Buying More ‘Stuff’ Will Never Make You Happy

We all have times when we are convinced a new thing is exactly what we need to make our lives a bit better. 

You have heard people say stuff doesn’t make you happy, and most of us know it’s true, ‘family is more important’, ‘you won’t take it with you when you die’, etc.

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But when the desire for something, in particular, is there we do not remember this simple truth at all! We don’t care about it. We don’t say it as directly as this to ourselves either, the process is far more subtle.

Follow me with this for a minute.

You see a picture of a _________ (you fill in the blank), a new car, home, tropical island holiday, and you have a thought, ‘gosh that looks so good!’.

So you look around, evaluate what it would feel like to have.

Should you get it?

It plays on your mind, repeating, and this can go on for days, even weeks.

You really want it and you think it will be good for you because ___________ (fill in the blank), you save money, replace the old car, good investment, need a break away from your life.

You decide it will help you, you will be productive, make things easier, lighter, prettier, more organized, save you money, all the good things.

Sometimes though we decide to say no, we walk away. We know we made a good decision and we don’t look back. 

But other times it’s not that easy. We can’t walk away. It nags is and becomes more and more appealing. We decide to go ahead and purchase fill in the blank, (the new car, computer, outfit or trip overseas). We are happy about it and really really really look forward to this new thing.

6 months down the track…your car is not new anymore, the kids wrote on the back seat with crayon, your new computer needs more storage, the new house heating is broken, you got back from holiday 3 months ago and you’re tired again.

The things you buy because you are in one of life’s slumps that you struggle to afford, or you don’t really need. When the dust settles, maybe not right away, but eventually, we realize we are still in the same place.

We are never going to fix issues of our attitude or self-worth with material things. I don’t understand the science behind it, I just know it’s real. We are not prettier people with nice clothes, we are not more successful with a nice house, and we certainly don’t get inner peace with a 10-day island cruise.

Please don’t feel your the only one, I believe it is the human condition to consume things and we will all do it to some extent as long as we live.

Trying to find that balance between enough and too much. The good news is that you can avoid getting it wrong a lot of times and save yourself a lot of money and a lack of progress as a happy human being.

I am gradually teaching myself and my children this concept. Yes, we have losses but we also have many wins.

We sometimes buy things we don’t really need and try to fix issues with something that actually doesn’t.

The first step to change is realizing that this is going on in your heart and mind when you are being marketed to. It’s a billion dollar industry targeting you, trying to convince you that you NEED it. Our kids especially are targeted.

Knowledge is power though and when you have all the information you can make a good choice. The wonderful news is that as nasty as marketing strategies are we have total control if we want it.

Don’t misunderstand me now, you can’t confuse purchases you hope will make you happy that don’t, with purchases you need to make to improve your quality of life and that you should make if you can. Good purchases that would be good are, for example, a car so you can work, the first home that you’ve worked hard for, new shoes and clothes for your kids that they need. These are a very different type of purchase.