Here Is Why Happiness Is Not Abut How Much You Have But How Much You Enjoy Your Life
“The things you own end up owning you.”
– Tyler Durden, Fight Club
We live in a consumerist society that constantly tells us that the more stuff we have, the happier we’ll be. How many times have you had a bad day and remedied it with a few purchases? How many times have you told people that you’re going out today for some “retail therapy”?
A lot of the time, we get envious about the things others have. We get envious of their new shoes, dresses, gimmicks, and so on.
We get envious and decide that the only way to be happier is to buy some stuff ourselves, before proudly displaying it on Facebook.
At the end of the day, does buying stuff really make you happier in the long-run? Or does it just fill a short-term craving?
The more money we have, the more stuff we want to buy. And when we can’t afford something, our belief that it will make us happier is so unwavering and deeply ingrained that we’re willing to get ourselves in debt just so we can have it now.
Yup, the consumerist society and mindset has got us in its grip so much that we associate more pain with missing out on something than racking up debts that could take us years to repay!
Think back to a time when you felt really good after making a purchase online. You felt good, right? But how long did that feeling last? How long before you’d even forgotten you’d made the purchase and felt pretty miserable again?
A few days later, your purchase arrives in the mail. You feel great again, yay! This feeling lasts for a few moments, but again disappears once you continue with your day.
It’s like social media. We post new photos and chases likes and comments. They make us feel good temporarily, but the feeling never lasts.
The consumerist society and mindset has sold us a dream – a dream that the more stuff we have, the happier we’ll be. All you have to do is imagine what it was like to live a hundred years ago, when people didn’t have televisions, iPhones or laptops. Just think how miserable they would have been! They didn’t even have showers or microwaves!
But were they really miserable? Are we really happier than them because we have more stuff?
The idea that we can buy happiness is addictive, and companies love us to believe that it’s true. But it just isn’t true at all. The equation that Stuff + More Stuff + Even More Stuff + ALL THE STUFF = Happiness is incorrect.
Happiness is not about how much stuff you have. It’s about how much you immerse yourself in life and enjoy it. Buying stuff to make ourselves feel better is easy. Anyone with a credit card can do it.
But guess what? Participating in life and enjoying it is easy too. Here are a few reasons why happiness is not about how much stuff you have:
New Stuff Is Always On The Horizon
It feels as though you’ve only just bought the iPhone 5 when the iPhone 6 is released.
You buy a 2016 BMW 6 Series, but then discover it’s coming out in a revised version next year already.
You’ve just bought a pretty new dress, but find out that it’s already so last season. But it’s okay because the new line is coming out tomorrow. Yay!
No matter what we buy, and no matter how excited we are to buy it at the time, the essence of capitalism is change. This means companies are always innovating and creating new stuff to replace the old stuff. As soon as you’ve bought something, its replacement is on the way.
We can never be happy with the stuff we own. Our gaze is constantly directed to the future. This is why it’s much better to take a step back and just enjoy life for what it is.
Stuff Annoys Us
How many times have you threatened to throw your laptop out of your window if it freezes one more time?
How many times have you torn your hair out when your phone takes 3 hours to update?
How many times have you threatened to smash your games console when you know for sure that a game is cheating you by making you lose all the time?
Stuff just annoy us. How we can we be happy when we’re getting so frustrated? And it seems like the more stuff we have, the more annoyed we get.
Stuff Distracts Us From Our Real Goals
You could be working on your self-improvement tonight or your side business. But you can’t because you’re busy shopping online.
It was the same yesterday. You could have been reading that book that teaches you all about building a business, but instead you were playing with your new stuff.
It happens. Many of us get distracted from our real goals by stuff. We get addicted to it, because it makes us feel better in the short-term than working on our goals would.
But before you know it, you could be middle-aged and still distracted.
Stuff Stops Us From Saving Up
Imagine if you had enough money in your bank account to take the holiday of a lifetime? Or maybe you had enough money in your bank account to finally set up your own business and live the life you’ve always wanted to live?
You probably could save up if you hadn’t decided that buying things and spending all your pay check makes you happy.
Enjoying life means finding simple pleasures in small things. It means saving first and spending what’s left. It means doing things that don’t cost a fortune but which makes you feel alive.
At the end of the day, if you have savings in a few years from now, those savings could help you to secure your financial future. You could invest the money or start your own business. That has to be more exciting than buying into the idea that the best way to happiness is to buy as much stuff as possible right now. Right?