Repeat Until Happy

Repeat Until Happy

I read this great article today at Behavior Gap.

It talks about how there seems to be this constant battle between what we have, what we need and what we think we want, today. How we all, including our kids, have gotten in to the habit of always wanting something new and shiny – but then tossing it for something other new and shiny a few weeks later.

Apple is the perfect example of a company and products, which seem to always be out of style. I bought the iPhone 4 when it was fairly new, had time to just get used to it when there was a new iPhone on the market. And then, my iPhone is all of a sudden looked upon as if it had a cord and was attached to the wall.

One of the most challenging personal finance issues we all face is the ever-expanding definition of “need.” Things we once considered clear luxuries have somehow becomes necessities, often without any consideration of how the change in status happened.

To achieve clarity about the difference between our needs and wants is one of the hardest things today. One of the most discouraging parts of modern life seems to be this never-ending sense that we should want more. Why can we not just be content with what we have? Or feel the pleasure and pride in keeping something for a long time (let me tell you, I don’t find it easy to keep something fresh, nice looking and whole for a very long time.) So here are a few of things to think about:

  • What if financial happiness is not about getting more but about wanting less?
  • What if things start out as wants and become needs not because the thing itself has changed but because our feelings about it have changed?
  • What if you can never really get enough of something that you don’t need?
To keep the balance between wants and needs, in the article they tell us to “sleep on a decision overnight” – this might actually help. Another tip they give is to never buy anything online until it has been sitting in your cart for five days. I am not too sure about that one…
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