“If I win the lottery, then I’ll be the happiest person alive.”
Sound familiar? If you said yes, which I assume you did, that would be because it’s a very common phrase. But it’s also just as common of a misunderstanding.
Whether you actually believe what the phrase is saying or not is a whole different matter, but the truth is that, no matter what the item is that you win or gain, it won’t be long before your enjoyment from life plateaus again or even worsens.
Once you undergo a drastic lifestyle change, such as winning the lottery, you’ll eventually become accustomed to it and life goes on, almost as if that change never happened. And, hypothetically speaking, if you were to win the lottery again, as long as you didn’t blow through all your money from the last winning, you likely won’t be quite as ecstatic.
In other words, you slowly become less and less satisfied with the smaller things in life. Becoming less satisfied with life isn’t ideal, so it would probably be helpful to know the answer to:
Why Does This Happen?
While winning the lottery could be a life-changing experience, you can’t deny that the adrenaline rush will wear off at some point. Sure, you might’ve gotten the new car or house you’ve always wanted, but it probably wasn’t all you expected it to be.
This is likely because your brain hyped up this event, and tried to predict how you would emotionally feel. And when the thing that you’ve been longing for finally happens, you’ll probably find it underwhelming, to say the least.
What makes matters even worse, is that most people can’t comprehend why this hasn’t made them feel any happier or different. This can lead to plenty of other rabbit holes, none of which you would probably want to find yourself in.
One such rabbit hole is that you think next time will be different. So maybe you become a workaholic so that you can buy the newest sports car or high-end clothes and make a better life for yourself. Then you realize that, emotio-nally at least, you’re in the exact same spot you were several years ago.
How to Avoid Dissatisfaction
You’ve probably now gotten the picture that materialistic things aren’t the answer to happiness. But if that’s not it, then what is?
Most of our desires have to do with money in some way, shape, or form. And it’s the fact that we currently can’t or don’t have it that makes us chase after it. Frankly, that’s just how humans are, and there’s not much you can do about that.
We’ve always been taught to strive for the next level and constantly be improving. And while it’s fun to see how far we’ve come, at some point we’re going to max out what we are physically capable of doing.
Once you’ve been promoted to the top position at work, or have honed a skill as much as you think is possible, for example, that’s where the satisfaction ends. “Unless of course,” you may be thinking, “your job is your passion.”
Ever heard the phrase,
“Follow your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life?”
This quote could very well be true, but when it becomes about using your passion to get as much money as possible, you’re practically throwing that phrase right out the window. Why? Because when you make money the objective, getting it becomes your job.
This concept also works with,
“Follow your passion and the money will follow.”
If you decided on your career path solely on what you enjoy doing, that would be great. Most of the time, however, choosing the ideal career could cause you to face financial hardships. For some people, that’s okay, and they just care about doing what they love.
But the ideal thing would be to strike a balance between the two. And while some people have found this perfect balance, this is just another thing that the people who made the wrong career choice lust after.
Even if you found the right career, we still have the problem of money potentially changing how much you appreciate things. But what if we could change this so that everything we get actually adds value to our life?
Deciding What Will Make You Happier
Making sure the materialistic things you buy contribute to your life has to do with your mindset, and focusing on only what’s important to you.
For example, it might be nice to reward yourself with a better car, as a result of all your hard work. But unless you’re an avid car enthusiast, the joy from this purchase will likely wear off much faster than you had anticipated. On the contrary, if you love cars, upgrading your car more often might be a reason-able use of your money (within reason of course). Or if you love fashion, perhaps high-end clothes would be a better way to spend your money.
None of this is to say that you should throw your budget out the window, but I think you should really start questioning whether a big purchase, or even somewhat minor purchases, would really add value to your life. If you’re going to buy an article of clothing just to wear it once and then forget about it, that’s not a good financial decision, and it won’t add too much value to your life either.
If you’re struggling to filter out all those impulse purchases, there’s one trick I’ve learned that I find extremely useful.
Because we always gravitate towards what we can’t yet afford or have, change your mindset and tell yourself that you can afford it. Most likely, the object will lose a large chunk of its appeal, and you might be surprised by how much you don’t actually need it.
Another way you could deal with spur-of-the-moment purchases could be to pay for the experience rather than the item itself. What I mean by this is if you want an exotic car for the weekends, for example, rather than going out and buying one, just rent one out for a day or two.
No, you won’t necessarily have the satisfaction of being able to look out and see the car on your driveway every day, but renting it will allow you to get driving one out of your system while not numbing the experience of owning one.
Not only will avoiding unnecessary purchases save you money, but with that money you saved, you can redirect your focus into the areas of your life that will bring you the most joy.