But as we grow older and wiser, we realize that contentment in life is better than gratification. Contentment has to do with the quality of our lives rather than the quantity of things in our lives.

For instance, while it would seem obvious that having more money is better, is it the case if that means earning money in a toxic work environment at the cost of your health or relationship with your family? More and more people are now willing to leave their toxic high-paying job for one that pays decently but is aligned with their values, personality, and relationships.

The reality is that most of us are victims of quantity over quality. And although there are some instances where quantity takes precedence over quality, you find that it is better to have quality over quantity in most instances.

For instance, would you rather have tens of acquaintances with whom your relationship is casual or a few friends who would walk through high and low waters with you? When you were younger, you thought that the more friends you had, the cooler you were, but as you have grown older, you may have realized that only a few of the many friends truly care for you and have your best interest at heart.

Let’s look at something less serious. Let’s say you are shopping for a Christmas gift for your spouse. What do you think they would appreciate more? Several cheap gifts or one quality gift? Most likely the latter.

One more example of quality over quantity. Would you rather hurriedly read a book a month to hit your 12 books a year goal or two to three books throughout the year but take time to do all the recommended exercises, reflect on the information, and implement changes in your life? I don’t know about you, but I would rather read a few books that have transformed my life.

Importance of Quality Over Quantity

As discussed below, living life by the philosophy of quality over quantity offers numerous benefits.

When Buying Items, Quality Saves You Money

In most cases, choosing quality items costs more upfront. Therefore, it may seem like the more expensive option. However, it is more economical over time as a high quality item will serve you for much longer. You may find that you have to buy a lower quality item more frequently as it keeps breaking down. Over time, the cost of the subsequent purchases will be much higher than investing in quality items in the first place.

Life Is More Meaningful

“The more things you own, the more they own you.” Anonymous

We may think we need more to get through life, but we actually don’t. Every item you own takes up space physically and in your mind and energetically. You have less energy left to focus on things and people that matter to you.

When you are not focused on a quantity mindset, the focus of your life also changes from chasing the next big thing to making the most of each day and your everyday life. You find more contentment and satisfaction with your life as it is without needing to buy the newest car model in the market, another suit, or a bigger house.

And, even when you have to buy those things, it is because they are a necessity and will add value to your life.

Your Life Becomes More Efficient

Think of it this way, isn’t it easier and less time-consuming to choose what to wear when you have fewer shoes and clothes. Similarly, meal prep is easier if you cook only a few simple recipes.

Quality over quantity saves you time and energy so that you can direct it more efficiently to what truly matters to you. For instance, if you have a goal to buy a home, you may achieve the goal faster when you have fewer expenditures.

You Become More Intentional About Life

With the quality over quantity philosophy, you realize that immersing in more does not guarantee happiness. Therefore, you are forced to reevaluate your priorities and identify what matters.

Improves the Quality of Your Relationships

Quality over quantity improves your relationships in several ways. First, the fewer friends you have, the more depth you can have in your friendships. You can focus your time and energy on understanding them beyond the superficial level, making for a more meaningful relationship.  

It also doesn’t matter how often you see each other or how much time you spend with each other, but you are intentional about making your together worthwhile. Therefore, while you may not see each other often, the few times that you do leave each of you feeling seen, heard, and validated. You make memories that last a lifetime, and you know that you can count on each other no matter the ups and downs of life.

Conversely, if you spend a lot of time together with your loved ones but interactions are not empowering or affirming, it does more bad to the relationship than good.

How to Implement Quality Over Quantity in Your Life

girl enjoying on the beach
Image source: Pexels

Below are some tips on implementing the quality over quantity philosophy in your life.


Decluttering is the first step to simplifying your life and focusing on quality.

Consider how you want to live your life and identify what you will be useful or believe will add aesthetic value to your space. Then, get rid of anything else.

After decluttering, you will realize how much space, ease, and flow you will have in your home. You will find harmony and synergy in the home and life at large. The outer order may also bring inner calm to your body and mind.

If it is your first major decluttering exercise, it can feel overwhelming. Focus on one item at a time. Maybe do it over a period, say a month, where you declutter a specific room in the house each weekend. Ensure to declutter every few months to ensure you only keep what you need and love.

“Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor – it’s anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living.” Peter Walsh

As you declutter your physical space, take time to declutter your mind and heart. Let go of things that bother you. Forgive yourself, others, and situations that you could be holding resentment towards. Stop worrying.

Sift through your beliefs, attitude, and mindset to identify what could be holding you back and let it go. Engage in practices that soothe your soul and center you, such as spending time in nature, journaling, listening to music you love, yoga, meditation, etc.

Practice Gratitude

Practicing gratitude will help you to realize how full your life is. It will help you to appreciate the good in your life and the thing you may be taking for granted as you try to achieve more. For instance, simply being alive, good health, people who love you, a roof over your head, technology making life convenient, etc.

Incorporate a Healthy Lifestyle

When it comes to food, go for nutrient-dense food over junk and refined foods. Also, observe your food portions and give the body only what it needs.

Focus on efficient exercises. You do not need to run for 10 miles each day to be healthy. Twenty minutes of high-intensity exercises will do. Then you can use the extra time to do other activities you enjoy.

Buy Quality Items

As mentioned earlier, it is not only economical in the long run, but it is more sustainable environmentally- both in terms of waste disposal and sourcing for raw materials. Also, just buy what you need. There are various ways you can mix and match your outfits for versatility.

Focus on Building Quality Relationships

Identify relationships that are most important to you and add value and focus on them. Ensure that your time with these people is edifying and worthwhile. Even if you have few friends and people in your social circle, you will find that your heart is full of love.


You do not have to read each book or sign up for every course that you come across about a skill you want to develop to be good at it. Focus on identifying the specific area of the skill you want to develop and finding the most valuable resources.

Then, fully immerse yourself in the information and implement it. You could also consider working with a coach or an industry leader in the area. It is a faster way to learn.

Final Thoughts

As evidenced in this article, the principle of quality over quantity enriches all aspects of your life. It fosters intention, meaning, and depth in your life. You become clear about what is important and let go of everything else.

This way, you can focus on what matters to you without distraction. It also saves you from the trap of consumerism where you think that the next big or shiny thing is what will make you happy. Instead, you gain wisdom that being intentional each day and savoring the small things is what brings true and lasting joy and satisfaction in life.

Therefore, appreciate what you already have. Declutter your space to get rid of things you do not use and need. While at it, declutter your mind and thoughts. Establish simple habits that help you live life fully and presently, like meditation, gratitude journaling, eating healthily, and exercising.

Choose your friends wisely and invest in your relationship with them. Let the people you love know that you do so, not just by words but by your actions too. Ensure that the time you spend together counts and make lifetime memories together.

Whenever you feel like you are getting stuck or pulled back into the rat race, go back to the drawing board and ask yourself what is important?

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