Don’t buy stuff you don’t need

Social media is serving a higher purpose:  Trying to sell you things.  Most of these things you don’t need.

Social media knows the sites you visit, what you buy, what you “like,” what you “hate,” where you go, who you know, what you read, what they read, where you live, what you drive, what you wear, what you order, and 1001 other things about you.  It then targets ads trying to sell you things based on all these factors.

Since it knows this much about you, it has very high success rate showing you ads for stuff you’re interested in.  It’s not magic.  It’s also not serving some higher noble purpose trying to “connect” you to people.  It is trying to empty your pockets by making you compete with everybody else on the planet in some global “who has the most stuff they don’t need” competition.

Here’s something else:  Those “friends” on your Facebook page know about as much about you as a random HR administrator reading your resume knows.

Most people don’t post the stuff they’re not proud of, let alone ashamed of.  They don’t post all of it.  Many don’t post any of it.  All this bling, fancy vacations, nice cars, expensive clothes, beautiful people, and impressive stuff is just that.  It is likely the very best of these people’s lives – which is really kind of sad.

If you are feeling inferior to your “friends,” ask yourself these questions:  Do you know the most embarrassing moment in their lives?  Do you know their actual habits?  If you ask them for a favor, can you count on them to help you out?  Are they polite?  Are they respectful in public?  Would they have your back if you were in an unpopular position?

Knowing these things makes a friend.

Knowing what kind of car they just bought doesn’t tell you anything useful.   Neither does the fact that you both “hate mean people.”

You are almost certainly putting too much weight in the opinions of strangers.  If you care one bit about what your Facebook “friend” thinks about what you just bought, then you are the mark.  Congratulations on being duped.  Facebook saw you coming a mile away.

If you really want to experience a “high,” get out of debt.

This will make your life better in so many ways.  Drive the slightly older car.  The shiny new one is sweet, but wouldn’t being able to tell your job “no thanks, I’m done with you” a few years sooner feel better?  Wouldn’t being able to pay your bills (even a year after you unexpectedly lost your job) feel better?

If you get a better job, don’t feel the need to get a better car.  Keep the same car you had and pocket the rest.  You don’t “deserve” a better car.  You just want one because you make more money now.  And let’s face it:  new cars are cool.  If you get an unexpected bonus, don’t spend any of it.  Pack your lunch.  Don’t buy bottled water – ever.  If you must smoke, stuff your own.  If you drink, don’t do it at a bar.  Do it at home instead.

Or do none of this:  Just don’t come crying to me when you find yourself perpetually broke.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not some anti-capitalist advocate wanting to ban private property.  Buy what you want.  If it makes your life truly more efficient and better, then buy it.  If it really makes you happy, and you can actually afford it, then by all means buy it.  There are more products available to the masses today at lower prices than ever before.  This is a good thing.  It is a miracle.  I’m no luddite wanting to go back to the days of the Sears catalog – believe me.

There also just so happens to be a bunch more stuff nobody actually needs that a billion people are being targeted to buy via ads on social media.  Ignore these ads.

The problem comes when you think that some thing you buy is going to turn you from sad to happy.  It won’t.  Talk to real people if you feel sad.  We all feel sad from time to time.  Talking to real people in real time will make you feel better.

Stop comparing yourself to that other guy.  Stop competing.   You can’t win.  That’s the scam.  You will never win.  Compete instead with yourself.  Try to beat you today in one week.  Make yourself better.  That’s the only way you can win.





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