Forget the Joneses

The temptation is always there to try to keep up with those around you. Your neighbor gets out and mows their yard and it isn’t long before you start feeling like you better get out there too.

A roofing company is putting a new roof upon their house and now you’re thinking about the need to replace your own. They have four cars in their driveway and you only have two. Uh oh! Better head on down to the dealership.

Guess what? It’s not just you. All around the world, this need to keep up with those around us is a problem. Our deed to do whatever it takes to keep up with “The Joneses” has created a cycle of consumerism that puts many people into insurmountable debt.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Joshua Becker, at Becoming Minimalist, shows us that a better pursuit would be simply to keep up with yourself.

Rather than trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” try to “keep up with the person you want to be.”

It is, almost certainly, different than the life the Joneses are living.

Society has an interesting effect on us. Too often, it calls us to conform. Think of the changing styles and how quickly the masses adopt them.

We follow the new fashions. We watch the same shows and movies and read the same books. We buy the same automobile styles. We conform to modern styles of furniture, countertops, decorations, and even appliances.

“Keeping up with the Joneses” is, by its very nature, a pursuit of conformity. We want what they have, or to buy what others are talking about, or click-to-ship the same product everyone else is buying on Black Friday.

But one of the rarely mentioned side effects of conforming to the life that others are living (what we buy, how we spend our time, and what we desire to have) is the complete and total loss of individuality.

But deep down, do we even want those things? Do we even want to change our clothing styles? Or buy the new car… or boat… or a bigger house in the gated community?

Or would we much prefer our own life and our own choices? Wouldn’t we much prefer to pursue our own values? Because almost certainly your values are different than the Joneses!

When we take control of our life and begin pursuing the life we want to live, we discover the best way to overcome envy and jealousy of others is to live a life consistent with our values.

When our time and money are spent on things we consider important, we find inner peace and calm that allows us to experience sufficiency, regardless of how much others have (or how they spend it). When our resources are spent on pursuits that bring us fulfillment, we find fulfillment.

Will others have more? Absolutely. But when we are doing the best we can with the resources we have, it results in the confidence and peace that the Joneses have probably been chasing all along.

Live your life ignoring conformity. Pursue those things that bring you fulfillment and significance and meaning.

Rather than trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” try to “keep up with the person you want to be.”

You certainly won’t get there trying to live the Joneses’ life.

Life is Strange. Live it Well.

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