The Things You Own End Up Owning You

“The Things You Own End Up Owning You” – Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

We live on the mediocrity treadmill, a never ending run where we’re bombarded with news, imagery and marketing to make us feel less than we really are. A quick scroll through your Instagram and Facebook feeds and all you will see is people getting married, travelling the world, eating fantastic food, buying and living in beautiful homes and driving expensive cars. We start to compare our lives with the hedonistic highlight reel of others, even billionaires and celebrities. Why don’t I have a pool and a private jet? Or how can that guy we went to school with appear to have been permanently travelling around the world for the last few years? We like to compare and contrast our surroundings. It’s human nature after all to seek validation, to feel like we belong. We have a desire to obtain or collect physical objects, as well as immaterial qualities like status and influence. The mediocrity treadmill never stops. Keeping up with the Jones’s is a life long pursuit. There is always someone else ahead of us – something new and/or better. We’re conditioned to never be satisfied – to never be truly happy with our lot. Because of course, people who are satisfied don’t keep spending their money on new comforts or new toys. There is nothing wrong per se with wanting a Ferrari or to live in a house with a big garden and a pool. The problem arises when we define our lives on what we own or what we don’t have in our lives. Because although material possessions may add to fun or help reduce boredom, they’re just comforts. They’re not essential. If you define your happiness and life in general on what you possess – you’ll never really be happy – because there is always something else, something more. The mediocrity treadmill makes you focus on things you don’t have. An absence, a lack of. What happens when you look at things the opposite way – the things you do have in your life – gratitude, joy, appreciation.

If these trying and unfortunate times have shown us anything then it’s seeing just what really is important and essential in our lives. It’s not the comforts, it’s the small and free things we sometimes take for granted – time with loved ones, with friends, the hugs, the laughs, the handshakes. We sometimes don’t pay attention to what we have until it’s gone.

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