David Geffen, the famous billionaire who built the Virgin brand (phones, music, air travel), once said, “people who think money buys happiness have never had a lot of money.” Indeed, people are happiest when they strive for meaningful goals, even if they don’t make very much money. Taking care of yourself & your family is one of the best paths to happiness.
A recent bit of research might partly explain why even shopping for upscale things could ruin your day. Fifty people viewed pictures of either luxury products or ordinary items. Those who saw the fancy, expensive consumer goods then felt more depressed, anxious, and less self-satisfied. They also wanted to spend time alone instead of socially.
Also, just using words associated with luxury and buying put people in a spending and competitive mood. How do they know? Another group categorized various products. Those who thought it was a consumer survey and shown enticing words like “wealthy,” “image,” and “success” were much faster and less interested in cooperating with others. They were more selfish, less interested in helping to solve a water shortage, and distrustful of others.
So, the next time you deck yourself or your children out with the big-name labels, pause a moment. Are you promoting happiness, self-satisfaction, and kindness or depression, dissatisfaction, and selfish isolation? Even shopping for them might cost you in ways that money can’t fix. You might buy things you can’t afford to kill that yucky feeling of inadequacy as you stand next to that $2000 handbag or $90,000 SUV. That short-lived “yah! I got it!” glow will fade fast, leaving you with a perpetual reminder of dissatisfaction.
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