Are we focused on the wrong things?
If you were lying on your death-bed tomorrow, would you reassess your life and be happy with the pursuits you’ve had? Would you have felt that it was spent on what actually matters in life? Most people unfortunately, are not able to say this about the life that they have lived. Our society has a heavy infatuation with material goods and social status, so we often end up in a hamster wheel of “make the money, buy the shiny stuff to impress everyone.” I too, was once caught up in all of that nonsense.
It took me a lot of time to realize that I was concerned with the wrong things in life. Things other people did not actually care about and would not add any value to my life. If anything, it was detrimental given the price tag of some items I was after. This is a normal situation for most people across first world countries. Some of us will even feel inadequate for not having the things that others around us do. We’ve all had that feeling of envy at one point or another: John just drove his new Beamer off the lot and posted a picture of it on instagram. Alison always seems to have new handbags, dresses, phones, and makeup kits. Theres always that one person on our social media feeds that is ALWAYS on vacation and you start to question their source of income.
A different perspective:
There is a way around this self-defeating thinking. What if, you instead chose to put more value into the people you have around you? What if your new goals or pursuits instead involved making new friends and connections? You can completely erase the need for high price material goods. Only invest in what you can afford, and that will get the job done for you. Think of it this way, what is the number one thing most people stress over in modern society? Money. Why do we stress over money? We over-extend ourselves because we buy things we can’t afford to impress other people. The truth is, NO ONE CARES what you have! If you have genuine connections and friendship with other people it will not matter that you have fancy and expensive “things.”
I have one friend who drove the same sedan from 1992 all the way up to a year or so ago. When he finally got a “new” car, it was truck from 2001 that his uncle didn’t drive anymore. Wanna know what his friends including myself thought of his cars? Nothing! No one cared that they weren’t brand new Dodge Challengers or Ford F-150s. What mattered was the fun times and memories made by driving those cars around and spending time with friends in them. This of course is just an example, but it is a universal one. What if you applied that way of thinking to all of your “things?”
One of my favorite quotes related to this is when Dave Ramsey said “The Joneses are broke!” He was making a point about how the picturesque family that seems to have it all is actually drowning in mortgage, car, and credit card payments. They only seem like they have it all. They are caught in the rat race of obtaining material goods for a high social image. There is no value in their relationships with other people because they are on the hamster wheel of earning money and giving it away to payments and big-ticket items.
One added benefit of putting value into your friends, family and fellow-man is that you can lower your need for more and more money. Imagine being able to take that lower paying job in a field you really like. All because you gave up the desire to buy new things. Most of the stuff marketed to us these days is pure useless garbage and will not bring happiness to your life. There is this thing called “novelty” and it wears off quite fast after a new purchase. Think of the hours you had to work to obtain this item to have the excitement go away shortly after.
Forming good relationships and building the ones you already have is…FREE. It will also do much more good for your mental and emotional health to have a network. One of the 48 Laws of Power (as manipulative some may call them) is “Do not build fortresses to protect yourself, isolation is dangerous.” Robert Greene made an outstanding point with this law. Isolation coupled with the constant drive for buying crap is a surefire way to feeling depressed and empty.
So as I say, “cut the crap out of your life” and start focusing on relationships with other people. Make a vow to yourself that you will no longer chase the next iPhone or new car if you already have one that works. Start to truly free yourself and improve your well-being.
Until next time – The Simple Bachelor
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