The newer car.
The bigger house.
The better body.
These are just a few of the measuring sticks people find themselves using to define their happiness level. On the surface, “keeping up with the Joneses” seems like a really petty and unfulfilling state of life, and I suspect that most of the time it is.
But according to the famous Abram Maslow, our desire for acceptance by others can’t just be turned off; it’s a fundamental wiring in our human nature. After our basic needs of food, sleep, shelter and security have been met, we all need some feeling of love and belonging. And after we have that, we need “Esteem.”
Esteem is where the Joneses live. It’s our need to be validated by others, and to feel like we’re part of a “tribe” that tells us we’re “doing good.” This is why we “buy things with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t even like,” as Dave Ramsey says. If we’re not careful, our human nature can get pretty silly. We try awfully hard to get noticed sometimes.
But pursuit of esteem is not a bad thing; it’s just a matter of who you allow yourself to get your esteem from.
Who are you comparing yourself to?
Who are you molding yourself to be more like?
Is it your neighbor? A celebrity?
Or an accomplished person?
A wise friend pointed out to me that this is why mastermind groups are so impactful. It’s not necessarily what you learn by being a part of a group, it’s that the group can constantly remind you of who you want to be. The materialistic things suddenly seem less important than they once did.
So I’ll ask you again.
Who are your Joneses?
And are they the Joneses you really want to be?
If your Joneses haven’t accomplished what you actually want to accomplish, then find the ones that have.