Keeping Up With the Joneses Can Rob You of What Matters

Keeping up with the Joneses refers to the pretty natural desire to be at least equal in social status to the people around you. In America, that’s usually expressed by the things we have and do. In other words, keeping up with the Joneses often turns into a display of wealth.

There are two big problems with that

Sometimes we buy and do things that we can’t really afford. We go into debt to keep up appearances, or even to make ourselves or others feel good with displays of generosity. (You know, picking up the tab, buying gifts and goodies that we can’t afford, “needing” the latest and greatest of everything or multiples of hugely expensive items.) Then we’re left struggling with debt, or trying to find quick ways to become rich.

The bigger problem though is that keeping up with the Joneses can rob you of what’s really important to you. Instead of focusing on living your dreams, you focus on keeping up — even if you don’t really enjoy the fancy car or big screen TV as much as you think you should. You feel vaguely dissatisfied inside, but imagine that it’s because you’re not doing “as well” as your friends and neighbors — your neighbors that often include the completely unrealistic lives of TV characters.

Change your focus

Of course, we all want to fit in, but there’s a surprising freedom in going right ahead and making what’s important and meaningful to you your priority — not what you think you “should” do.

And there are probably more people with similar true goals to yours than you might think at first glance. You’ve just got to find them, or be brave enough to talk about what really matters to you.

Make your true dreams happen.