Later this week week we will celebrate Thanksgiving. And what has dominated my inbox lately is not messages of gratitude but messages telling me what I need. Clothes. Software. Apps. Courses and programs. Trainings.
Everyone wants to sell you something. It’s no longer just Black Friday and Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. Now it’s the whole month of November. Each year it starts earlier and earlier.
Our economy is driven by desire. But the desire is not just for stuff; its for the happiness that we believe we will feel when we acquire the stuff.
What we actually buy is a story. The story is that if we snag the latest gadget or the new sweater or the new book, we will be happy or confident or at peace. Our problems will be solved.
As you may have discovered already on your own, that story is false — it’s a defective product. And yet we keep buying it, somehow thinking that maybe this time the story won’t be defective.
I’m sure you know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.
I’ve been living “home-free” for over a year, mostly out of one suitcase, while the rest of my stuff is in a storage unit. In storage, my clothes are arranged in bins, and my books are in boxes. One of the unexpected gifts of this experience has been that it forces me to stop and consider whether I need something before I acquire it.
Will it fit in my suitcase? Will it fit in the storage unit? Do I want to acquire it just for it to sit in the storage unit?
This isn’t to say I’ve stopped acquiring things altogether. But I’ve raised my standards for what I acquire. This includes things I buy and things that are offered for free. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean I need to take it.
This is a crucial point to remember this week as your inbox floods with great “deals.” Just because something is offered at a lower price than what it sells for the rest of the year doesn’t mean it’s a good “deal” for you.
What we acquire has a cost. Not just a monetary cost, but an energetic cost. Things we own take up space. Logistical questions about where to put them and how to care for them. All of this requires energy.
That’s energy you’re not giving to something else — like finding your source of joy on the inside.
Before you open your inbox to peruse the deals, it’s worth taking a moment to pause and ask yourself:
What do I really need?
Both in terms of material things and in terms of what you want to feel.