stop trying to keep up with the joneses

Are you tired of keeping up with the Joneses? Yes, the people who live in picture-perfect houses, drive the most expensive cars, throw the best parties in town, visit the most exotic places for vacations, post the most envious pictures on social media, own the newest big screen TVs in their living room, and sport the latest smartphones and smartwatches. Are you wondering how they are able to afford their prized possessions? And most importantly, is this what our lives have gotten down to — spending our time, energy and money in keeping up with the Joneses that we come across in our workplace and your neighborhood?

It’s easy to look at someone else’s life and wish that your life was the same. But do you know what the truth is? The Joneses that we see in our daily life and on social media are actually broke. And in some cases broken too! Yes, even though they may seem “shiny” but it’s all a facade. The grass may appear greener on the other side, but in reality, it isn’t. Sure, the Joneses may seem to belong to an elite league, but underneath all those fancy things is nothing but thousands of dollars of debt. 

According to a recent study, 78% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. What this means is that out of 10 people, nearly 8 of them can’t afford the car that they’re driving and the home that they’re currently residing in. And I’m sure this applies to people of other major countries in the world as well. Isn’t it sad that a majority of people might not even have the cash to cover expenses in case an emergency arises? I’m sure you don’t want to be one of them.

What’s driving this mass hysteria of going deep into debt is nothing but comparison. We are propelled by a strong desire to impress other people. As the popular Fight Club quote goes, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”

If we want to live life on our terms, then we need to let go of comparisons. In her book Love Your Life, Not Theirs, Rachel Cruze writes about her personal battle with comparisons: “I had to come to terms with the fact that I was caught up in comparisons. I was chasing someone else’s life instead of enjoying my own. I was letting someone I had never met influence not only how I was going to spend my money, but how I was going to live my life.”

In the end, it all comes down to how we define success for ourselves. We can choose our own metrics based on our core values to measure success instead of blindly following society’s metrics.

Success is not about the compulsive pursuit of more, it’s about how we feel, it’s about being content with what we have. If we feel satisfied, we won’t have to be on the lookout for the next shiny thing to fill the void within us, and in the process get deeper into debt. In other words, if you’re accumulating debt in order to become “happy”, you’re doing something wrong. 

Detach from the yardsticks that other people use to measure success. Let go of comparisons, and live life on your own terms. In Dave Ramsey’s words, start living like no one else so that later you can live and give like no one else.