Large houses, luxury cars, expensive clothing and charity balls are outward displays of achievement, wealth and success. Our society practically demands that you consume at or above the level of your success and marketing ads aren’t shy about reminding you of what you don’t have. This leads to conspicuous consumption, which is the act of spending money on expensive things that aren’t necessary in order to impress people.
Eliminate Conspicuous Consumption
Conspicuous consumption has been around for centuries dating back to tribal times when men possessed women and slaves as trophies of their status.
Today it manifests itself in large homes filled with rich décor, diamond jewelry, fast cars and upscale living. While it may be the norm of our society, it’s a slippery slope that can lead you feeling empty inside and reaching to fill the void with more purchases that spiral into a mountain of debt.
According to research from San Francisco State University, experiential or material purchases that are in conflict with our identities are likely to leave us feeling empty. Instead of reaching for the credit card, use the tips below to shut down your inner voice that constantly demands an inauthentic public display of your success.
Create an inner circle
Establish close relationships with a small circle of friends and family members that are diverse in wealth, wisdom and skills. Members of this inner circle should have core values that are inline with yours, but they don’t have to match yours 100%. When you create diversity in your relationships, you don’t have to worry about keeping up with one point of view on how you should live your life. Instead, you’ll have multiple supporters who can give you different perspectives that you can use to make decisions in alignment with who you are as an individual.
Assess the reason behind each major purchase and determine if it aligns with your core values. If it doesn’t align with your core values, ask yourself why you’re purchasing it. Then, make a conscious purchasing decision for yourself, not because you think society expects you to. I recommend the 72 hour test. When you find something you cannot live without wait 72 hours to finalize the purchase. You will probably be surprised at how often you don’t even remember to make the purchase 72 hours later.
Focus on gratitude
A study by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough found that people who were assigned to recall up to 5 things they were grateful for each week reported being happier with their lives, more optimistic about the upcoming week, experienced less physical symptoms, such as runny noses, stomachaches and headaches. Changing your perspective from counting burdens to counting blessings can help you live a happier, healthier life.
You’ve taken the first step towards living an authentic life by recognizing your inner voice and identifying your core values. But, what happens when you’ve achieved success? Will you publicly display your success with treasures and demand accolades in a way that’s not authentic to your core or will you make the conscious effort to eliminate conspicuous consumption? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic on Facebook or in the comments below.