Let’s put things into perspective
Everyday we get bombarded with messages regarding what brand-new car we need to drive, what shiny new computer we need to do simple word processing or browse the internet, or what big home we need to be happy. Don’t get me wrong, I like the look and smell of new things just as the next person, but I am here to tell you these things only serve to hold you back.
What advertisements are excellent at doing are making people feel they are inadequate, or missing out on the latest and greatest, which is fantastic for the companies they are representing, but detrimental to the people they are targeting. What ends up happening is that these messages drown out the sense of your standing in the world, which if you are living in a first world country like the U.S., is near the top.
Please allow me to attempt to snap you out of it for the sake of our wallets.
According to eMarketer, advertisers are going to crack the $200 BILLION in U.S. total media ad spending, which doing some crude math works out to be about $615 per American, to get you to buy that widget, that if you dig deep down, you probably don’t need. Again, I can commiserate, because being a tech junkie, I constantly have to find ways scratch the itch, without pulling the trigger on that 27” iMac with the 5K display.
One way that I recommend to proceed is when you have the urge to buy something, wait 30 days, and revisit your emotions after this time has expired. If you still want to buy it, be sure you can afford it and pull the trigger. What you will find is that the primal, impulse buy, feeling rapidly wanes and you will move on to the next thing on your 30-day clock.
So how are we going to afford all of these lovely things celebrities are pitching to us morning, noon, and night? Win the lottery of course. But before we plan on hitting it big on the Powerball, let’s put things in perspective. The chances of winning the Mega Millions lottery jackpot, according to Powerball.com, is 1 in 292,201,338. Using this as our numerator, here are the likelihoods, in parenthesis, of some common and not so common maladies that are, unfortunately, more likely to happen than winning the lottery:
Chance of dying from a lightning strike: 1 in 12,754,282 (23X more likely)
Chance of dying from being bitten or struck by dog: 1 in 8,857,140 (33X more likely)
Chance of dying from a fall on and from stairs and steps: 1 in 607,347 (481X more likely)
Chance of dying from a car motor vehicle accident: 1 in 50,822 (5,750X more likely)
(Based on fatalities and life expectancy in 2015. Ranked by deaths in 2014. National Center for Health Statistics; National Safety Council)
Health wise, here are some of the probabilities of diseases that may impact us or some of our family members:
Chance of getting colorectal cancer: 1 in 2,271 (128,666X more likely)
Chance of getting prostate cancer: 1 in 2,023 (144,439X more likely)
Chance of getting breast cancer (Female): 1 in 711 (410,972X more likely)
Chance of having a stroke: 1 in 412 (709,226X more likely)
I am not trying to be macabre, but rather trying to stress that we often forget that the well-being of ourselves, and those we care about is a blessing in itself, as opposed to standing in line for hours a year in the quest of lottery glory.
Well, I can’t win the lottery, and my current salary doesn’t allow me to buy that new German car, or 5,000 square foot home for my family of two. Why can’t I be rich like the Kardashians or insert athlete here. Again, let’s put things in perspective.
With regards to salary, a person in the U.S. making $30,000 per year would be in the top 1.23% richest in the world by income, so welcome to the 99%. If you want to run your own number, head on over to http://www.globalrichlist.com/ .
In conclusion, while there is nothing wrong with spending money, and wanting to have more, when this drives blinds you to what is important or comes at the cost of reaching your current goals, it’s time to re-evaluate.