Is Materialism Blocking Your Efficacy?

What are people on the move doing to live a better life?

The people I find myself working with are the shakers and movers in society, yet while they are being highly successful at having an impact in the world we share with them, they are also taking the time to focus on the intimate details of their life. In doing so, I believe (and so do they) they gain far more meaning and enjoyment from all life has to offer.

What are some of the things these influential people doing to increase their efficacy and quality of life?

I find them spending time looking inside, digging up their pasts, exorcising their personal demons, finding new ways to increase love exponentially in their lives and decreasing (or eliminating) the negative influences that may loom in the areas surrounding their lives.

While that is somewhat vague, I find many of them seeing materialism from a different perspective and taking action to prevent materialism from blocking their efficacy, and you might like to give it a go, too.

They find themselves re-thinking their connection with material things. It’s as if, at some point, something clicks inside them and they see the high value of the things most valued by the world as less meaningful, and these material things lose their sheen when they no longer offer any degree of satisfaction. In some cases, a loathing emerges as they see these high fashion items as an immense con game. It doesn’t mean they stop playing the game altogether, but they are able to remove the false emotional connection to their former materialism.

If you want to see where someone’s heart is, take a look at where their money goes.

These influential people who are looking for deeper meaning in life are using their resources, including their financial resources for doing or promoting the greater good in the world. Of course, they all have their particular flavor, and no two philanthropists hearts are the same, therefore these individuals are able to impact the world independently in an invisible collectivity that really does make huge differences in the world we share with them.

You, too, could take an active part

In fact in many ways I am endeared to that percentage of the 99% who are sacrificing to contribute to a better world, who you think wouldn’t be able to afford it. One statistic that comes to mind is the comparison between the giving of the WalMart owners, versus the giving of the employees of WalMart who are often barely getting by. The low-remunerated employees out-give their employer 100%.

You can see these people have heart and they’re putting their money where their heart is and they are making a difference. Even though their contribution may individually be small, say ten to a hundred dollars a month, collectively they have a profound impact, while it appears the owners could care less.

Unfortunately, you do seem to find the most wealthy one percent of the world’s population not giving a rat’s care about the rest of the world which is stuffing money in their pockets 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For many of these people nothing matters more than the money they can glean from the masses, and you find them frolicking in lavish lifestyles that some of us (maybe even you) desire to mimic, because don’t we all want a better life?

But is this the definition of a better life?

The people who I find myself working with see their monetary health as a key component in their enjoyment of life and feel like it is the energy which fuels their ability to have a greater impact on the world. You can tell by what they do with it, and they are not enslaved by materialism, which would only take the energy and put it back in the pockets of the one percent.

What are you doing with your resources?

You can use your resources to make the world a better place.

If your knee-jerk reaction is to insist that you do not have the money, take another look at people with so much less than you, who are taking action, giving a portion of their resources, including money and time to help make the world a better place.

Are you ready to make a difference?

Materialism What Your Stuff Says About You

It starts at about 22 weeks of age and peaks in early teenage adolescence, depending on your sense of self, if there is a deficit, you are more likely to be inclined tosuffer from materialism, the obsession with stuff. All kinds of stuff, like bags, books, clothes, cars, toys, jewelry, furniture and electronic devices.

In an effort to feel better, feel good, obtain happiness or validate our sense of personal value, we tend to make up the difference by surrounding ourselves with identifiable things representing the value or success we demand we be associated with by others.

It is likely we are more apt to go buy something impractical or beyond our means when we are feeling blue or victimized or suffering from low self-esteem. The purchase of a luxury item sends a flood of dopamine to the brain that makes us feel good, but the purchase does not sustain the feeling for long, resulting in the common caveat, “You cannot buy happiness.”

materialism-what-your-stuff-says-about-you

No matter how much we realize the possession of things cannot make us happy, we still do it… and the economic virility of our nation depends on it. The system is built and structured around commercialism, breeding and nurturing a materialistic nation of over-anxious consumers, willing to rob from Peter to pay Paul, risk the failure of relationship and financial wellness, to obtain object of desire that may be beyond our means.

Our first major purchase as a young adult, our car, sets the pace for our future as a materialistic consumer of goods which we identify ourselves with and help to make us feel better by being supported or admired by peers based on this item.

What does your cache of possessions say about you when you are out and about town? While you are confidently sporting your latest luxury wardrobe, bag or other accessories, people who do not know you are more likely to assume that you are a member of the snobby, self-centered one percent and unapproachable as a kind, sensitive or caring person. Which is fine, if that’s your intention, to be viewed as such.

Our obsession with stuff helps to mitigate the damages of a fragile ego and could explain our tendency to over-purchase luxury items amidst our “mid-life crisis,” an explosion of demand to be recognized and noticed by valuation of our possessions, regardless of our lack of self-esteem or accomplishments in life.

Men who are prone to one-night-stands surround themselves with flashy possessions to lure unsuspecting women, which works like a magnet as women are prone to associate luxury items with stability and success. Researcher Jill Sundie ascertained that women interested in casual relationships are likely to seek out men with high-priced belongings as a likely candidate for a brief sexual encounter.

Psychologists find that the more expensive your personal belongings, the less they are likely to volunteer, or find satisfaction in community, family, country, religious organizations and are less inclined to join in demanding social activities.

Materialistic consumers are as a rule more depressed, personality disorders, anxiety, selfish, have poorer relationships and are admired less by their peers.

According to a Tufts University study, “People who are highly focused on materialistic values have lower personal well-being and psychological health than those who believe that materialistic pursuits are relatively unimportant.” Also, that they are more likely to suffer from physical problems such as headaches, and to personality disorders, narcissistic, and antisocial behaviors.

The Materialistic Virus

It actually spreads like a virus fueled by advertising and media exposure, most of us are available toward off the materialistic bug, until we are bit and infected by a friend or neighbor who makes an outlandish purchase.

You see them quietly flaunting their purchase and you’re impressed because you feel like you are more deserving of it than that person who earns less than you do. (Even though they cannot afford it, and they themselves have been bitten by the same bug.)

After a while, your natural defense to warding off such irrational thought beaks down as you start to rationalize and find ways to possess such an item – or a better one – for yourself to in effect “keep up with the Joneses.” Regardless of your otherwise sound purchasing practices.

This sense of materialistic competition finds us over-extending ourselves to match or supersede the efforts of our neighbors or co-workers.

Maybe consider asking yourself before you make that next luxury purchase,

“Can I actually afford this?”

And consider additionally asking,

“What will this purchase say about me?”

And,

“How will this purchase affect others?”

If it alienates others, makes you seem unapproachable or spreads the materialistic virus to others, maybe it’s worth re-thinking your potential purchase.