Today, I want to talk about the Jones’ Highlight Reel versus your own behind-the-scenes reality.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and whatever else breed discontent, plain and simple. Studies have been done and there is science behind it. Your mood can change as you are exposed to positive or negative messages. We are social creatures and it human to feel envious of Hawaii or the Eiffel Tower or the perfect house or the new car.
And so the temptation of “Keeping Up With The Joneses” is real. The danger, of course, is that you are bank rolling someone else’s values.
Keep Your Eye On The Prize: Your Values
The whole power of budgeting is ensuring that your money lines up with your values. If you’re valuing what the Jones’ value, just because it is shiny or pretty or new, it won’t work.
What’s even worse, was that back in the day—before I was born—keeping up with the Joneses used to mean looking down the street and wondering what so-and-so did to buy that fancy car. The odds of a family financing the car were a lot lower back then. So you are like, “Wow! That’s fancy! They must have gotten an inheritance or a promotion.
Of course, now, it’s all in our face, all the time. It’s not just what is physically in front of you.
We’re exposed to everyone’s highlight reel—the best, most filtered, photoshopped and picture perfect moments. It isn’t like looking down the street and envying your neighbor’s perfect lawn. Because every night you also see him slaving away, tweezing, trimming, and manicuring his lawn. And then, it isn’t jealousy at all. You see how much work that lawn is and you aren’t interested. You don’t even want that lawn!
But if all you ever do is see perfectly photographed, filtered photos of your neighbor’s lawn—and you never see all the work behind the scenes—you start to get this really jaded, skewed perception of reality.
Perception Vs. Reality
The same thing happens with money.
That’s why I want to invent what they’ve got going on with those glasses that are supposed to take videos all over the place, from Snap or Snapchat (or whatever). I want this little hologram that pops up above your head that tells everyone your financial status, like a monster in World of Warcraft or something.
You drive by the farmer that’s sitting on his tractor (because this is a romantic idea for me), driving 15 miles an hour down a rural road. You see that guy’s financial meter and it’s bursting because the guy has been living like the millionaire next door. Then you see the guy go around him in the BMW 3 Series–I’m stereotyping right now–and you see that guy and it’s red and negative and bad. That’s what I want to invent and mandate that everyone wear. How would that correct things?
I would make the case that our degree of exposure to the highlight reels of others directly correlates to our degree of contentment.
I don’t know how to fix it. I’m not saying get off Facebook. I’m just saying be aware of its sneaky influence. Remember that it doesn’t represent the whole story.
Fight For Your Everyday Best
When your money is lined up with the things that are truly important to you, you will feel content. If you start to slip, and have your focus on someone else’s highlight reel, there will be a gap between your true priorities and what your money is doing. That gap is where discontentment shows up. Stay laser focused on what really matters to you. And work hard to get every last dollar working to that end. Be aware.
Maybe consider this a Public Service Announcement?
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