They say that money and material things can’t bring happiness, but I happen to disagree.
Now before I totally infuriate the personal development bloggers out there, let me better define the happiness that material possessions can bring. I believe that material possessions can be a good source of:
1. Inspiration – Buying my Epiphone SG Junior guitar gave me the inspiration for not just this post, but in writing a couple new riffs. Simply sitting down and trying to pull things out of my head doesn’t work for me. I need to be in the right mindset before my ideas come out smoothly. Getting a new guitar definitely helps me in gathering inspiration.
2. Motivation – Sometimes, all people need to get working on something is a good kick in the rear. Going out and buying something new pertaining to your goals can provide you with the said kick. When I first saw that guitar, I wanted to buy it, but I didn’t think it was a financially responsible thing to do. So I just sat back and watched the bids come in.
I originally wanted a new amp since I still have my crappy little Johnson Reptone practice amp that I got almost 4 years ago. I made a bid first on a damaged-but-fixable Peavey ValveKing 212 combo, but was almost immediately outbid. I was just gonna stop right there, but something inside told me to place a bid on that guitar. After some inner conflict, I put in my modest bid of $150. I was outbid again, and decided to slowly increase my bid up to $162.50.
I won and was in shock. I came down from my “I’m king of the world! I can bid on anything!!” high and realized that my savings went down by almost $200. It really shows the motivational power that material possessions can have over us. Just remember to keep a level head, hehe!
3. Excitement – If I wasn’t digging into my savings for that guitar, I would have been excited to see it come in. Instead, I became anxious and wanted it to come in so I could sneak it downstairs without anyone being the wiser. Lo and behold, 8 days after I won the bid at dinnertime, UPS comes a-knockin’ on the door with a large package. It’s kinda hard to hide the package at this point, so I simply told everyone what it was and why I bought it (for my birthday/Christmas). They didn’t react as bad as I thought they would, but they did think it was a really bad idea to buy it.
Despite the stress that I went through waiting to get the guitar and trying to discreetly hide it from my family, it did give me something new to look forward to, breaking me out of my usual daily routine.
4. Social Connection – This one’s pretty cut and dry I think. You see, buying items can help make yourself more relative to others. Do you play guitar? You do? Me too!
It can also push you farther away. Can you cook? You can? I’m not very good at cooking.
5. Learning Something New – I remember when I bought my first guitar back in 2005. It was an older Squier Strat with a gigbag, cable, and an amp; all for 100 bones. I got it through one of my friend’s friends.
I first started playing guitar when I was 7 years old. I got bored with it after awhile, and it didn’t help that I went through some bizarre times then either (or maybe it did). My dad bought me a Kay Les Paul copy to start me off, but I couldn’t get it when I got back into playing guitar because my aunt was in the long-ass process of selling his things.
I learned from that experience that although the playing comes from the fingers and the heart, it helps to have a guitar in your hands.
He Said Extension
So there you have it, 5 ways that material possessions can bring you happiness.
At their very core, anything material that we create is based on a feeling or an idea that we are trying to make tangible. In effect, we are making an extension of ourselves.
And Now, For Something Insightful!
Although I did label this article in a way that make it come off as the material itself bringing happiness, this is not quite true. Only happiness can bring happiness. You are only happy that you have something because you have created the feeling and associated it with a tangible object to validate this feeling in reality. Following this logic, humans can create their own happiness or sadness or any other feeling. They can do this with or without physical objects.
By creating this happiness within, you begin to peal away the unwanted layers of reality. No, this isn’t quite the Law of Attraction I’m talking about. I’m not talking about bringing happiness to yourself. The happiness was always with you! You just need to get rid of all the bad things in your life in order to see it. It’s like peeling an orange; the inner fruit has been there, but you couldn’t eat it unless you peeled the outer layer away. Of course, there’s also the whole subjective reality issue as well, where reality is how you define it to be. This fits in nicely with my theory I believe. If you feel sad, then the world is a cold, dark place no matter how wonderful someone else may see it and visa-versa.
So how do you see reality? Do you view it as a blank canvas waiting to be painted on, or as a big void with nothing to offer? Leave me a comment!