It is a question that I ask myself often. Why does this happen? Why does the world work the way it does? Why are people so very often blind to the world and all its possibilities? The big WHYs of life are something I’ve always thought about even when I was a young child. But even more often the question comes up in a trivial or everyday way. Why do I sometimes say stupid things? Why is my car making that noise?”
Why do I need this thing?
That last one is something I ask myself when I purchase something new. Why do I need this new possession in my life? And the remarkable thing is that the answer to this small “why” can lead you to the answer of a big WHY. The answer is, of course, that you probably don’t need it. That’s right. You probably don’t need that box set of Star Trek: The Next Generation. You probably don’t need to upgrade your iPhone from the 4G to the 4S. You probably don’t need that new pair of shoes, that expensive exercise equipment, or that new car.
When you think about your purchases, do you ask yourself: “What value will this add to my life? What benefit will it bring to my health, relationships, or goals?” I’m guessing that most people don’t ask themselves these things. But the truth is that our material possessions are not the things that give us fulfillment in our lives. The culture of today puts an immense emphasis on owning the latest and greatest, becoming the one with the most toys. You see it every day in game shows on television, hear it in the news about celebrities, see advertisements for “stuff” everywhere you go.
A question then arises. A big WHY question: “Why do I believe that this (insert possession here) can make me happy?”
The answer is: It cant.
Things cannot bring true happiness. By believing the messages that society gives us, we actually hamper our lives with possessions. The things that were supposed to set us free and give us joy have instead become chains that bind us to a cycle of material acquisition.
Our true happiness and purpose in life is found in our relationships, our family, our faith, our health, our passions and dreams, and our goals. None of these things require vast amounts of wealth or possessions to achieve, maintain, or grow.
In place of buying things we probably don’t need lets instead dedicate the effort, time, and money spent towards purchasing on something that can make us truly happy.
And who knows? Maybe we can even answer a few more of those WHY questions along the way.